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Battle of Long Island

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  • #16
    Originally posted by slick_miester View Post
    . .
    Riflemen, or foot soldiers armed with smooth-bore muskets?

    "Samuel Miles (1739–1805) was appointed by the Pennsylvania general assembly on 13 Mar. 1776 to be colonel of the rifle regiment raised for the service of the province. Miles’s state regiment consisted of two battalions of riflemen, each commanded by a lieutenant colonel, and because the assembly on 14 Mar. named Miles “First Colonel of the Pennsylvania Forces,” his command broadly defined also included the state battalion of musketmen commanded by the second colonel, Samuel John Atlee.." (

    Originally posted by slick_miester View Post
    That, IMHO, was poor generalship: they discounted the probability that their position could be outflanked.
    You betcha

    Originally posted by slick_miester View Post
    New Lots is roughly where "Cornwallis" appears above. That the British would have approached Jamaica Pass (today known as Broadway Junction) via "the Jamaica road" (I'm assuming that you mean the old King's Highway, today known as Fulton Street and Jamaica Avenue) strikes me as odd, as it runs parallel to the northern edge of the ridge -- which was in Continental hands. No, Clinton approached from the southwest, up today's Kings Highway.
    I didn't say the British approached via Jamaica Road. That is where, according to Barnet Schechter at any rate, Miles' men were expected to block them. I think Shechter uses 'Jamaica Road' to describe the stretch of road that continued from the junction of the road from Flatbush Road, heading on up through Jamaica Pass- which seems reasonable enough. That is where the American pickets were expecting to meet the British who, as I said, surprised them by coming in from their right.

    The British force approached from the southwest to be sure but, as Clinton described, the advance guard left the narrow lane they were following to cut cross the farmland from which New Lots took its name. Howe was following behind, widening the route to let the main force through.

    Originally posted by slick_miester View Post
    Had the Americans maintained their position within the pass
    There were no Americans in the pass. That was the problem.

    (At Agincourt the French, as well as being complacent and disorganised, didn't have light infantry armed with firearms who could filter through the woods. At Thermopylae, we are told the Greeks were outflanked pretty much in the same way that the Americans were on Long Island, the enemy helped by guides with local knowledge, except in 1776, the guides were with the attacking force from the start. And there were no defenders holding the pass)


    • #17
      Originally posted by American87 View Post
      Washington's goal was to inflict maximum casualties before withdrawing to the defenses at Brooklyn. Beyond this, I don't know. Maybe he wanted to demoralize the British troops, maybe he wanted the commanders to reasses their strength. Apparently he reasoned the defense of the heights would undermine the British attack.

      He also made his own luck. Howe gave him the time to escape, and he made the most of it.

      I have to go back to slick_miester's comment about the Navy. Without a navy, Washington couldn't prevent a British fleet from interposing between New York Island and Long Island. And what made it worse, was that Washington needed to occupy Long Island in order to defend the city of New York.
      Washington got lucky at Long Island because a northeast wind kept the British fleet from interposing between him and New York. Had the fleet gotten into position...
      And then there was the fog, as well.