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As one of the oldest colonies in British North America, Connecticut (founded in the 1630s) had a long tradition of self-government that encouraged many of its citizens to support resistance to British taxation and other measures. Connecticut native John Chandler (1736-1795) studied theology and medicine at Yale College as a young man, then served as a physician and occasional preacher before serving in the colonial legislature from 1771 to 1773. Chandler received this military commission in the colonial militia in 1771 and later served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. The commission is signed by Jonathan Trumbull Sr., one of only two colonial governors who continued to serve after American Independence was declared in 1776. Governor Trumbull's son, John (1756-1843), gained fame as a historical painter who specialized in the history of the American Revolution.

During the war, Chandler rose to command the 8th Connecticut Regiment. He took command on Jan. 1, 1777, and resigned during the Valley Forge encampment on March 5, 1778. The now-famous memoirist of the Revolutionary War, Joseph Plumb Martin, served in Chandler’s regiment.

Object Details

  • Item/Title: Commission
    Place: Connecticut
    Date: 1771
    Materials: Ink on Paper
    Credit: Museum of the American Revolution (Benninghoff Collection), 2007.00.0016.2

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Colonel John Chandler of the 8th Connecticut Regiment carried this small sword during the Revolutionary War as a symbol of his rank.
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