Who won the Battle of Ridgefield?
The short answer is the British, but that is not commonly known. In an online survey conducted by Ridgefield Magazine in January (completed by 392 people), when asked “Who won the Battle of Ridgefield,” only 56 percent selected “the British.”
In April 1777, British General William Tryon marched his troops to Danbury to destroy artillery supplies of the Continental Army (colonists). The British succeeded, with little hindrance. General David Wooster gathered a militia to stop the British’s return back to Westport. Wooster and his army inflicted some casualties, but the British passed through easily and inflicted a deadly blow on General Wooster—a sign on North Salem Road marks the location and two roads now bear his name.
The British continued into Ridgefield center, where General Benedict Arnold set up barriers and soldiers. Benedict was shot off his horse, which died, and the British marched through town, and eventually to Westport—but not before burning a few homes, a church, and lodging a cannonball in the home of Timothy Keeler.
The British suffered casualties; in fact, the remains of four soldiers, possibly British, were recently found in the basement of house on Main Street near where the battle ensued.
That seems a clear victory. However many feel the battle inflicted long-lasting damage on the British. The town’s soon-released Plan of Conservation and Development notes: “Several skirmishes preceded a showdown near Ridgefield Center where the British suffered extensive casualties. As a result of this defeat, it has been proffered that: the British refrained from venturing so far inland for the remainder of the Revolutionary War, and colonists were emboldened to join the Revolutionary War …” Yes, but the British won the battle.