Part of the American History & Genealogy Project

Anna Warner Bailey 1758 ~ 1851

 

In every sense of the word Anna Bailey may be called a Daughter of the Revolution. At the time of the burning of New London, Connecticut, a detachment of the army of the traitor Arnold was directed to attack Fort Griswold, at Groton, on the opposite bank of the river. This fort was little more than a rude embankment of earth thrown up as a breastwork for the handful of troops it surrounded. Although the garrison defending it, under the command of the brave Colonel Ledyard, stood their ground they were overwhelmed by numbers, and after a fierce and bloody encounter the result was indiscriminate butchery of the Americans.

On the morning after this massacre Mrs. Anna Bailey, then a young woman, left her home three miles distant and came in search of her uncle, who had joined the volunteers on the first alarm of invasion and was known to have been engaged in the disastrous conflict. His niece found him in a house near the scene of slaughter, wounded unto death. It was evident that life was fast departing. Perfect consciousness still remained and with dying energy he entreated that he might once more behold his wife and child. Such a request was sacred to the affectionate and sympathetic girl. She lost no time in hastening home, where she caught and saddled the horse used by the family, placed upon the animal the delicate wife, whose strength would not permit her to walk, and taking the child herself, bore it in her arms the whole distance and presented it to receive the blessing of its dying father.

With pictures of cruelty like the scene at Groton fresh in her memory, it is not surprising that Mrs. Bailey during the subsequent years of her life was noted for bitterness of feeling toward the enemies of her country. In those times of trial she nourished the ardent love of her native land and the energy and resolution which in later days prompted the patriotic act that has made her name so celebrated as the "Heroine of Groton." On the 13th of July, 1813, a British squadron appearing in New London Harbor, an attack, evidently the enemy's object, was momentarily expected. The most intense excitement prevailed among the crowds assembled on both sides of the river, and the ancient fort was again manned for a desperate defense. In the midst of the preparations for resistance, however, it was discovered that there was a want of flannel to make the cartridges. There being no time to cross the ferry to New London, Mrs. Bailey proposed appealing to the people living in the neighborhood, and herself went from house to house to make the collection, even taking garments from her own person to contribute to the stock. This characteristic instance of enthusiasm in the cause of her country, together with the impression produced by her remarkable character, acquired for her a degree of popularity which elevated her, as "Mother Bailey," to almost the position of patron saint in her state.

Her maiden name was Anna Marner until she married Captain Elijah Bailey of Groton. Her descendants throughout Connecticut have made a museum of Revolutionary relics from her belongings, but her gift to them has been the inheritance of strong mental faculties and ardent patriotism.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.

 

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