The British Army occupied Southampton during the Revolutionary War for seven years. I can't imagine what an eternity that must have felt like. The Southampton Historical Society's current exhibit, Southampton Under Siege, gives you a glimpse of what it was like.
In sympathy with colonial Boston after repercussions from the Boston Tea Party, virtually all of Southampton's men signed a pledge of loyalty in 1775 to the Patriot cause. When the English won the Battle of Long Island in August of 1776 the British occupation of the East end began. Many fled to Connecticut and other parts of New England, those unable to flee were forced to sign an "Oath of Allegiance" to the Crown under the threat of death. I dare say I would have signed as well.
Robert Cleverley (1749 - 1809)
National Maritime Museum via
Troops took up residence in private homes leaving occupants to seek shelter elsewhere. The East end was occupied by British and Hessian (mercenary) troops until the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783. The museum's timeline helps put it all in perspective.
Southampton Under Siege is on exhibit until December 31, 2016
When I think of what our ancestors went through it makes the foibles of the current presidential candidates seem pretty inconsequential.
P.S. I googled up the engraving on the redcoat buttons (not military) see here