In Brooklyn, New York, for a few tense hours in 1776, the fate of the entire United States hung by a thread. The Battle of Brooklyn (sometimes called “The Battle of Long Island”) has since come to be recognized as one of history’s great battles.
It was the largest clash of the Revolution, in terms of both troops and casualties, and it brought the fledgling American republic to the brink of disaster. At the height of the fighting, only the valiant sacrifice of one regiment–the Marylanders–staved off catastrophe. The British army, meanwhile, executed a three-pronged surprise assault with admirable professionalism, turning the wilds of Brooklyn into a killing ground for the British and Hessian troops.
One can sympathize with the plight of George Washington, who, charged with the task of defeating the finest army of the Old World, had to mold citizen-soldiers from throughout the thirteen colonies–“patriots”–into a viable military force. At Brooklyn, the young American army did not quite meet its commander’s expectations. Still, it remained in the field. And the evacuation conducted after the battle was a masterpiece of efficiency, ensuring that the New World’s armed forces would fight another day.
Thought the Battle of Brooklyn would prove a victory for the British Empire, it demonstrated to all the American resolve and courage that would eventually result in independence for the United States.
“In his shot-by-shot account of the largest and bloodiest battle of the American Revolution, Gallagher recreates the fierce encounter of 27 August 1776 in which twenty thousand British, Hessian and Loyalist troops defeated ten thousand patriot soldiers. . . . the book offers many perceptive observations and the author succinctly summarizes the lessons derived . . . this book is recommended reading for those who cherish the heritage of the gallant ‘rabble in arms’ that risked all for American independence.”-Long Island Historical Journal
“Long neglected . . . the Battle of Brooklyn is given comprehensive coverage . . . using a lively writing style Gallagher makes it easy to visualize the actual skirmishes by providing interesting details.” –Flintlock and Powderhorn