This administration’s theme was inspired by the seafaring and shipbuilding for which the State of Connecticut has become known throughout the centuries. Ships with three or more masts and square sails, were by far, the largest sailing ships in the Revolutionary War era fleet. One such ship, the Oliver Cromwell, was given its name because many colonists associated their revolution to that of Cromwell in the 17th Century.
The Connecticut General Assembly authorized Governor Jonathan Trumbull to purchase and outfit two armed vessels in July 1775. Under the supervision of Captain Seth Harding, ship builder Uriah Hayden began the project. The work started in the Hayden family shipyard on the Connecticut River in Essex, Connecticut. The Oliver Cromwell sailed out of New London, Connecticut on June 13, 1776 for its official launch.
The two illustrious captains, Harding and Parker, commanded the Oliver Cromwell to many victories on the high seas and captured numerous British warships including; the Weymouth, the Honour; schooners - Hazard, St. George, Dove; and the Frigate York. The Oliver Cromwell was captured after an arduous two-hour battle during which her main sail was blown away. Captain Parker, twenty guns, and 180 men were sent to British prisoner of war ships off the coast of New York until a prisoner exchange took place in August 1779. The Oliver Cromwell was renamed HMS Restoration by the Royal Navy.
In New London today, The Custom House Maritime Museum traces the port's history. The U.S. Coast Guard Academy, also in New London, was first proposed by Alexander Hamilton as the “Revenue Marine” which was to be a seagoing military service. The U.S. Navy's submarine training school is located on the Naval Submarine Base in nearby Groton.
Fort Trumbull overlooks the Thames River. In 1775, Governor Jonathan Trumbull recommended building this fortification at the port of New London. The fort was attacked in 1781 during the war and was captured by British forces under the command of Benedict Arnold. Connecticut has a rich maritime history where sailors and shipbuilders aided in the cause of American freedom during the Revolutionary War. This industry is still an important part of our nation’s security today.