Revolution, 1753-1783

Author: A British Field-Officer  | Date: 1776

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The Battle of Long Island

WE HAVE had a glorious day against the rebels. We landed on this island the 22d, and that day marched toward Brookland Ferry, opposite New York, where this island is separated from the town by the East River, which is about three quarters of a mile over.

We took post within musket shot of their un-finished works. The troops were all on fire to force their lines, but Gen. Howe, in whose conduct the utmost prudence and vigilance have been united, would not permit it.

It was not till eight o’clock at night on the 26th that we received our orders to attack, and at eleven the whole army was in motion. The reserve, commanded by Lord Cornwallis, the first brigade of which our regiment makes a part, and the light infantry of the army, the whole under the command of General Clinton, marched by the right. The road to the right, after a march of about seven miles, brought us to an easy and undefended ascent of the hills, which we possessed at daybreak, and continued our rout, gained the rear of the rebels: and while the Hessians and the rest of the army amused them in front and on the left, the grenadiers and light infantry attacked them in the rear: by this masterly maneuver the rebels were immediately thrown into general confusion, and behaved most shamefully. The numbers killed, wounded, and taken you will see in the Gazette. Some of the Hessians told me they had buried between 400 and 500 in one pit.

Such has been their panic that, on the 30th at night, they evacuated their redoubts and entrenchments, which they had retired to, on Brookland Heights, leaving us in possession of this island, which entirely commands New York. Had the works at Brookland been properly defended our motions must have been retarded at least three weeks. For my part I think matters will soon be brought to an issue.

P.S. I have just heard there has been a most dreadful fray in the town of New York. The New Englanders insisted upon setting the town on fire, and retreating. This was opposed by the New Yorkers, who were joined by the Pennsylvanians, and a battle has been the consequence in which many have lost their lives.

By the steps the General is taking, I imagine he will effectually cut off their retreat at King’s Bridge, by which the island of New York is joined to the continent.


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Chicago: A British Field-Officer, "The Battle of Long Island," Revolution, 1753-1783 in America, Vol.3, Pp.186-188 Original Sources, accessed March 29, 2023,

MLA: A British Field-Officer. "The Battle of Long Island." Revolution, 1753-1783, in America, Vol.3, Pp.186-188, Original Sources. 29 Mar. 2023.

Harvard: A British Field-Officer, 'The Battle of Long Island' in Revolution, 1753-1783. cited in , America, Vol.3, Pp.186-188. Original Sources, retrieved 29 March 2023, from