W3R® HeritageTour in Connecticut 

History / Maps / Tours: auto and other / Pearls along the way

Latest changes: 2013-06-05: fix history link / 2013-07-26 add self-guided tour link /

Two recent 140-page books provide excellent tour and historical information on the W3R in the state of CT:
En Avant with Our French Allies is a richly-illustrated tour guide of the W3R in CT.
Huzzars in Lebanon! describes the five-month stay of Lauzun's hussar companies in Lebanon CT over the winter of 1780-81

Bike / Drive Tours of Revolutionary Connecticut

Prof. Mary Collins -- a professional travel writer-- and Sal Lilienthal -- owner of the Bicycle Tour Company -- have developed and now published on the web (F-R-E-E) extensive directions and commentaries for nine self-guided bicycling or driving tours in Connecticut,. Each tour visits historic sites related to a different American Revolution theme, building a complete narrative of events in that theme as the tour progresses.
Go to www.CTAmericanRevolution.com, follow the link to "Tours" and then click on the link for "Washington/Rochambeau and Victory at Yorktown".

Historical Overview

In 1781 June some 5,500 men of the French Expeditionary Force (FEF) left Newport RI and marched via Providence and west through CT to New York to join the U.S Continentals and go south to Yorktown.

When the French came north in 1782 they retraced the route east through CT to Providence and then to Boston, where they embarked for the Caribbean Islands.

For more details see French march through CT in 1781, and French return through CT in 1782.

Consider the economic benefit to Lebanon from housing and provisioning the hussar companies in the winter of 1780-81 and providing campsites, food, and fodder for the French troops and their horses and oxen as they marched west in 1781 (and then east in 1782), then follow their footsteps west across the entire width of CT.

A Note about "Official" W3R Routes
NPS draft tour maps for all states
NPS Historic Map for CT-NY [TIFF file]

AUTO ROUTE THROUGH CONNECTICUT TO HARTFORD:

Start at the Rhode Island border where Rt 14 splits to Rt 14A. Follow Rt 14A (Plainfield Pike, then Cemetery Road) 10.8 miles to Canterbury.
 

If you wish to take a side route from Canterbury to Lebanon CT, where Lauzun's Legion stayed during the winter of 1780-81, turn left onto Rt 169 (S. Canterbury Road), follow it about 6.2 miles south, turn right onto Rt 138, go about 2 miles to Baltic CT. Turn left across the river and follow Rt 207 west through North Franklin about 16 miles to Lebanon CT. There are many historic Revolutionary War sites to visit in Lebanon.

To return to the main army route take Rt 87 north about 10 miles to join Rt 6 (about 4 miles west of Willimantic).

 
The main army route from Canterbury goes straight on Rt 14 for 10.3 miles to Windham. (Note Willimantic is a "city" within Windham) Continue on Rt 14 for 3.2 miles, where Rt 14 merges with Rt 66. Follow Rt 66 and Riverside Rd through Willimantic, and at 2.0 miles follow Rt 66 as it splits off to the left.

After 2.8 miles continue straight onto Rt 6. After 5.6 miles the historic route split off to the left in a path parallel to modern-day Rt 6. You can't drive that route today since it is overgrown with trees, so continue 3.2 miles more on Rt 6 and turn left on Steel Crossing Rd. After 0.6 miles that ends at Old Bolton Rd. Go left 0.5 miles to the center of Bolton.

Bear right and take Bolton Center Rd 0.4 miles, where it becomes Rt 85 North. Continue 1.5 miles and turn left onto Rt 6. Follow this for 4.0 miles through Manchester, then leave Rt 6 and continue straight on Rt 502 for 5.0 miles.

Go right on Roberts St and take the ramp to I-84 West. This goes across the river and at 6.5 miles take exit 49 to Farmington Ave (Rt 4).

Continue out of Hartford on Rt 4 to Farmington, then take Rt 10 south to Southington. At Milldale take Rt 322 (Meriden Road) west toward Marion. After this becomes Rt 69 take a right onto East Main St into Waterbury.

Exit on West Main and take Park St to the end. Go left on Watertown Road to the end. Go right on Breakneck Hill Rd and then the first left onto Artillery Road. Take a right onto Rt 64. This merges with Rt 188 and after Middlebury Rt 64 goes off to the right. Stay on Rt 188 and branch right on Old Waterbury Rd just before Rt 188 crosses Rt I-84. Follow this into Southbury.

Take West Main St about two miles, then cross I-84 on Ichabod Rd and take an immediate right onto River Road. After a mile take Glen Rd left into Sandy Hill and right on Rt 34 which soon becomes Rt 6 into Newtown CT.

Continue on Rt 6 until it meets I-84, then go left on Old Newtown Rd into Danbury CT. Go left three blocks and then right onto Lake St for 5 blocks, then left on Park Rd, which becomes Backus and then Miry Brook Road, then the George Washington Highway into Ridgefield CT.

Go left on Rt 53 (Ridgebury Rd). After one mile it passes Hussar's Camp Place on the right. After 0.4 miles more you come to a tee. Go right (W) 0.15 miles, where the road turns left (S). After 0.1 mile make a sharp right turn onto Mopus Bridge Road, which joins Spring Valley Road briefly then goes off to the left (SW). On crossing into New York this becomes Wallace Road and joins Rts 116 / 121,

Follow Rt 121 (after Rt 116 goes off to the right) all the way past Cross River to Bedford NY. This might be the easiest place to end your tour.

The route north in 1782 re-traced in reverse essentially the same path.

Pearls along the Necklace -- Nearby Revolutionary-Era Sites

Further information on most of the site below is available at ctvisit.com. Use their Quick Search function.

COVENTRY: Nathan Hale homestead - House and farm reflect lifestyle of first generation of American citizens.

ESSEX: Museum of Fife and Drum

FARMINGTON: Stanley-Whitman House Living history center focused on 1642-1810. National Historic Landmark. Tours, exhibit gallery, research library, childrenŐs loft, historic gardens.

GROTON: Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park Remains of Revolutionary War fort that was the site of 1781 British massacre of American troops.

-HARTFORD:

LEBANON: the mile-long town green and the Trumbull House, a Revolutionary War Office. In Oct 2004 the town published a booklet describing Lauzun's Legion and the activities of the two hussar companies that were posted in Lebanon for the winter of 1780-81.

MYSTIC: Mystic Seaport: many sailing ships, mostly post-Revolution

NEW HAVEN

NEW LONDON: Nathan Hale Schoolhouse -- One-room school where patriot spy and Connecticut state hero Nathan Hale taught before the American Revolution.

SCOTLAND: Huntington Homestead This has a fine W3R display including a model of the French troops marching by in 1781.

WATERBURY: Mattatuck Museum

WETHERSFIELD: Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum

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