From Classic Encyclopedia 1911
NEW LONDON, a city, port of entry, and one of the countyseats of New London county, Connecticut, U.S.A., coextensive with the township of New London, in the S.E. part of the state, on the Thames river, about 3 m. from its entrance into Long Island Sound. Pop. (1890) 13,757; (1900) 17,548, of whom 3743 were foreign-born; (1910 census) 19,659. It is served by the New York, New Haven & Hartford, and the New London Northern (leased by the Central Vermont) railways, by electric railway to Norwich, Westerly, Groton, Stonington and East Lyme, by a daily line of passenger steamboats to New York City, and by two lines of freight steamers, and in the summer months by daily steamboats to Sag Harbor and Greenport, Long Island, and Watch Hill and Block Island, Rhode Island. New London's harbour is the best on the Sound. The city is the headquarters of a United States artillery district, embracing Fort H. G. Wright on Fisher's Island, New York, Fort Michie on Gull Island, New York, Fort Terry on Plum Island, New York, and Fort Mansfield on Napatree Point, Rhode Island - fortifications which command the eastern entrance to Long Island Sound; and it is the headquarters of the Third District of the U.S. Engineers and of the Third District of the Lighthouse Department. The harbour was formerly defended by two forts, both now obsolete - Fort Trumbull on the right bank of the Thames, and Fort Griswold on the left bank, in the township of Groton (pop. 1900, 5962). The city is built on a declivity facing the south-east; from the higher points there are excellent views of Long Island Sound and the surrounding country. New London is a summer resort, and is a station of the New York Yacht Club; the boat races between Harvard and Yale universities are annually rowed on the river near the city. Among the places of interest are the Town Mill, built in 1650 by John Winthrop, Jr., in co-operation with the town; the Hempstead Mansion, built by John Hempstead about 1678; the old cemetery, north-east of the city, laid out in 1653; a school house in which Nathan Hale taught; and a court house built in 1785. There is a public library (about 30,000 volumes), and the New London County Historical Society (incorporated 1870) has an historical library. There are two endowed high schools, the Bulkeley School for boys and the Williams Memorial Institute (1891) for girls, and an endowed Manual Training and Industrial School (1872), all offering free instruction. In the 18th century New London had a large trade in lumber, flour and food supplies with the West Indies, Gibraltar and the Barbary States; but this trade declined after the War of 1812, and the whaling and sealing industries, once very lucrative, have also declined in value. The imports in 1906 were valued at $54,873 and the exports at $60,522; in 1909 their respective values were $10,870 and $10,295. Manufacturing is the principal industry; among the products are silk goods, cotton gins, printing presses and foundry and machine shop products. The total value of factory products was $4,709,628 in 1905, an increase of 1 I. 6% since 1900.
New London was founded in 1646 by John Winthrop, the younger. It was known by its Indian name "Nameaug" until 1658, when the General Court of Connecticut approved the wish of the settlers to adopt its present name from London, England, the river Monhegin at the same time becoming the Thames. During the War of Independence it was a rendezvous for American privateers. In 1776 the first naval expedition authorized by Congress was organized in its harbour, and there in the next three years twenty privateers were fitted out. On the 6th of September 1781, Boo British troops and Loyalists under General Benedict Arnold (who was born in New London county) raided New London, destroyed much private property, and at Fort Griswold killed 84 American soldiers, many of them after their surrender. The massacre is commemorated by an obelisk, 134 ft. high, on Groton Heights. The city was incorporated in 1784. In 1798 there was an epidemic of yellow fever. From the 7th of November 1812 until the close of the second war with Great Britain the harbour was blockaded by a British fleet.
See F. M. Caulkins's History of New London (new ed., New London, 1900); and the publications of the New London County Historical Society (New London).