Battle of Long Island

Coordinates: 40°39′54″N 73°58′52″W / 40.665°N 73.981°W / 40.665; -73.981
From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Battle of Long Island
Part of the American Revolutionary War

The Delaware Regiment at the Battle of Long Island.
DateAugust 27, 1776
40°39′54″N 73°58′52″W / 40.665°N 73.981°W / 40.665; -73.981
Result British victory[1]
 United States

 Great Britain

Commanders and leaders
United States George Washington
United States Israel Putnam
United States William Alexander
United States Thomas Mifflin
United States Henry Knox
United States John Sullivan
Kingdom of Great Britain William Howe,
Kingdom of Great Britain Charles Cornwallis,
Kingdom of Great Britain Henry Clinton
Kingdom of Great Britain William Erskine
Kingdom of Great Britain James Grant
Kingdom of Great Britain Charles Mawhood
10,000[2] 32,000[3]
Casualties and losses
300 killed
~700 wounded
1,000 captured[4]
64 killed
293 wounded
31 missing[5] according to Lord Howe report 21 {1 officer and 20 Grenadiers of the Marines} were captured [6]

The Battle of Long Island was a major battle in the American war of independence. It is also known as the Battle of Brooklyn or the Battle of Brooklyn Heights. The battle which was fought on August 27, 1776, was a major victory for the British and defeat for the Americans under General George Washington. It was the start of a successful British campaign that gave the British control of the strategically important city of New York. In the American Revolutionary War it was the first major battle to take place after the United States declared independence in July, 1776. In terms of soldiers, it was the largest battle of the entire conflict.

General George Washington, Commander-in-Chief had defeated the British in the Siege of Boston on March 17, 1776. Washington then used the Continental Army to defend the port city of New York. At that time, New York City was only at the southern end of Manhattan Island. Washington understood that the city's harbor would provide an excellent base for the British Navy during the campaign. For this reason, he established defenses there and waited for the British to attack.

The British were commanded by General William Howe. In July his force landed a few miles across the harbor on sparsely-populated Staten Island. Over the next few months, new ships slowly reinforced their position in Lower New York Harbor. In August there were 32,000 soldiers, and the British controlled the entrance of the harbor at The Narrows. Washington knew that it would be difficult to hold the city against such a force. He believed Manhattan would be the first target and he moved most of his forces there.

On August 22, the British landed on the shores of Gravesend Bay in southwest Kings County, across The Narrows from Staten Island, more than 12 miles (20 km) south from the East River crossings to Manhattan. Washington brought some of his troops to northern Kings County, expecting to fight only part of the attacking army.

After five days of waiting, the British attacked American defenses. Unknown to the Americans, however, Howe had brought his main army around their rear and attacked their flank soon after. The Americans panicked, although a stand by 400 Maryland troops prevented most of the army from being captured. The remainder of the army fled to the main defenses on Brooklyn Heights. The British dug in for a siege but, on the night of August 29–30, Washington evacuated the entire army to Manhattan without the loss of materiel or a single life. Washington and the Continental Army were driven out of New York entirely after the battle of Fort Washington and other defeats, and forced to retreat through New Jersey and into Pennsylvania.

References[change | change source]

  1. Syrett, David (15 June 2005). Admiral Lord Howe. Naval Institute Press. p. 61. ISBN 978-1-59114-006-1. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
  2. Lengel 2005, p. 140-Figure indicates how many troops were on Long Island total. Only 3,000 troops were on the Guana Heights, where the British attacked.
  3. Lengel 2005, p. 139
  4. McCullough 2006, p. 180
  5. McCullough 2006, p. 179
  6. The Diary of the Revolution: A Centennial Volume Embracing the Current Events in Our Country's History from 1775 to 1781 as Described by American, British, and Tory Cotemporaries; Compiled from the Journals, Documents, Private Records Correspondence, Etc., of that Period Forming an Interesting, Impartial, and Valuable Collection of Revolutionary Literature. J.B. Burr. 1876. p. 304.