The SAR Magazine

Winter 2018-2019

The SAR MAGAZINE is the official quarterly publication of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution published quarterly.

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Page 19 of 47

12 SAR MAGAZINE which forced the British retreat. These tactical successes had a significant strategic impact by destroying the British image of invincibility, preserving the Continental Army, and saving the Revolution from collapse. After the Battle of Princeton, Washington marched the army to Morristown, N.J., to rest and refit during the winter. While still serving with Ward's Regiment at Morristown, on Feb. 1, 1777, the Connecticut assembly appointed Daniel Allen a company captain in Col. John Durkee's 20th Continental Line, the old 3th Connecticut Regiment from Windham County with which Allen had served a year before, during the siege of Boston. Approximately 100 soldiers of Durkee's regiment had agreed to serve an additional six weeks after the regiment's term of enlistment expired at the end of 1776. Research suggests that Allen was given command of this discharged remnant of the 20th Regiment in order to bring it home from Morristown to be joined with another newly raised regiment. This is based on the fact that prior to this, Allen had accepted a captain's commission on January 1 to serve in the 3rd Connecticut Regiment of the Continental Line, organized from January through April at Hartford, to consist of eight companies from Hartford and Windham counties and commanded by Col. Samuel Wylly. The regiment was assigned to Brig. Gen. Samuel Holden Person's 1st Brigade of Maj. Gen. Israel Putnam's Division, which defended the Hudson Highlands, through which the Hudson River passed. With the loss of New York City, this area became the strategic key terrain for the war effort, since it connected New England and the Middle States logistically. Putnam's command of 1,200 Continentals, supported by militia, occupied defenses on the east bank of the Hudson around Peekskill and Fort Independence, N.Y. Allen's regiment served there from May 1777 to January 1778. During this period, the British attempted to seize control of the Hudson River Valley and isolate New England from the other states, thus making the Northeast United States more vulnerable to conquest. Lt. Gen. John Burgoyne initiated the British offensive operation on June 13 with an invasion from the vicinity of Montreal, Canada, down Lake Champlain and the Hudson to occupy Albany, N.Y. When his army became stalled south of Saratoga in late September, Lt. Gen. Sir Henry Clinton advanced another British army on Oct. 3 northward up the river from New York City to relieve him. Upon reaching the Highland defenses, Clinton landed an overwhelming force and threatened to attack the American positions around the village of Peekskill. Putnam retired his command temporarily into the hills for safety and maintained an observation of the British movements. Two weeks later, on Oct. 17, Burgoyne surrendered his command at Saratoga before Clinton's relief could reach him, and Clinton's forces then retired back to New York City. In this operation, Allen spent most of his time marching from one location to another to shadow the British advance. The decisive defeat of Burgoyne's army became a turning point in the war because it convinced the French that the American Colonists were staunchly committed to separation from Britain. In January 1778, Person's Brigade took up positions at West Point, N.Y., where they later constructed permanent earthworks to control any future movement by enemy warships on the Hudson River. Allen's company assisted the rest of Wylly's Regiment in constructing one of these fortifications from April to August. "Fort Wylly" served as an infantry redoubt, pentagonal in shape with a perimeter of eighty-six yards, which mounted three cannons to defend against any landward attack of the water batteries. Today, Fort Wylly is the best preserved of the Revolutionary War fortifications on West Point, where the United States Military Academy is located. Upon completion of the fort, Allen's regiment marched east and encamped back at White Plains, N.Y., during the autumn with Washington's main Continental Army. After wintering at Redding, Conn., the regiment served in 1779 with Major Gen. Heath's Division in the Hudson Highlands, again on the east side of the Hudson River. When the 3rd Connecticut reorganized into nine companies in July 1779, Allen left active service. Once back home, he commanded the company of Connecticut State Militia from the towns of Ashford and Canterbury until the end of the war. At the time of his transition from active service to the militia, the war had taken a positive turn. The fighting in the northern region had stalemated, and on Feb. 6, 1778, France had officially recognized and entered the war in a military alliance with the United States to support the Colonists' quest for independence. More and more, the British military forces available in the past to attack the Americans were committed elsewhere to defend the worldwide empire against the French. At the same time, French warships and soldiers arrived in New England to fight alongside the Americans. To the people of Connecticut, the crisis seemed, for the time being, to have passed. On the great stage of war, Allen performed with determination in nearly every major act, from Bunker Hill to Saratoga. He was a true Patriot who in a time of national crisis, courageously moved with his fellow soldiers across the ground we hallow today to make the democratic concept a reality. The devotion of these Continental soldiers, together with the sustained leadership of such officers as Allen, saved the Revolution and ultimately the republic. I am proud to know that my ancestor was present at these pivotal events that changed the world. His patriotism proves that each of us can make a difference if we serve a just cause with absolute commitment. Allen is one of my fifth great-grandfathers, and it is an honor to represent him, together with all my other Revolutionary War Patriot ancestors, as a member of the SAR. 20 SAR MAGAZINE Allen crossed the Delaware on the night of Dec. 25, 1776, and marched along the Bear Tavern Road with the rest of Washington's small command of 2,400 Continentals.

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