Expanding On History – New York During The Revolution

September 1776: British-Hessian troops under the command of General Howe parading through New York as they took over the city during the American War of Independence. The city was occupied for seven years. Original Artwork: Engraved by Habermann (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)

Within The World Turns Upside Down, there are many roles based on folks we all learned about in our history classes, but what about the regions that formed those characters.  The states involved in the revolution were as varied as the populations that lived there and for the next 6 posts or so we will talk about what the states were like during the revolution and how that helped shape their historical agendas.  In our final post we will discuss the same info as it applies to England and some of her colonies.


Waterways of New YorkThis post we will begin with a state near and dear to Ironmark’s heart, the Empire State, our home state of New York.  New York had a population of around 200,000 not including some territorial claims that would become their own states following the revolution (Vermont).  One third of the war’s battles were fought in New York and the Hudson river was so important to the movements of troops and goods that George Washington said that whoever controlled the river and New York City controlled the “safety of America”.

When Washington moved troops to Manhattan island in 1776 the city was a wealthy, bustling center of trade and shipbuilding. Five battles were fought in late 1776 for control of the city.  The British took control of the city on November 16, 1776.  This success resulted in the city being occupied for the remainder of the conflict.  Patriots fleeing the city and a large influx of Loyalist refugees from other states flipped the city to British loyalties for the rest of the war.  The use of the city as the center of British politics and military organization also resulted in the area being central to the Colonial spy network’s efforts.


Map of New York during the Revolutionary War

In the northern, less populated areas of the state, the British fortunes were decidedly different.  Battles fought at Fort Ticonderoga and Saratoga resulted in wins for the Colonies.  After 1778, military activity moved away from the state with a shift to more southern battlefields.

New York was pivotal to both the military and political strategy of the British in the Colonies.  The state and most importantly New York City provided the British with a Loyalist base of operations to pursue the entire war to preserve their Colonies.  Will you take the same route, challenging other states to respect the wishes of the mother country?  Would you rather purse the revolutionary course, constantly chafing at the loyalists in your ranks?

You can make those decisions and more by joining us on December 3rd for The World Turns Upside Down – Tickets are on sale now! Do not throw away your shot…

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