Just one of many instances when the hand of providence, as George Washington referred to it, intervened and the American Army prevailed in what were times of certain defeat.
The British forces had left Boston and headed to New York.
As a result, General George Washington moved his troops to New York, to fortify Brooklyn Heights.
Enthusiasm was running high and General Washington’s ranks swelled to nearly 20,000.
The British were preparing to attack New York, Before long, hundreds of British ships filled New York’s harbor, carrying 32,000 troops.
It was the largest invasion force in history to that date. The thousands of wooden masts of the British ships were described as looking like a forest.
On AUGUST 27, 1776, the Battle of Brooklyn Heights (Long Island) began.
It was the first major battle after America had officially declared its independence, and it was the largest battle of the entire war.
Soon, Washington expected an attack from the sea, similar to what the British did at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Instead, 10,000 British troops landed a distance from New York and a British loyalist led them through Jamaica Pass, marching all night long to make a surprise attack on the Continental Army from behind.
As a result, an estimated 3,000 Americans were killed or wounded compared to only 392 British casualties.
As General Washington watched 400 soldiers of the First Maryland Regiment charge six times directly into the British lines, allowing the rest of the Continental Army to find cover, he exclaimed:
“Good God, what brave fellows I have lost this day.”
British General Howe trapped the 8,000 American troops on Brooklyn Heights with their backs against the sea.
That night, Washington made the desperate decision to evacuate his entire army by ferrying it across the East River to Manhattan Island.
The sea was boisterous where the British ships were, but providentially calm in the East River allowing Washington’s boats to transport troops, horses and cannons.
The next morning, as the sun began to rise, half of the America troops were still in danger, but a “miraculously” thick fog lingered blocking the evacuation from being seen by the British.
Major Ben Tallmadge, Washington’s Chief of Intelligence, wrote:
“As the dawn of the next day approached, those of us who remained in the trenches became very anxious for our own safety, and when the dawn appeared there were several regiments still on duty.
At this time a very dense fog began to rise off the river, and it seemed to settle in a peculiar manner over both encampments.
I recollect this peculiar providential occurrence perfectly well, and so very dense was the atmosphere that I could scarcely discern a man at six yards distance…
We tarried until the sun had risen, but the fog remained as dense as ever.”
General Washington was on the last boat that left Brooklyn Heights.
Had the Americans not been able to evacuate, the war would have ended there.
As it happened, the British never again had such an opportunity to capture the entire American army at one time.
Washington wrote later that year, August 20, 1778:
“The Hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this-the course of the war-that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith.”
If we want to make our nation great.
Gary has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.
His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.
He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.
He has published several books about his adventures.
For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.
Your comments are welcome