The Burning of Fairfield took place on July 7, 1779, 199 years ago tomorrow. The purpose of the British mission was to capture the important fort and harbor in Black Rock, to rout out the rebel activity in Fairfield, and to distract Washington’s troops. On that day, two British ships were spotted off Fairfield, later they exchanged fire with the fort in Black Rock (resulting in no damage to either the fort or the ships).

The ships arrived and landed 2,600 troops in Fairfield. They attempted to cross the bridge to Black Rock, but luckily the bridge had already been dismantled by Fairfield residents. Unable to achieve their objective, and without any strategic value to holding the Fairfield town center, the British troops burned the town.

They destroyed many homes, barns, businesses, and public buildings. Even the church was not spared. After the town was destroyed the British troops withdrew.

This year, to commemorate this infamous day in Fairfield history, the Fairfield Museum is offering four “Rebels vs. Tories” interactive performances. Real actors will portray many of the characters who were involved in the historic day, and attendees will get to see both sides of the day’s events. Audience members will walk to several locations including the Burr Mansion and hear from those who were involved, both Rebels and Tories. Audience participation is encourage!

The interactive performances take place Saturday, July 7 and Sunday, July 8 and 1pm and 3pm. Tickets are available at the Museum (370 Beach Road), by phone at 203-259-1598 or online at

A lively Tavern Night with libations from Fairfield Craft Ales, sliders from Walrus + Carpenter and music from Bob & Dave is planned for Sunday at 4 p.m. “Rebels vs. Tories” ticketholders get a $5 discount to Tavern Night. For more information, visit

The Fairfield Museum & History Center and Museum shop, at 370 Beach Road, is open seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Members of the museum and children under 5 are admitted free. For information, call 203-259-1598 or visit

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The year the burning of Fairfield took place.