The Redding Encampment, 1778-1779

The Redding Encampment, Connecticut’s first State Archaeological Preserve, is located in Putnam Memorial State Park. This website is dedicated to exploring the contributions of soldiers of color (Native, African, and African American) who spent the winter of 1778-79 in the three encampments there or on duty nearby. Our research sought to uncover the lives and experiences of these men, their families, and those who interacted with them during and after the American Revolution.

Putnam Memorial State Park
Putnam Memorial State Park

The Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office recognized the historic and archaeological importance. Understanding of the Revolutionary War has emphasized the battles, maneuvers, and war meetings; but far more time was expended during the long periods of winter encampment. The winter months were a brutal test of individual fortitude, unifying command, and local support. As described in Joseph Plumb Martin’s journal, “We arrived at Redding about Christmas or a little before and prepared to build huts for our winter quarters. And now came on the time again between grass and hay, that is, the winter campaign of starving.”

Compared to Valley Forge or Morristown, the archaeological evidence supports the poor conditions described by Martin. The site remains intact and is a relatively unknown archaeological gem, administered by Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

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