The Battle of Groton Heights is alternatively known as the Battle of Fort Griswold. Imagine for a moment the scene of the Revolutionary War. Currently, the newly independent Americans are battling British forces led by U.S. turncoat Benedict Arnold and Colonel Eyre. The U.S. forces are led by Lt. Colonel William Ledyard. British forces have tried to divert General Washington from battling Lord Cornwallis' army. Therefore, their general tells Benedict Arnold to attack the New London Port. (Gee, you ever wonder why no one names their kid Benedict?)
This planned raid was successful, and the U.S forces fought hard and attempted to resist British capture of Fort Griswold. Naturally, a lot of people from both sides died in that battle, and it preceded the Yorktown victory by about a month and a half. This brutal killing of the U.S. soldiers has led to historians calling the Battle of Groton Heights the Fort Griswold Massacre.
Though this would prove be a short-lived British victory, all things considered, it was still a dark day in American history. The significance of this historical episode is that present-day Groton residents and tourists continue to honor the fallen U.S. soldiers that contributed to the Revolutionary War. Even to this day, there are Groton, CT battlefield events commemorating the Revolutionary War. For example, the annual ceremonies for the Battle of Groton Heights (commemorating the day September 6, 1781) is held every Sunday on Labor Day weekend. The festivities even remember a fallen but not forgotten friend: Col. William Ledyard. Ledyard was by all accounts a “reasonable and noble-hearted officer,” and one who deserved a better fate.
Still, with thousands of people gathering every year at the Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park to honor fallen heroes, the spirit of independence lives on. Visitors can come check out the park and the annual festivities during their Groton, CT vacation.