Chapter 5

Escort to General Lafayette


      The most notable event during Major Granniss' term of office was the participation of the Guard in the reception to General Lafayette. On Tuesday the 17th of August, 1824, word was received of the arrival of Gen. Lafayette at the city of New York. This intelligence was announced here by ringing of bells and a discharge of 24 guns. A delegation was immediately sent to New York to invite him to visit New Haven which invitation he accepted. Lafayette arrived here on the 21st and his arrival was announced by a national salute and ringing of bells. He was met out of the city by an escort of the Horse Guard, a company of Cavalry, the Foot Guard, the Grays, Lafayette Volunteers, and the Artillery, the whole under the command of Major Granniss.

      No visitor to early New Haven had been feted as fully as Lafayette. The entire population turned out headed by high officials of State and City. There were parades, dinners, speeches and a military review on the Green. While passing down the line shaking hands with the officers and bowing to the men Lafayette recognized the Foot Guard with the marked familiarity of an old acquaintance. Finally, a carriage was furnished by the New Haven Committee to take him to New London, on his way to Boston. Long and loud were the acclamations of the citizens upon his departure. The military again took Lafayette under escort and he left the city with a parting salute of 15 guns. The Horse Companies and city authorities accompanied him to the Green in East Haven where, after another warm expression of gratitude, he took his leave.

      A second important event during Major Granniss' term of office was the formation of another band. The first had run into trouble in 1808 and had been disbanded other than drummers and fifers. At a meeting in Granger's Hotel on Feb. 21, 1826 twenty-one musicians formed themselves into a company to be known as the Guard's Band. The Company was to pay one dollar per day to each man for his services. This band, somewhat reorganized in 1840, continued its connection with the Company until August 1844 when it merged with the New Haven City Brass Band.

      It was during Major Leverett Candee's term of office that the first recorded camp duty occurred. At a meeting held June 16, 1829, it was voted:

      That the Second Company, Governor's Foot Guard make an excursion to Greenfield Hill performing camp duty during their absence from the city.

      Greenfield Hill, outside of Bridgeport, was chosen, as this was the home of Governor Gideon Tomlinson. The Guard (68 in number) had secured the loan of tents from the officials of the Methodist Church -- probably used in revival camp meetings -- and on August 3rd left New Haven by boat. After arriving in Bridgeport they lined up and marched to Greenfield Hill. Despite bad weather the Guard underwent very strenuous military exercise. Before returning to New Haven on the 6th they were dinner guests of the Governor in his home. The band was present and "with soul - stirring music" added zest to the occasion.

      In 1833, the Guard had the honor along with other local military outfits, in acting as escort to President Andrew Jackson when he visited New Haven. He arrived from New York on June 15 and accompanying him were Vice President Martin Van Buren, Secretary of War Lewis Cass, Secretary of the Navy Levi Woodbury, and Governor William Marcy of New York. The visitors were escorted to the State House where they were received by the Governor, Mayor and Veterans of the Revolution. After visiting Yale College the President was conducted to the Tontine Hotel where he spent the night. The next day being Sunday he attended three different churches -- no one could say he was not a politician -- Trinity, in the morning, the North Presbyterian in the early afternoon following which he attended the Methodist Church where the service was held up until he arrived. He left New Haven the following day after visiting Brewster's Carriage Factory where he purchased a light vehicle to be sent to Washington.

Chapter 6