Battle of Long Island - Video

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The Battle of Long Island was on August 27, 1776. It was the first major battle in the American Revolution following the Declaration of Independence. After defeating the British in the Siege of Boston, General Washington moved the Continental Army to defend New York City, where he believed that the British would attack next because of its strategic importance. He had 19,000 troops when he arrived in New York. The army was still new, poorly trained and lacked discipline. On June 29, the British fleet appeared off Staten Island. Within a week there were 130 British ships in the harbor, and the British troops began to land on Staten Island.

On July 6, General Washington was told that Congress had voted for independence four days earlier. On the evening of July 9, Washington assembled several brigades of troops and read them the Declaration of Independence. After the reading, a mob of soldiers went to Bowling Green with ropes and bars to tear down the statue of King George III on his horse. They cut off the statue's head, mounting it on a spike outside a tavern. The rest of the statue was dragged to Connecticut and melted down into musket balls.

By August 1, the British had over 400 ships in the harbor, and 32,000 troops were camped on Staten Island. Washington was unsure where the British would attack, so he split his army with half on Manhattan and half on Long Island. On August 22, the British landed 15,000 troops on Long Island, along with 5,000 Hessian troops for a total of 20,000 troops. Washington received word of the landing, but was told it was only 8,000 to 9,000 troops. This made him assume that the main attack would be on Manhattan. He sent only an additional 1,500 troops to Long Island, bringing the total number of troops to 6,000.

On the evening of August 26, the British started a night march toward the American position. At 3:00 am on August 27th, the Americans were under attack by the British. At 9:00 am Washington arrived from Manhattan and realized he was wrong about a feint. This was a full attack. Washington ordered more reinforcements from Manhattan to Brooklyn, but it was to late. Washington and his army were forced to retreat back to Brooklyn Heights. At this point the British General Howe stopped pressing the attack. It is not know why, since he may have captured Washington and much of his army.

Washington and his army were surrounded on Brooklyn Heights with the East River at their back. About 300 Americans had been killed and over 1,000 captured. On August 28 it began raining, and Washington ordered every available boat come to his position. The Pennsylvania Regiment would hold the line while the rest of the army would withdraw to Manhattan. At 9:00 pm on August 29th, Washington started to move the sick and wounded to the Brooklyn Ferry landing for evacuation. By 11:00 pm the troop evacuation had started. At 7:00 am, the last American troops landed in Manhattan. All 9,000 troops had been evacuated without a single casualty.

Check out these videos to learn more about the Battle of Island.



















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