Essex is a town in Middlesex County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 6,505 at the 2000 census. It is made up of three villages: Essex Village, Centerbrook, and Ivoryton. Essex is one of the few American towns to ever be attacked by a foreign power; this occurred on April 8, 1814, and the economic losses were among the largest sustained by the United States during the War of 1812. were destroyed by the British. One historian has called it the "Pearl Harbor" of that war.