The Battle of Long Island, also called the Battle of Brooklyn, was an important battle for America's independence. The largest and deadliest battle of the Revolutionary War was fought in the New York City borough of Brooklyn.
A large British fighting force, commanded by brothers General Howe and Admiral Howe gathered together in Brooklyn to meet George Washington and the Continental Army in the first major battle of organized forces in the Revolutionary War on August 27th, 1776.
Both armies recognized the strategic importance of Manhattan Island (New York City) and the control of the Hudson River. Though young American army was driven to retreat and gave up Brooklyn and later Manhattan, the fact that they faced such a large and well-trained enemy, and survived only losing a fraction of their force was a victory in itself.
Despite their battle win, the British held back and this allowed Washington to take advantage of a rain-filled night to cover the sounds of moving almost his entire army across the river to safety. When the morning sun began to rise and some of the American troops were still on the island, luck was on their side as a dense fog moved in hiding their movement and enabling all of Washington's army to escape. The British plan of crushing the rebellion and quickly ending an "expensive war" was lost. It would be a harder fight than they realized.
The Americans lost over 1,000 soldiers in the battle and were badly discouraged by the loss. However, they stood together as an army defending the nation, gained valuable experience, and eventually won the war.
By the numbers, this battle was supposed to be a decisive British victory. Instead, the Battle of Long Island was the first major blow of a war that would drag on for seven more years and end in a recognized American democracy.
“The Battle for New York: the City at the Heart of the American Revolution.” The Battle for New York: the City at the Heart of the American Revolution, by
Barnet Schecter, Jonathan Cape, 2003, p. 3.
“The Battle of Brooklyn 1776.” The Battle of Brooklyn 1776, by John J. Gallagher, Heritage Books, 2004, pp. xv-50.
“Battle of Long Island.” Essential New York City Guide, www.essential-new-york-city-guide.com/battle-of-long-island.html.
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