On August 27, 1776, the British army defeated Patriot troops at the Battle of Long Island, New York. Though the Americans were soundly defeated, they were able to safely evacuate their troops and avoid what would have been the probable destruction of a large part of the Continental Army.
After the British were pushed out of Boston in March 1776, they next set their sights on capturing New York City and the vital Hudson River. During that summer, 32,000 British and Hessian troops under the command of General William Howe arrived on Staten Island, where they began preparing for their attack on Long Island. General George Washington, unsure where exactly the British planned to attack, split his approximately 20,000 troops between Manhattan Island and Long Island, even though he already had fewer troops than Howe.
15,000 British troops landed on the southwest shore of Long Island on August 22, with a few thousand additional Hessian troops arriving later. A portion of the roughly seven thousand American troops on the island were strung out along six miles of a ridge, with Americans protecting most of the passes through that ridge. However, one of the passes (Jamaica Pass on the American left) was left virtually undefended. The British decided on a diversionary tactic in which part of their army would harass the American front, while the majority of the British troops would make their way through Jamaica Pass to attack the American left flank.
So on the night of the 26th, British troops made their way through Jamaica Pass, and on the morning of the 27th the British plan was successfully carried out. When attacked from both front and flank, the American defenses crumbled. A daring, if ill-fated, counterattack by Maryland troops helped give the surviving Patriots time to retreat to their fortifications at Brooklyn Heights.
However, rather than launching a direct assault against the Americans’ position at Brooklyn Heights, General Howe—believing the Americans were trapped between the British and the East River—decided instead to lay siege on their position. This reprieve gave Washington the chance to evacuate his troops, which he did in secret on the night of the 29th under the cover of rain and fog. Using small boats, the Americans were able to withdraw all of their troops across the East River to Manhattan without the British noticing.
The British would later pursue the Americans and eventually capture New York, but the Continental Army’s escape from Long Island would go down as an impressive feat that saved the Patriot army from disaster.
Do you have ancestors who fought at Long Island? Tell us about them! Or learn more about the battle on Fold3.
I have an ancestor who fought with General Howe until after the Battle of White Plains, when he changed sides and joined the General Washington’s forces.
My 5th Great Grandfather was part of the Long Island Culper Ring. (George Higday)
I read your note regarding an ancestor that was part of the Culper Spy Ring. I am preparing a presentation regarding the Culper Spy Ring for the Martin Warren Chapter, Missouri Society, SAR and would like to know more about your ancestor’s involvement. Thanks in advance for your reply.
By 1779, Washington resolved to have an effective spy network. All of his secret agents before that time had proved brave but ineffectual like the unfortunate Nathan Hale, who had been hanged for his espionage by the British in 1776. He had had bad luck with those spies he had developed on his own, such as George Higday, who lived in British-occupied territory and who had offered to take messages from spies to Washington and even serve as a spy himself. Washington wrote to Tallmadge about this spy, but the letter was intercepted by the British, who were thus able to identify and arrest Higday on July 13, 1779. George Higday was in the Provost for over 507 Days without being charged a crime.
I also have information on Elizabeth Burgin and George Higday. George helped with the escape of the prisoners off the war ships.
I have more. Email me at [email protected]
I have so much information on George its to long to post here. I have way more on The Culper Ring Connection and that Richard Amos may of helped him during the Revolutionary War. Richard Amos as you know owned most of the property in Greenwich New York. George had deep ties to Richard Amos and Aaron Burr.
Do you have any information about Elizabeth (Lloyd) Loring, Mrs. Joshua Loring, and her possible connection with George or the Culper Spy Ring in general? It is my understanding that Abraham Woodhull wrote to Tallmage that he, Abraham, had “a lady of his acquaintance that may outsmart them all.” Some people have associated this “lady” with someone referred to at Agent 355, however, that has been debunked. Thanks in advance for your reply.
I have not heard of Elizabeth (Lloyd) Loring. But now I am curious about her and will have to research it and see if there was a connection to my 5th Great Grandfather George Higday.
I know that you don’t need any help doing research, however, if you are interested in Elizabeth (Lloyd) Loring, you might try the following sources: James Lloyd II, M.D., And His Family on Lloyd Neck by George Loveridge Bowen, 1988; Revolutionary Ladies by Philip Young, 1977; Forgotten Patriots by Edwin G. Burrows, 2008. I have found internet sources quite unreliable. Keeping the Faith, Mike Powers.
Thank you for the List of references to look up information on Elizabeth (Lloyd) Loring. If you ever find anything more on George Higday (my 5th Great Grandfather) I would be interested in knowing what you found. George changed his name after being released from Prison and we do not know what it was changed to. I also have never found his parents or where he came from. I do know he had contacts in Bergen County New Jersey. So I am assuming he came from there or had family there. Just have not been able to prove anything yet.
My 4th great-granduncle, Edward Prall [1734 Hunterdon Co., NJ-1803 Harford Co., MD] served with Smallwood’s Regiment [1st Maryland] at Long Island. He served on the Committees of Safety, License, War & Observation [1774-76] and was a signer of the Harford Resolves 22 March 1775. Edward was an Ensign & 2nd Lt. in Ewing’s 4th Co. Smallwood reported to Washington on 8 August. Mordecai Gist was in command on the 27th [Smallwood was on Courts Martial duty.] The Maryland & Delaware Regiments were engaged at the “Old Stone House” repelling British regulars through 5 counterattacks. The 6th forced surviving Continentals to retreat. Of 400 men, 256 were killed, wounded or captured. Lt. Prall was wounded and captured. He was exchanged on 20 April 1778. The actions of the “Maryland 400” were instrumental in allowing the Continental Army to escape Long Island. In Gen. Washington’s own words, “Good God, what brave fellows I have lost today.” The Maryland regiment would be Washington’s “go to” unit during the war and would be instrumental in the success of the Southern Campaign under Gen. Nathanael Greene.
This is exactly the scenario that the series “TURN: Washington’s Spies” on AMC TV is having right now. It is an excellent series on this part of the Rev War battles (historical drama).
One of my Revolutionary War ancestors, Roswell Graves of East Haddam, Connecticut, serving in the Continental Line, was captured during the Battle of Long Island and held as a POW in a converted “sugar house” in New York City, where he starved to death. Two legends were passed down among his descendants: one, that when his fellow POWs found him dead, there was a piece of brick in his mouth; and two, that his widow went to the British commander of the prison to beg for his body; but he had already been buried in a mass grave.
I am also related to the Graves from East Haddam, several of whom fought – Stephen, Jonah, Amos are a few of the names I can think of. I will have to look more into what is written about their Revolutionary War service
My 4th Great Grand Father was at the Battle of Long Island,
Sgt.Roswell Graves.He was with the 17th Continental Reg.of Ct.He served in Capt.Jewetts Co.He was captured by the British,and died in the Old Sugarhouse Prison,which is the present day City Hall in Manhattan.His Capt.Jewett,died of his wounds in captivity.His Brother Benjamin,was wounded
in Conn.,made it to a friends house,and died of his wounds.
The Graves Family has a web site you can log onto.They will ask a few questions,then let you proceed after checking you out.They also have a book on line.You can sign up for bullitens,or join the Family Group.
You are the third person I know decended from Roswell Grave,out side of my family that is.
I used to live in N.J.,ran a few races in Brooklyn.Prospect Park in Brooklyn is the site of thew Battle of Long Island.Battle Hill and the Arch Monument is the site.
My Revolutionary Patriot, Silas Bingham, was with Washington’s force on Long Island. I have the account in his pension application. After the retreat, his time was up and he walked through the ice and snow, home to Vermont.
He was later with Washington at the crossing of the Delaware and the Battle of Trenton.
I have a letter written by a cousin telling about my 3rd Great Grandfather, Thomas Moore, who was killed during the Battle of Flatbush. Wish I could learn more. He was from Philadelphia, Pa.
My third great-grandfather, John Tucker, served with the Maryland Flying Camp which supplemented General Washington’s forces in the battle for New York. The flying camp did not participate in the Battle of Long Island, but it did fight in the Battle of Harlem Heights and The Battle of White Plains. My ancestor also participated in Washington’s retreat over the Hudson River into New Jersey and eventually to the camps in Pennsylvania. According to his pension record he crossed the Delaware with Washington in the Battle of Trenton.
I have two relatives that fought with General Washington were Lt General Jabez Huntington and Christopher Huntington.
My 5x great grandfather, Johnson Anderson of CT, was asked to serve and according to pension records I found on Fold3, his son, Asa, went in his place. Later I found records that Johnson was on Long Island and his wife, Esther Prichard Anderson, went by boat with small children under the safety of a white flag. Was Johnson a prisoner on Long Island. I figured Asa went in his place because His father had quite a record in the Indian Wars and I figured maybe he was too worn out to serve. Later I found a book that, after the war Johnson AND Asa had booked transportation to go to Niva Scotia! So I guess they were Torys! That didn’t happen. Asa moved to VT and Johnson back to Ct. Esther and the kids were never heard from again! Wish I knew the whole story. I love TURN on AMC.
My great great great grandfather, Gershom Gibbs and his son, Isaac Gibbs, under the command of Captain Beebe were captured defending Fort Washington. Gershom Gibbs died on board a British War ship in New York Harbor on 29th of December 1776. His son, Isaac, died 15 Jan 1777. My understanding was that they both starved to death on board the “Grosvenor”.
Gershom Gibbs’s son, my great great grandfather, Moore Gibbs, would serve for 6 years. NARA archives contain over 50 pages regarding the Revolutionary Service of Moore Gibbs, the tribute of a son to his father & brother.
Gershom’s brother, Caleb Gibbs, we were told was First Commander of General Washington’s Life Guards.
Gershom’s wife, my great great great grandmother, Tabitha Moore, had an interesting life story of her own. Tabitha lost her mother at the age of 11 and was placed in the care of 8 siblings after her older sister married. We believe that her father, Benjamin Moore, was lost in the Louisburg Battle of Cape Breton. Imagine the responsibility placed on the shoulders of this 14 year old girl.
We thank Fold 3 to provide a forum to remember our ancestors.
My third Great Grandfather Smith Mead of Greenwich, CT, participated in the retreat from Long Island. According to his pension application, in 1776 he was serving under Captain Abraham Mead, belonging to Colonel Gould Selleck Silliman’s regiment. One of the men vouching for him on his application stated, “When the english landed on Long Island we were both there, and retreated off of the Island under General Washington under the aforesaid enlistment. We belonged in General Wordsworth’s Brigade.” (Wadsworth)
My ancestor Abraham Yocum , a swede from Philadelphia was there. While he was gone his wife gave birth to the son. The Old Swede.s Church records says” just wome stood sponsor. The men being gone fighting the English.”
My ancestor, Isaac Lewis, son of Henry Lewis, fought there with the 5th PA Regiment. He was shot in the hip/leg (from which he suffered the rest of his life) and his father had to go bring him home.
My 6th Great Grandfather, Sgt Joseph Gilbert was with Connecticut’s 18th Regiment of Militia under Capt. Abel Braw. He marched to Long Island, arriving on Aug 19, 1776 and these troops were held in abeyance behind the battle lines. They were subsequently released and marched back to CT and discharged on Sept 25, 1776. Joseph Gilbert died of unknown (to me) causes on Oct. 7, 1776. He was 45 years old. His son, also named Joseph Gilbert, served as a fifer in the 7th Regiment of Militia, received a pension, and lived to be 93.
Supposedly we had ancestors that helped settle Long Island, as to whether they served in war or not, do not know. Last name might have been Paine, Payne or Pearl. We are not sure which.
My 5th Great Grandfather was Captain John Stover Arndt. He participated in the Battle of Long Island. From 02 Aug 1776 to 05 Aug 1776 he was in Washington’s Camp, NJ with his fellow soldiers, where they spent a few days training with Gen George Washington, before going to LI, NY to fight in the Revolutionary War. He was a captain & was shot in the elbow by a small cannonball losing the use of his elbow for the balance of his life.
After the war, he was a was a member of the Constitutional Congress and one a period of 11 years participated in the formulation of our US Constitution.
Being from PA, he also ran for the office, to be the 1st Governor of Pennsylvania as a Republican. He lost to the Democrat! There is a book written by and about him called the “ARNDTS of Pennsylvania”. It was a great read! Can be found and read on line for free as it is in the Cornell University online files.
Gerry Looks like we are related. My ancestor (DAR Patriot) Henry Bush Sr. father John Bush. Easton Pa. with Capt Arndts Company at Battle of Long Island. Henry was captured and held on British Prision ships Snow Mentor and Rochford. Was exchanged and reinlisted. Married Eve elizabeth Hoffman 1779 in Pa. Had son John C Bush Middle Smithfield Pa and I decend from he and wife Hannah Arndts daughter Catherine Bush Michael Shearbaugh, to son John Sherbaugh Monroe Co Pa
My ancestor was supposedly mustered and fought with the PA Flying Camp similar to Ardnt’s and Kichline’s from eastern PA . Never heard of himagain – so did he die/ was he taken prisoner/ did he desert (which many did) or might he actually been re-recruited by the British as claimed by Tom Verenna in his 2014 “Spartans of Long Island” at http://www.allthingsliberty.com article? He supposedly moved to Nova Scotia under the 2nd Battalion 84th Regimant of Foot of the Royal Highlands. He was granted 1,000 acres of land -but no records exist since that move? Was the family too embarrassed to tell the truth?
Another fascinating read is Richard Baker’s “Villainy and Maddness – Washington’s Flying Camp” 2011.
Family name JAYNE from England and then CT about 1670 with the group that purchased part of Long Island from the Setauket Indians. By 1740 many had moved into PA. Capt. Timothy Jayne (1741-1790) recruited among his relatives for Washington. Many served; many were captured by the Britishin in the Battle of Long Island and imprisoned on the “hulks”. Some were exchanged but some died there. Related families were NORTON, WOODHULL, BIGGS,TOPPING, ALLEN.
I descend from the Jayne, Woodhull, Toppings, Biggs, and Allen family lines. Elizabeth Woodhull is my 7X great grandmother on my paternal side. I recently found the Woodhulls descend from the dePercy line. The dePercy line is on my maternal line as well.
Well I guess I can join in here – my ggggg grandfather Joseph Brown fought in the Battle of Long Island – –
He was with the 17th Light Dragoons – He was a loyalist……
Jonathan Latimer, my great-great-great-great-great grandfather, was Lt. Col. in Col. Sam Selden’s Regiment of Connecticut Militia, under General Spenser during the Battle of Long Island. This unit had heard the Declaration of Independence read in the town of New York a few days before. They saw action in the neighborhood of Cobble Hill Fort (Atlantic Avenue and Court Street in Brooklyn), retreated to Manhattan, where they were posted around 23rd Street. When the British invaded the island, Col. Selden and his men collided with a group of Hessians who were on their way down to the town of New York on the Boston road, near the corner of 23rd Street and 3rd Ave. (Madison Square Park). Selden was captured (and soon died in prison) and Latimer became the de facto commander of the division, leading them on their retreat northward. During that retreat Latimer’s men fought at Harlem Heights and White Plains, before returning home to Connecticut. Latimer was promoted to Colonel and led his regiment with considerable success at the later Battle of Saratoga. After the war he and his family moved to the Tennessee wilderness. He had many distinguished descendants not only in Tennessee, but also in Illinois, Texas and throughout America.
My 4th Great Grandfather, John Campbell, (1750-1803) originally enlisted in the DE. Militia in Wilm., DE July 1775. Capt. Geo. Latimer’s Independent Regiment. When his 9 month enlistment was up he reenlisted in the Continental Army in Jan. 1776. He served as private in Col. Haslet’s DE Regiment, Capt. Samuel Smith’s Regiment for the next two years. Further information is in over 40 pages of Congressional Record when Johns Wife, Mary Jackson Campbell pursued his Revolutionary War pension which had originally been rejected apparently due to a misspelling of Capt. George Latimers name. In that record was the testimony of a friend of John’s during the war. Major and former Governor of Delaware, Caleb Prue Bennett testified…”affirms and saysthat he was aquainted with and well remembers the said John Campbell, in the year1776, enlisted as soldiers in the army of the then colonies, in the company of Capt. George Latimer, for a campaign or term of 9 mos. That they participated in the troubles and trials of that eventful period, and were both in the Revolutionary War…He distinctly recollects they were both in the Battle on Staten Island, in the Army uder thw command of Gen’l. Mercer,at the time the American Army attacked the Hessions at a plce called Cucklestown.”
In July 1794 John moved his family to Phila. where he dies in Aug. 1803.Mary Campbell, didn’t have his pesion granted until Jul. 1846, shortly before her death. I’m a member of the SAR and had John Campbell added as a Supplemetal Member.
Michael Powers – my name is Claire Bellerjeau and I am the Staff Historian at Raynham Hall Museum, home of Robert Townsend, who was a key spy in the Culper Spy Ring. His family home (now the museum) was in Oyster Bay, NY and during the time he was a spy he lived and worked in New York City.
I would be more than happy to talk to you about Robert Townsend and his part in the Culper Spy Ring.
I have read several books regarding the Culper Spy Ring and all mention Robert Townsend and the roll he played therein. Most books, however, lack much regarding Robert Townsend’s personal life. Some authors state he was married, others not. Some state that he had a son, others not. Do you have information regarding his genealogy, both ancestors and descendants, if any? I would appreciate any information of this kind regarding Robert Townsend. Thank you in advance.
Claire, you should write a book. 😉
My Ancestor Henry Bush, Sr. was with Capt John Arndts Flying Camp at the Battle of Long Island. He was first string sharpshooter and was captured and held on British Prison ships, Snow Mentor and Rochford in Wallabout Bay for 5 months then exchanged and returned to Pa and reinlisted. His father John Bush ws also with the same company but excaped with the remenents of the company to Ft Washington and was captured when the Fort fell to british and died of his wounds 1779. Henrys son John c Bush married Hannah Arndt(relation to Capt John Arndt) in 1812. Had my ggreat grandmother Catherine Bush an her son John Sherbaugh was my great grandfather from Monroe Co Pa.
Wallabout Bay,wasn;t that where the Brooklyn Navy yard was?Some of my other ancestors,the Rapaljea’s lived there.Jacob Rapaljea worked in a bank,along came the War of 1812,he wa appointed a 1st Lt.served in the defense of New York City.Moved to Charleston,SC to buy and sell cotton,shipped to New York,and England.Was appointed Deputy Secretary of State for the State of SC in 1816.Came back to Newtown(Brooklyn),and lived out his life…
My ancestor named Abraham Tourtillotte from Rhode Island was in the Battle of Long Island. Without thinking he saw a slow moving minnie ball rolling on the ground and stuck out his foot to stop it. Naturally it exploded and he was lamed for life. After the war ended he became a cobbler and made shoes for his crippled foot as well as others. He moved his family to Maine where there were few cobblers and had a long life with many children and descendants. I have often thought of him and how he do things without really thinking of the consequences of our actions until it is too lane.
My great, great, great, great Grandfather, John McElnay (also spelled McNay) was born on July 11, 1752, in York, Pennsylvania, his father, John, was 39 and his mother, Mary, was 22. He served in the American Revolution in Captain Philip Albright’s Company (Lt William McPherson’s unit) of the First Regiment of Riflemen, commanded by Colonel Samuel Miles. While under Lt McPherson’s command in August 1776, Private John McElnay marched to New York and took ferries to Long Island for battle in which they were defeated. Troops scattered to the swamp and he climbed a bushy tree Tuesday through Thursday and then tried to escape and got caught. While prisoner, they took his money and rifle and put him on a man-of-war in leg irons. Treated badly for 14 weeks and he was then transferred to a French Church and saw Lt McPherson, also a prisoner. John McElnay was released in Feb 1777 and returned home in Liberty, York County (now Adams County), in Pennsylvania. He married Hannah Brown on May 20, 1778, in his hometown. They had ten children in 17 years. He died on November 21, 1841, in Adams, Pennsylvania, having lived a long life of 89 years, and was buried in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Hello! My 4th great grandfather, John Hawkins, served as a private in Capt. Selah B. Strong’s 7th (Broohaven) Company of Col. Josiah Smith’s First Regiment of Suffolk County Minute Men (Robert’s N.Y. in the Rev., p. 150) taking part in the Battle of Long Island, 1776. He signed the Suffolk County Association in Brookhaven 8 Jun 1775.
John Hawkins was born 14 May 1750 at Nassakeag, L.I. N.Y. He died in 1800 at New Village (now, Centereach), L.I.N.Y.
John’s father, Samuel Hawkins also signed the Association during the Revolution.
I have an ancestor that was there….Ely Edwards. He’s buried near Maquoketa, Iowa.
My maternal family settled in Flatlands in the 1650’s. My 7th and 8th grandfathers fought in the Revolutionary War. Family names Jan Martense Schenck and Roelof Schenck and Wychoff. William Shenck served in NY State Militia as did Nicholas Schenck.
The only ancestor that I know of that fought in the War for Independence was named Lambert Lane. he may have been further south in that war, possibly around Maryland. The lane family included several men so some may have been in New York.
I don’t think Lambert would have been in Long Island
If you are a woman with an ancester who performed a patriotic service during the American Revolutionary War and would like to join the organization, “National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution”, I can assist you as long as your ancestor wasn’t red-lined (signed oath to the king). My contact info: [email protected]
In subject line: Type, “Would like to join NSDAR”
My 4x Great Grandfather William Adams from Great Barrington, Berkshire, MA was a private under Capt William King, and Colonels Fellows and Ward for 8 months until he was severely wounded at the Battle of Long Island and could not return to service.
My ancestor, Jacob Bittenbender served with Washington’s army at Long Island, he was listed as killed, but he showed back up later that yr. and again at Valley Forge. He was with the PA militia. I have 2 other ancestors that served as well. I am a member of the DAR and enjoy researching others that wish to find their connection to an ancestor that served.
I found this in an old book about my 5th great-grandfather:
Nicholas Diehl was an early and active participant in the War of the Revolution. At the meeting of a number of the inhabitants of Chester county, held at the Courthouse in Chester, December 20, 1774, he was chosen a member of the Committee of Observation for that county, “to carry into execution the resolves of the late Continental Congress,” and to take into consideration measures for the defense of their liberties, etc. This Committee of Observation had charge, later on, of the military affairs of the county. Nicholas Diehl was also a member of the sub-committee to drive off cattle to prevent them from falling into the hands of the enemy, in 1777, in case the seat of war approached the vicinity.
When the Associators of Chester county were organized, 1775, he joined the company formed in Ridley township, and in 1776 was captain of Third Company, in Col. Hugh Lloyd’s Third Battalion of Chester County Militia, with which he participated in the New Jersey and Long Island campaigns, and took part in the (to the Americans) disastrous battle of Long Island, August 27, 1776, having thirty-eight men under his command. When the militia was organized into battalions, without reference to township limits, 1777, he was commissioned captain of the Fifth Company, Third Battalion, Chester County Militia, commanded by Col. Caleb Davis. His commission, which as well as his sword, is now in possession of his great-great-grandson, Joseph Lybrand Stichter, of Reading, Pennsylvania.
I am interested in obtaining more details of his service.
My ancestor, Jacob Thomas, was at Long Island as a member of the New Jersey Volunteers, a militia supporting the British in the war. He was among many who came to Canada following the Revolutionary War as a UEL and settled in Southern Ontario. I also have ancestors who fought for American Independence in Massachusetts, and try to balance my research as well as possible between those who left the newly forming United States and those who stayed. In this instance, I would very much appreciate any help that could be given to my research concerning the New Jersey Volunteers on Long Island.
I posted earlier today,Aug.16,2017,I neglected to say I’m posting from South Carolina.
I’m fairly active in a SAR Chapter down here,and served two years as Chapter President.
I am Fred Oakes
My Ancestor, Jeremiah Wood was appointed a Corporal in a company under Captain Joseph Badcock and Regiment commanded by Colonel Philips and General Heard. They marched to Washington and joined General Washington. His testimonial for his pension gives detail of the battle of Long Island, as well as another one at Summerset on Millstone River. Fascinating!
If you would like to become a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, I can assist you.
Registrar of the Jerusalem Chapter (NSDAR)
Please unsubscribe me to all associated sites. I Could find no information relovement to my father and his military involvement. Thanks much
Please unsubscribe me from all associated sites pertaining to Fold3. Could find no information regarding my fathers military involvement. Thank you. Please notify me that this has been cancelled
I found some of my family on fold3,could not find myself…Found some Revolutionary War Soldiers…