Celebrations Of The Battle of Stonington
Thursday, Aug. 10th, the first anniversary of the battle, was observed as a day of thanksgiving and prayer. The old flag was again hoisted on the flag-staff at the battery: and a procession, formed at that place, marched to the Congregational meeting-house, to listen to a discourse by the pastor, Rev. Ira Hart. On its conclusion, the procession returned to the battery, where the exercises of the day were closed by prayer. “On Friday evening a grand anniversary ball was given; the assembly being both numerous and brilliant.”–“Conn. Gazette, Aug. 23d.”
Celebration at the Borough, on Monday, Aug. 10th. “The company was very numerous, and the business of the day went off with great eclat.”–“Id. Aug. 12th, 1818.”
An Oration was delivered at the Congregational meeting-house, by Rev. David Austin, “characteristic of his talents, patriotism, and eloquence.” The concourse of citizens from Stonington and the neighboring towns was unusually large and respectable. An excellent dinner was provided by Major Babcock, at the Borough Hotel, to which a large number of citizens and invited guests did ample justice. The following were among the volunteer toasts:
By Capt. Edmund Fanning. “The Grasshopper Fort”[B]–may it never be forgotten by those whom it defended.
By Samuel Copp, Esq. “American Eighteen-pounders”–as handled in the Grasshopper Fort.
By Gen. J. Isham. “August 10th, 1814”–May no vile calumniator hereafter attempt to tarnish the hard earned fame of the heroes of that day.
By Gurdon Trumbull, Esq. “John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson”–Their elevation to the first offices of our government, will demonstrate that sovereignty is yet with the “people”, and guarantee the defence of our national rights, whether assailed by the “pen” or the “sword”.
By Dr. Swift. “Capt. Amos Palmer”–His memory; his energy and perseverance.
By W. Storer Jun. “Gen. La Fayette”[C]–Whom God doth bless, we will honor.
By Jesse Dean, esq. “Major Simeon Smith”–Who made cartridges of his stockings, for our defence, on the day we celebrate.–“New London Gazette, Aug. 18th.”
[Footnote B: “Alluding to a term used by the Rev. Orator of the day.”]
[Footnote C: Gen. La Fayette’s arrival at New York was daily expected. He landed at Castle Garden, Aug. 16th.]
The installation of Benevolent Chapter of Royal Arch Masons took place at Stonington, on the anniversary of the attack. The revenue cutters Eagle, from New Haven, the Newport cutter, and the steamboat Long-branch (Capt. Mather), from New London, brought numerous masonic and other guests,–military companies,–and a band of music. A procession of some three hundred brethren and companions was formed, by order of Doct. Thomas Hubbard, M. E. G. H. P., under the direction of Companions Gen. W. Williams, Samuel F. Denison, and others, as marshals. The procession marched to the site of the battery, where a spacious tent had been erected, with seats for 2500 persons,–and listened to a prayer from the Gr. Chaplain, Rev. Seth B. Paddock, and an Oration by Asa Child, Esq.; after which the new chapter was dedicated in ample form, and the several officers duly installed. A grand dinner closed the exercises of the day.–“N. L. Gazette, Aug. 16th.”
A grand celebration, on the battle ground, where a large tent had been erected. Among the guests were his Excellency Governor Tomlinson and his staff. The procession formed early in the morning, and marched through the principal streets, escorted by the Stonington artillery and Norwich rifle companies, to the tent,–where an address was delivered by Gurdon Trumbull, Esq.: after which, the procession re-formed, and proceeded to the dinner table (spread in Mr. Faxon’s rope walk, under the supervision of Major Paul Babcock). Samuel F. Denison, Esq., presided at the table, assisted by Major General Wm. Williams, George Hubbard and B. F. Babcock, Esquires. A long account of the celebration, with the toasts drank at the dinner, &c.–is given in the “New London Gazette”, of August 15th.