The Groton Battle Monument, dedicated in 1830, honors the more than 80 men killed defending the fort during a British raid on September 6, 1781.
A dedication above the entrance on the west side of the monument reads, “The monument was erected under the patronage of the State of Connecticut, A.D. 1830, and in the 55th year of the independence of the U.S.A., in memory of the brave patriots who fell in the massacre at Fort Griswold, near this spot, on the 6th of Sept. A.D. 1781, when the British, under the command of the traitor, Benedict Arnold, burnt the towns of New London and Groton, and spread desolation and woe throughout this region.”
The dedication plaque inside the monument’s entranceway list the names of American defenders killed during the battle. The marker was originally part of the monument’s south face, facing the fort, but was moved to protect it from the elements.
A large cannon near the monument’s west face was captured from a Spanish warship during the Spanish-American war.
A small museum next to the monument, closed during our visit, has displays about the history of the monument and the battle.
An undated monument erected by the city of Groton honors all local war veterans.
Across the street from the monument, the site of the former Fort Griswold has been turned into a state park. A memorial gateway, dedicated during the park’s opening on September 6, 1911 (the 130th anniversary of the battle), lists the 165 men who attempted to defend the fort against approximately 800 British troops during the battle.
In the fort’s central courtyard, a small stone monument marks the spot where Col. William Ledyard was killed as he attempted to surrender the fort. After Ledyard was killed, British troops reportedly began massacring the Americans, with many wounded troops further being stabbed or shot before British officers stopped the fighting. (Ledyard is honored with a monument in a nearby cemetery that bears his name.)
During the battle, British troops guided by Norwich native and traitor Benedict Arnold invaded New London harbor. The city had served as an important supply base, and privateers operating out of New London had captured a number of British merchant ships.
More than 140 homes and buildings in downtown London were burned by the British invaded invaders, as were 19 homes on the Groton side of the harbor.
Next to the Groton Battle Monument, a 1916 monument honors Groton’s Civil War veterans.