PEARL LEONA STURGIS·FRIDAY, Febuary 19, 2016
The Patriots Daily Bites of American History Series # 13
By US History teacher...Text Book US History 1956 Gregory Dixon.
The War of Independence from July 4,1776 to the victory at Saratoga:
What the British hoped to do in New York: Driven out of Boston and defeated at Fort Moultrie the British determined to strike their next blow at New York. their plan was to take possession of the city and of the Hudson River. They could then prevent the New England Colonies and those south of New York from giving each other any help as our force on land was small and we had no vessels to attack the enemy by sea. If the British were successful in cutting the colonies in two they could then send a large force against Boston or Philadelphia, whichever they felt best and could be sure that the two sections of patriots could not unite to defend each other.
Washington saw this design of the enemy and prepared for it. when General Howe, commander of the English fleet, reached New York in the summer of 1776 he found Washington in possession of the city. Furthermore the British troops found that they could not send their ships up the Hudson River so easily as they had hoped. The Americans had built forts expressly to prevent it. One of those was Fort Washington on the upper part of Manhattan Island on the bank of the Hudson River. The other one was Fort Lee nearly opposite on the Jersey Shore. Between these two forts vessels had been sunk so that when enemy ships tried to go up the river they would first be checked by these sunken vessels and next they would be exposed to the cross fire from the cannons from both forts.
The british were confident they could win because they had 30,000 well armed men while Washington had less than 18.000 men, most of which knew nothing about war and many had no muskets fit to fight with. On the other hand, Washington had the advantage of position. He not only held both forts on the Hudson River but also had possession of Brooklyn Heights on Long Island directly opposite from the city on the south. the British General Howe was on Staten Island. He saw that if he could take Brooklyn Heights and plant his cannons there he could drive Washington out of New York just as Washington by seizing Dorchester Heights had driven the British out of Boston.
General Putnam was in command at Brooklyn Heights with 9,000 men. He knew the British were coming to attack and sent half his force to meet the enemy. The British, 25,000 strong. nearly 5 to 1 to the Americans, came across from Staten Island and landing on the south western shore of long Island began to march toward Brooklyn Heights. General Putnam and his whole army would have been defeated if it had not been for Washington’s energy and skill. During the night a dense fog appeared. Washington took advantage of it and succeeded in getting all the men across the river on boats to New York.
In the morning when the British Commander stretched out his hand to take the “nest of rebels” (as the British called the patriots) he got the nest indeed but it was empty. The rebels were gone.
(to be continued)
Washington retreats northward:
Fort Washington taken:
General Lee’s Disobedience: