Several hundred patriots joined Farmington’s three regiments in 1776 and 1777, fighting at Boston, Ticonderoga, Crown Point, and West Point, Stoney Point, and Morristown, N.J. After the British evacuated Boston in March 1776, the main route from Newport and Hartford to the highlands above New York City was through Farmington. Troops, equipment, and provisions passed through the town, and local enterprises furnished cloth, grain, flour, saltpeter for gunpowder, and other supplies.
Toward the end of 1776, with British victories in New York and General Washington retreating to New Jersey and then Pennsylvania, patriotic fervor began to give way to what Bickford described as “grim determination.” Farmington companies suffered heavy losses at the Battle of Long Island in September 1776. The number of wounded soldiers returning home increased, recruitment became more difficult, and townspeople felt the burden of heavy taxation for the war. “These are the times that try men’s souls,” wrote Thomas Paine, who was with the Continental Army during its retreat.
But Washington took the offensive again, crossing the Delaware River and capturing 1,000 Hessians at the Battle of Trenton in December 1776.