New York City

  • Time Period: 3 April - 16 November 1776
  • Area: Southern New York and Bergen County, New Jersey
  • Explanation: Operations relating to the British capture of Long. Staten, and Manhattan Islands

After the British evacuation of Boston, Gen. George Washington immediately moved his army, less the militia, to New York, in anticipation of a British invasion of that strategically important city. During July and August 1776, Gen. Howe, supported by a British fleet under his brother, Adm. Lord Richard Howe, landed an army of 32,000 British and Hessian regulars unopposed on Staten Island. But by late August Washington had assembled a force of over 20,000 virtually untrained Continentals and militia, and built a system of defenses on and around Manhattan Island. About half of these Colonial troops were disposed in fortifications on Brooklyn Heights and forward positions at the western end of Long Island under command of Maj. Gen. Israel Putnam.

From 22 - 25 August General Howe landed about 20,000 men on Long Island and, in the evening of the 26th, directed a wide flanking movement around the American left, commanded by Maj. Gen. John Sullivan. On the morning of the 27th Howe fell upon the rear of Sullivan's forces and, despite a valiant defense by the Continentals on the right under Brig. Gen. William Alexander (Lord Stirling), the whole American front crumpled. Remnants of the forward American forces fled back to entrenchments on Brooklyn Heights and 2 nights later were evacuated to Manhattan in a skillful withdrawal unobserved by the British.

Estimates place American losses at 300-400 killed and wounded and 700-1,200 taken prisoners. General Howe listed his losses as 367.

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