Long Island, battle of

Long Island, battle of,

Aug. 27, 1776, American defeat in the American Revolution. To protect New York City and the lower Hudson valley from the British forces massed on Staten Island, George Washington sent part of his small army to defend Brooklyn Heights, on Long Island. After several unsuccessful peace overtures, Sir William HoweHowe, William Howe, 5th Viscount,
1729–1814, English general in the American Revolution; younger brother of Admiral Richard Howe.
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 landed at Gravesend while the British fleet under his brother, Richard HoweHowe, Richard Howe, Earl,
1726–99, British admiral; elder brother of Viscount Howe. He won early recognition in the Seven Years War for his operations in the English Channel.
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, shelled New York. After Sir William's troops defeated an American force under John Sullivan and William AlexanderAlexander, William,
known as Lord Stirling
, 1726–83, American Revolutionary general, b. New York City. Although the House of Lords rejected his claim to succeed as the 6th earl of Stirling, in America he was generally considered a nobleman.
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 (Lord Stirling), Israel Putnam, the corps commander, prepared for the main attack. Sir William, not wanting another Bunker Hill, decided to lay siege instead of storming Brooklyn Heights. Washington saw the position was hopeless and evacuated (night of Aug. 29–30) his army back to Manhattan. Shortly afterward, the Americans began the retreat northward in which delaying actions were fought at Harlem Heights, White Plains, and Fort Washington. Washington managed to extricate most of his troops, and he regrouped them before striking at Trenton.
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