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Posted by : Robert Child Monday


The First Crossing that Saved America

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It was not the crossing of the Delaware that first preserved the American cause but the crossing of the East River at Brooklyn Heights New York. In August 1776 with Washington’s men out numbered three-to-one and surrounded on all sides except one, a serendipitous downpour delayed British artillery attacks. In addition, unfavorable northeast winds prevented the British from moving their ships up New York Bay to encircle the American position. This mile wide channel was Washington's only possible path of retreat. The rain continued and on the night of August 29th the unusual northeast breeze intensified. The seagoing soldiers of John Glover's Marblehead Massachusetts Regiment were called on to ferry the American troops across the East River to Manhattan, and the exodus began at 9 PM.
When first light appeared, the evacuation of 9,000 American troops was far from complete; the oarsmen needed at least three more hours. Then rising out of the wet ground and off the East River, came a dense fog, which covered the entire river. As the sun rose, the miraculous fog did not lift! Washington’s entire army was extracted, except for the heaviest caliber canon. Just as the last boat pulled into the channel with General Washington aboard, the fog began to lift and dissipate. 9000 men had been saved from certain capture or destruction, and the American cause preserved.

Weather and Warfare Next Installment: Miracle at Dunkirk

One Response so far.

  1. I live in Brooklyn, NY and I've been researching The Battle of Brooklyn recently to be able to write a few blog posts about it later this month. I enjoyed your version of Washington's crossing of the East River in that fortuitous fog. I would like to include the painting you have used in this post when I write about the Continental Army's escape across the river. May I have your premission to use it?Thank you in advance.

    I enjoy history, so I'll be checking back to read more of your blog.

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