Enfield Public Library hosts Mystic Seaport historian and author Glenn Gordinier

By Calla Vassilopoulos - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Fri., Sep. 13, 2013

Enfield residents gathered to listen to Mystic Seaport historian Glenn Gordinier share his knowledge about the War of 1812 at the Enfield Public Library on Sept. 11.

“It was a war that was important; it changed the course of this nation,” he said. During the presentation, Gordinier spoke about Connecticut's resistance toward the war, because it knew Great Britain had a significantly larger army. However, when America decided to go to war, Connecticut would not allow its militia to leave the state. The militia was ordered to serve and protect only their state, which was what the Constitution stated to be the purpose of a militia.

Gordinier noted that the blockade of waterways by the British during the war resulted in the U.S. beginning to make its own products, as there was no way to either import or export products to other countries.

“It [the Industrial Revolution] began in Rhode Island and eastern Connecticut,” said Gordinier. “It was from there, the seabed, the Industrial Revolution exploded and expanded until we became the industrial leaders of the world; and it started with the Blackstone River and the Shetucket River.”

Gordinier's presentation was a result of his recent work with the New London County Historical Society, Mystic Seaport, the Stonington Historical Society, the New London Maritime Society and the Lyman Allyn Art Museum. A few years back, he said they came to realize that many people in southeastern Connecticut did not acknowledge or know much about the War of 1812. As a result, he and the other organizations began working together to gather information.

After more than two years planning, researching and writing, the group produced a book, titled “The Rockets' Red Glare: The War of 1812 and Connecticut,” an exhibit at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum and a website, www.warof1812ct.org.

The project in its entirety received an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH), which, according to Gordinier, is the highest award given by the organization. The award will be presented at the AASLH Leadership in History Awards in Alabama next month.

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