Extract From Gen. Root’s Speech In Congress, 1817
In the House of Representatives, on the Bill to provide for the payment of Militia called out by State authority, and not placed under the command of the United States.
[After animadverting with great severity on the affair at Pettipaug point, and the course pursued by Governor Smith, of Connecticut, for the defense of New London]–
“There was “one” achievement, said Mr. R., which brightened the annals of Connecticut and shed lustre on the American character. He alluded to the “Defense of Stonington”. A more brilliant affair, said he, had not taken place during the late war. It was not rivalled by the defense of Sandusky, the glorious triumph on the Niagara, nor the naval victories on Erie and Champlain. And yet that heroic exploit is claimed in favor of Governor Smith’s militia, and is to gild the pill which we are called upon to swallow. The detached militia, said Mr. R., had nothing to do in that affair. It was achieved by fourteen democrats, “volunteer” democrats, who were determined to defend the town or perish in its ruins. Commodore Hardy, fearful that that democratic town would send torpedoes among his squadron, demanded a pledge that no harm should be done to his ships. No pledge being given, and after advising the removal of women and children from the town, the enemy made a vigorous attack, first in barges, and afterwards in a brig of war. This heroic little band, with a single gun mounted on a small battery, drove off the brig as they had before driven off the barges. They sent havoc and death among the enemy,–saved the town,–and crowned themselves with never fading laurels.”–“The (Hartford) Times, March 18, 1817.”