August 29, 1776 – The first battle in the Battle of New York, the Battle of Brooklyn, is underway. After a week of facing off against General Howe’s forces in Brooklyn, General Washington finds himself in Brooklyn Heights with his army. British and Hessian infantry, artillery and light horse surround him on three sides: South, East and North. To the West is the East River, a mile wide, with New York on the other side. It’s only a matter of time until General Howe makes an assault on Brooklyn Heights. Or, is it?
Both armies have been fighting in terrible conditions: extremely hot and rainy. Brooklyn’s farmers have burned their fields to prevent the British from gaining supplies. They have all marched through mud and mosquitoes for days, with unbearable humidity in wool uniforms carrying their equipment. Both sides are exhausted. General Howe, seeing an opportunity, arranges for the Navy (commanded by his older brother, Admiral Richard Howe) occupying NY Harbor to the South, to send a warship into the East River to block any attempted escape by Washington. He has his own men “bring up the guns”, aim their artillery into Brooklyn Heights. In this way they will hold Washington’s army under siege until they surrender. A fine plan. Until the wind changes direction.
The wind, now blowing to the South, opens up an opportunity for Washington to evacuate his men across the East River to New York. Colonel John Glover and his regiments from Marblehead, MA, all fishermen and sailors, take up the challenge. They waterproof their uniforms with tar, find everything that will float and when it is completely dark, using no lanterns, start to ferry everything to New York, as quietly as possible. Three regiments under the command of Maj. Benjamin Tallmadge stay on duty throughout the night facing Howe’s forces to make it look like it’s just another night in camp while the rest of the army makes its way across the East River. It proceeds throughout the night with Glover’s men rowing back and forth, against heavy winds and strong currents, moving the encampment bit by bit to New York.
Standing on the dock in New York is Reverend Shewkirk, who described the boats heading toward him. “…every manner of floatable vessel.” Carrying boxes of food, men, horses, canon, tents and munitions. Shewkirk says they piled everything up on the docks to dry and went back for more. It proceeded in an orderly fashion until dawn, when the regiments under Tallmadge’s command panicked, afraid they would be captured. But “…through God’s divine intervention, a thick fog covered the city…” enabling Washington to complete the retreat. They packed everything up and General Washington lead the army North to safety. When the fog lifted, the British were left alone in Brooklyn Heights.
In his memoirs of the Battle of Brooklyn, Benjamin Tallmadge tells us that he left his favorite horse behind in Brooklyn and after obtaining Washington’s permission went back to get him. Halfway back to New York on the barge, the enemy began firing at him but, he says, he was already too far for their shots to reach him.
Glover’s Regiments were the heroes of the day and went on to more heroic action in the Battle of Pell’s Point and, most famously, the Crossing of the Delaware River on Christmas Day, 1776. Most importantly for Washington, he lived to fight on. With The Battle of Brooklyn over, The Battle of New York continued at Kip’s Bay.
Karen took the time to show us all the important places relevant to Hamilton over the course of 3 hours. The tour only had 5 participants so there was all sorts of time for questions and answers throughout the tour. Her knowledge of the subject matter was complete and she had a nice way of making it come together in a very interesting way. She was also careful to let us know when certain things she was talking about were not necessarily fact but gave us enough information to engage our own thoughts toward the situation. We will definitely take another one of her tours in the future. We highly recommend Patriot Tour to anyone visiting, or living in the area.
My husband & I are TURN fans so thoroughly enjoyed the Revolutionary NY Tour.
Despite the cold and rain, there was so much information and so many great stories
that we were not discouraged. Next time we're in town, we will definitely be taking
another tour. Tickets would make an excellent gift.
This was an awesome tour! Karen was great and extremely knowledgeable. The only regret I hve is not booking the private tour, because I would have loved to get more in depth stories and conversations, but that's just me being selfish! Such a great time!
I booked this tour after finding it on TripAdvisor. Touring the historical portions of lower manhattan was a real treat. Karen is a very knowledgeable tour guide. She made the experience fun and I learned so much on this visit. My friend and I will definitely book her Alexander Hamilton tour on our next visit. If you are looking for an intimate small tour that is full of interesting stories as well as facts this is it!!
I met my mum in New York and couldn't wait to repeat the Revolutionary tour. It rained hard for the whole tour, but we didn't notice. I learned even more and was reminded of things I had forgotten. Karen is the most interesting person to spend two and a half precious hours with.