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From the Battle of Brooklyn to the Battle of White Plains, August 1776 - October 1776

On July 2, 1776, the first British warships arrived in New York harbor and General Howe landed, unopposed, on Staten Island. By the end of August 1776, a force of 24,000 British regulars supported by 30 warships, nearly 400 transport ships, and 10,000 sailors was massed on and around Staten Island. George Washington mobilized every available soldier to prepare for the defense of the city. When the Battle of Brooklyn began with the landing of British troops on August 22, 1776, it was the start of the largest military engagement of the entire Revolution. On August 29, Washington evaculated the bulk of his army across the East River from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Thus began the long, slow retreat of the Continental Army - from Brooklyn to Manhattan; from Manhattan to White Plains; from White Plains across the Hudson River and south into New Jersey.

The close of 1776 saw New York City firmly in British hands while Washington struggled to keep his army clothed and fed in winter quarters. For the rest of the war Washington was obsessed with driving the British from New York while the British were equally concerned with defending it. As Barnet Schecter has written, New York was "the city at the heart of the American Revolution."(The Battle For New York)

After driving George Washington and his army from Long Island in the Battle of Brooklyn Heights on August 29, 1776, the British army landed on Manhattan two weeks later. By sunset on September 15, 1776, the city of New York was in British hands. Fire broke out during the night of September 21, and nearly one-third of the city was destroyed.

Great Britain. Army. Proclamation... New-York: Sept. 23, 1776. Printed at the Bible and Crown, [1776]. 1 sheet.