July 8, 2020

Governor Malloy to Commemorate Burning of the Ships Day on May 12 in Essex


PHOTO 1: Community rowboat races will be one of the many free Burning of the Ships Day events happening in Essex Village on Saturday, May 12. Pictured here is the 2011 team fielded by the Sailing Masters of 1812. PHOTO 2: Free Men of the Sea will be on hand for colonial weaponry demonstrations and maritime games at the Connecticut River Museum’s Burning of the Ships Day on Saturday, May 12.

Essex, CT – On Saturday, May 12, Governor Dannel Malloy will arrive in Essex Village to help commemorate the historic 1814 British raid on Essex.  The festivities begin at 2:00 pm with the annual Burning of the Ships Commemoration Parade presented by the Sailing Masters of 1812 Fife & Drums Corps.  Along with 14 other regional fife and drums corps, they will march down Main Street to the Essex waterfront to perform a small “muster” and ceremony remembering the fateful night when British troops rowed upriver and destroyed 27 ships during the War of 1812.  Joined by Connecticut River Museum Executive Director Jerry Roberts, Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman and State Representative Philip Miller, the Governor will recognize the Sailing Masters for nearly 50 years of service in keeping Connecticut’s heritage alive and then officially proclaim Essex as a War of 1812 battle site with a presentation to the Connecticut River Museum for their efforts in researching and telling the story.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the Connecticut River Museum will present re-enactors, colonial weaponry demonstrations, and maritime games on its lawn while hosting community rowboat races off of its docks.  At 5:00 pm, the public is then invited to join museum staff in the Burning of the Fleet exhibit gallery for a special evening of grog, rum and tales of the British raid. The program will end in time for the 8:00 pm start of the 3rd Annual Regency Ball hosted by the Sailing Masters of 1812 at Essex Town Hall.

For more information on the Sailing Masters of 1812, go to www.sailingmasters.org. For more information on the Connecticut River Museum, go to www.ctrivermuseum.org or call (860)767-8269.

Burning of the Ships Day Itinerary

Governor Arrival

1:45 pm │Connecticut River Museum, 67 Main Street:  Governor Malloy arrives at the Connecticut River Museum prior to the 2:00 pm parade (before the street is closed) for a quick tour at the 1814 British Raid on Essex exhibit.

Sailing Masters of 1812 Commemoration Parade

2:00 pm │Essex Town Hall, 29 West Avenue:  The Sailing Masters of 1812 along with approximately 14 visiting fife and drum corps assemble at Town Hall and proceed on foot down Main Street to the Essex waterfront.

Waterfront Commemoration Ceremony

2:15 pm (approx.) │Foot of Main Street, adjacent to Connecticut River Museum

Sailing Masters Captain Ted Nelson begins commemoration ceremony by welcoming those gathered, introducing the corps and saying a few words.  He then introduces Connecticut River Museum Executive Director Jerry Roberts.

Jerry Roberts provides a brief history of the 1814 British raid on Essex and introduces Essex First Selectmen Norman Needleman.

First Selectman Needleman says a few words and introduces State Representative Phil Miller.

Representative Miller says a few words and then introduces Governor Malloy.


Governor Malloy speaks to the following three themes of the day:

  1. Kick off of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 in CT
  2. Recognition of  the Sailing Masters for keeping our heritage alive for nearly 50 years
  3. Official declaration of Essex as a War of 1812 battle site (see attachment from SHPO)

If possible, the Governor could present an official proclamation to the Sailing Masters for their years of public service in addition to presenting a proclamation recognizing Essex as a War of 1812 battle site to the Connecticut River Museum for display in the Museum’s exhibit.

Ted Nelson thanks the Governor, Phil Miller, Norm Needleman and Jerry Roberts.  He then cues the start of the fife and drum corps muster while the Governor stands in review.  Fife and drum corps disperse back up Main Street to Town Hall.  Connecticut River Museum commences community row boat races and lawn activities.  Governor departs Museum grounds.