Battle of Stony Point


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Battle of Stony Point

"Mad Anthony" Wayne at the Battle of Stony Point

Stony Point, CAPTURE OF. The unfinished fort at Stony Point at the King's Ferry, on the Hudson, was seized by the British on May 30, 1779. The fort stood upon a rocky promontory, connected with the mainland by a tide-submerged cause-way across a narrow marsh—an island at high-water. It was garrisoned by a regiment of foot, some grenadiers, and artillery, the whole commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Johnson. General "Mad Anthony" Wayne undertook to take the fort by storm; and at the same time a force under General Robert Howe was to attack the fort at Verplanck's Point. Several small British vessels of war were anchored in the river, within cannon-range of the forts. The latter had been enlarged and strengthened. Upon a complete surprise of the garrison depended the success of the undertaking. With the Massachusetts light infantry, Wayne marched through defiles in the mountains, and rendezvoused, at 8 P.M., a mile and a half from the fort. Silently they had gained the spot, killing every dog on the way. At midnight they moved on the fort. A portion of the troops crossed the causeway, and formed in two columns, the van of the right, consisting of 150 volunteers, led by Lieutenant-Colonel De Fleury; that of the left, 100 strong, also volunteers, commanded by Major Stewart. These composed the forlorn hope. They moved to the attack at two different points simultaneously, with unloaded muskets and fixed bayonets, followed by the two main divisions, the left led by General Wayne in person.

Stony Point FortThe Americans were undiscovered until within pistol-shot distance of the pickets on the height. The pickets fired several shots. The advanced guard pressed forward with the bayonet. The garrison were aroused by the roll of the drum and the cry "To arms! to arms !" Very soon musketry rattled and cannon roared in defence of the fort, but the Americans forced their way through every obstacle, until the van of each column met in the centre of the work. Wayne had been hit on the head and stunned by a musketball, but speedily recovered. The garrison soon surrendered, and not a life was taken after the flag was hauled down. Wayne wrote to George Washington: "Stony Point, 16th July, 1779, 2 A.M. Dear General, —The fort and garrison, with Colonel Johnson, are ours. Our officers and men behaved like men determined to be free." At dawn the next day the guns of the fort were turned upon the works at Verplanck's Point, on the opposite side of the river, but Howe did not make the attack in time to dislodge the garrison. Lacking a force to man the fort properly, the ordnance and stores were conveyed to \Vest Point, the works were destroyed, and the place evacuated on the night of July 18. The British repossessed themselves Stony Point on the 20th. Congress gave the thanks of the nation to the brave actors in his event, and voted a gold medal to Wayne and, silver medal to Stewart and De Fleury. The capture of Stony Point was regarded as one of the most brilliant as well as the most important achievements of the war.

Fort Stony Point Battle Map

Original Map of the Battle of Stony Point



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