[3] Washington deferred to Greene and did not abandon the fort. [11] Little soil covered the rocky surface, so men had to haul soil up from the low ground. The flatboatmen then turned down the river to ferry Mathew's troops across the river. Thus began three months of maneuvers and fights, culminating in October with the Battle of White Plains and the American loss of New York. During an assault by the Hessians, John was killed, leaving his cannon unmanned. On November 20, Gen. William Howe ordered Gen. Lord Charles Cornwallis to capture Fort Lee. [37] To the south, the third defensive line had never been completed so Cadwalader had nowhere left to retreat to except the fort. The Battle of Fort Washington was fought in New York on November 16, 1776 during the American Revolutionary War between the United States and Great Britain. With the fort surrounded by land and sea, Colonel Magaw chose to surrender. Show your pride in battlefield preservation by shopping in our store. [26] The feint was to be by the 42nd Highlanders, who were to land on the east side of Manhattan, south of the fort. [38] By this time, the Hessians had taken the ground between the fort and the Hudson River. wounded. Fort Washington and its twin, Fort Lee, were the only part of Manhattan that the Americans still Had Control of. [24] Magaw and Putnam concurred with Greene. [45], Three days after the fall of Fort Washington, the Patriots abandoned Fort Lee. [4] Under the usual treatment of prisoners of war in the American Revolutionary War, only 800 survived their captivity to be released 18 months later in a prisoner exchange; nearly three-quarters of the prisoners died. [39] Hohenstein met with Cadwalader, and Cadwalader requested that Magaw be given four hours to consult with his officers. After defeating the Continental Army under Commander-in-Chief General George Washington at the Battle of White Plains, the British Army forces under the command of Lieutenant General William Howe planned to capture Fort Washington, the last American stronghold on Manhattan. For more than a month, the troops transported boulders from the heights of Manhattan to the edge of the river, where they loaded them into a collection of hulks and cribs made of timber and stretched it across the river. [46] Washington and the army retreated through New Jersey and crossed the Delaware River into Pennsylvania northwest of Trenton, pursued as far as New Brunswick, New Jersey by British forces. [36], With the collapse of Magaw's outer lines to the south and east of the fort, the general American retreat towards the perceived safety of the fort took place. George Washington, from his headquarters at New Windsor, New York, was apprised of the situation by May 17, when he ordered Colonel Alexander Scammell to proceed to Fort Lee and drive off the Refugees. Around 7:00 a.m., Hessian guns opened fire on the American battery on Laurel Hill, and the British frigate Pearl began to fire at the American entrenchments. The frigates could not elevate their own guns to the height of the U.S. positions. When the British emissary, Captain Hohenstein, demanded the fort’s surrender, a messenger arrived from Washington. These men would serve a petrifying fate as the winter months approached. [20], Because of these minor successes, Magaw became overconfident; he boasted of being able to hold the fort through a siege to the end of December. After about one month, on the night of December 25–26, 1776, Washington crossed the Delaware and defeated the Hessian garrison under the command of Rall at Trenton. The fort enclosed a total of three to four acres. At the same time as Fort Lee was being evacuated, Thomas Paine was writing The American Crisis, penning the words, “These are the times that try men’s souls.”. [32], To the north of the fort, the Hessian right, commanded by Johann Rall, moved up the steep hillside south of Spuyten Duyvil Creek against almost no resistance from the Americans. With this, Fort Lee was no longer worth defending. On the night of November 19 the British brought boats through the Harlem River and carried a force under Cornwallis across the Hudson in the rain. [12] To the south of the fort were three lines of defense. [27], Before dawn on November 16, the British and Hessian troops moved out. Some of the retreating Americans engaged Stirling, giving most of the rest of the American troops enough time to escape.

battle of fort washington and fort lee

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