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Fulton Landing

In March of 1776 the Continental Army under the command of General George Washington had just defeated and trapped the British forces in Boston after the battles of Lexington and Concord. Upon realizing that his forces had been severed, British Commander William Howe fled the Boston Harbor and made way for Halifax, Nova Scotia.

So, with Boston secured, Washington began to divide up the troops, sending regiment upon regiment to reinforce what he believed to be the next target, New York City.

Due...

In March of 1776 the Continental Army under the command of General George Washington had just defeated and trapped the British forces in Boston after the battles of Lexington and Concord. Upon realizing that his forces had been severed, British Commander William Howe fled the Boston Harbor and made way for Halifax, Nova Scotia.

So, with Boston secured, Washington began to divide up the troops, sending regiment upon regiment to reinforce what he believed to be the next target, New York City.

Due to the strategic importance of the island of Manhattan with its ability to control shipping routes up the Hudson, Washington began to entrench his forces there. It wasn’t until June that the British began to appear in the harbor and land their troops on Staten Island. By the end of July over 400 British ships laid anchored off New York’s shores.

Unsure about where the British would attack, Washington split his forces between Manhattan and Long Island. On August 24th the British landed 20,000 soldiers on Long Island; in response to this Washington sent reinforcements to what is now Brooklyn Heights. Unfortunately, Washington was misinformed. He was told that the British forces on Long Island only numbered between 8,000 and 9,000 troops. Their numbers proved in actuality to be much greater, and Washington’s reinforcements were drastically outmatched.

Due to loyalist farmers informing the British of a little known pass into the heights, the British army planned a diversionary attack from the front with a flanking group of 10,000 soldiers to sneak up from the rear. The American forces were outnumbered, outgunned and out maneuvered. The British took the front line of American forces, and cornered the remaining forces in Brooklyn Heights. The Americans were stuck with the East River to the rear, and a massive British force everywhere else.

Washington ordered a night retreat. Every boat that was available sailed to the Brooklyn coast on the East River. Troops kept their campfires lit as to not alert the British of any activity, and as daybreak came, a heavy fog rolled in which helped conceal the American escape. By 7:00 AM, Washington stepped onto the last boat to Manhattan, having successfully evacuated all 9,000 troops without mishap, leaving the British bewildered as to how the American’s escaped. The retreat saved the revolutionary cause. As the old joke goes, if it had not been for that heavy fog, we would still be speaking English in this country.

Today the staging area for the retreat is known as Fulton Landing in Brooklyn.

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55 Washington St
New York, NY 11201
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Artie
December 8, 2010
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