Fort Washington Fort

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Fort Washington is a fort located at the northernmost tip and highest elevation of what is now the borough of Manhattan in New York City, overlooking the Hudson River, which was held by American forces. Along with Fort Lee located just across the river in New Jersey the Palisades, the twin forts were intended to protect the lower Hudson from British warships during the campaign around New York in the summer and autumn of 1776. The fort was defended by around 2,900 Continental Army troops and militia under the command of Colonel Robert Magaw. During the fighting on and around Manhattan, the American Army commanded by General George Washington—for whom the fort was named—was forced to withdraw northward, leaving both Forts Washington and…show more content…
With a position on high land overlooking the Hudson River, the fort, in conjunction with Fort Lee across the river, was intended to protect the river from opposing warships upon completion. Construction of the fort required significant effort to bring enough soil to the location to construct the fort. Upon completion, the fort consisted of five earthen walls, each with a bulwark. The walls included openings for gun emplacements covering every angle and overlooked approximately four open acres surrounding the structure. In addition to the primary fort, numerous defenses surrounded the fort. Multiple gun batteries were placed in proximity at key strategic locations and lines of trenches and foxholes were dug into the surrounding hills. Upon completion, Fort Washington controlled the high ground overlooking the Hudson River, thus protecting the American positions from warships. Between the elevation and defenses of Fort Washington and Fort Lee, British ships could not mount an adequate attack against the forts. As a result, the forts were considered critical to the American positions along the Hudson River even though all exterior defenses were not fully…show more content…
However, after the Hessian troops entered the fort, the evacuating Americans had most of their belongings taken from them. In addition, many of the surrendering troops were beaten, although the Hessian officers stopped the beatings quickly. Over 2,800 American troops were taken prisoner as a result of the surrender of Fort Washington. Of those troops, only 800 survived until a prisoner exchange approximately 18 months later. Three days after the surrender of Fort Washington, American forces abandoned Fort Lee. The remaining American forces under Washington’s command fled across New Jersey and into Pennsylvania. The loss of Fort Washington damaged the morale of the American forces and colonies with the retreat of the main American army. While the Battle of Fort Washington was a clear and decisive British victory, the movements of Washington and his army following the fort’s surrender created the circumstances for later battles. Despite losing the fort, troops and material captured by the British, Washington’s retreat into Pennsylvania set the stage for the future battles of Trenton and Princeton, both of which significantly accelerated the loss of morale caused by the defeat at Fort
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