New York and New Jersey campaign
Part of the American Revolutionary War
Map of the Campaign
Date July 1776January 1777
Location New York and New Jersey
Result British gain control of New York City; US lose and then regain control of New Jersey
Grand Union Flag United States Union flag 1606 (Kings Colors) Great Britain
Grand Union Flag George Washington
Grand Union Flag Charles Lee
Union flag 1606 (Kings Colors) Sir William Howe
Union flag 1606 (Kings Colors) Lord Cornwallis
19,000 regulars and militia 25,000 soldiers,
10,000 seamen
Casualties and losses
850~ KIA
2,000~ Wounded
4,500~ Captured
Total: 7,350~ Killed Wounded or Captured
700~ KIA
1,400~ Wounded
1,200~ Captured
Total: 3,300~ Killed Wounded or Captured

The New York and New Jersey campaign was a series of battles in the American Revolutionary War between British forces under General Sir William Howe and an American army under General George Washington. Beginning with the landing on Staten Island on July 3, 1776, British forces gained control of New York City and drove the Americans across New Jersey and into Pennsylvania. Late in 1776, Washington launched a surprise counterstrike, an important morale boost for the Americans after an otherwise disastrous campaigning season.

Capture Of New YorkEdit

Having withdrawn from Boston after an unsuccessful campaign, the British now focused on capturing New York City. General Sir William Howe, with the services of his brother, Admiral Lord Howe, began amassing troops on Staten Island in July 1776. General Washington, with a smaller army of about 19,000 men, was uncertain where the Howes intended to strike. He unwittingly violated a cardinal rule of warfare and divided his troops about equally in the face of a stronger opponent. The Continental Army was split between Long Island and Manhattan, thus allowing the stronger British forces to engage only one half of the smaller Continental Army at a time.

In late August, the British transported about 22,000 men (including 9,000 Hessians) to Long Island. In the Battle of Long Island on August 27, 1776, the British outflanked the American positions, driving the Americans back to the Brooklyn Heights fortifications. General Howe then began to lay siege to the works, but Washington skillfully managed a nighttime retreat through his unguarded rear across the East River to Manhattan Island.

Having taken Long Island, the British moved to seize Manhattan. On September 15, General Howe landed about 12,000 men on lower Manhattan, quickly taking control of New York City. The Americans withdrew to Harlem Heights, where they skirmished the next day, but held their ground.

When Howe moved to encircle Washington's army in October, the Americans again fell back, and a battle at White Plains was fought on October 28, 1776. Once more Washington retreated, but Howe, instead of aggressively pursuing the withdrawal, returned to Manhattan and captured Fort Washington in mid November, taking almost 3,000 prisoners. Four days later, Fort Lee, across the Hudson River from Fort Washington, was also taken.

The British gained control of New York harbor and the surrounding agricultural areas, and held New York City and Long Island until the war ended in 1783. The Americans had suffered significant casualties and lost important supplies, but Washington managed to withdraw the core of his army and avoided the decisive confrontation that could have ended the war.

Retreat across New JerseyEdit

General Lord Cornwallis continued to chase Washington's army through New Jersey until the Americans withdrew across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania in early December. With the campaign at an apparent conclusion for the season, the British entered winter quarters. They controlled much of New York and New Jersey and were in a good position to resume operations in the spring, with the rebel capital of Philadelphia in striking distance.

The outlook of the Continental Army — and thus the revolution itself — was bleak. "These are the times that try men's souls," wrote Thomas Paine, who was with the army on the retreat. The army had dwindled to fewer than 5,000 men fit for duty and would be reduced to 1,400 after enlistments expired at the end of the year. Spirits were low, popular support was wavering, and Congress had abandoned Philadelphia in despair.

File:Washington Crossing the Delaware.png

Washington's counterstrikeEdit

Washington reacted by taking the offensive, stealthily crossing the Delaware on Christmas night and capturing nearly 1,000 Hessians at the Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776. Cornwallis marched to retake Trenton but was outmaneuvered by Washington, who successfully attacked the British rearguard at Princeton on January 3, 1777. Washington then entered winter quarters at Morristown, New Jersey, having retaken most of the colony from the British.

See alsoEdit

Further reading Edit

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