Here is a bit of forgotten American history that I share for no other reason than my personal interest in the Revolutionary War. To some, this may not seem like a theological post, but if you believe in the doctrine of the sovereignty of God, you will appreciate it. Psalms 103:19 says, “The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.” In this world, nothing is left to chance. The sovereign rule of God extends to all things, and that includes nations in world history.
So here it is. Did you know that the first and largest battle of the Revolutionary War was fought right here in Brooklyn, New York? Although the battle itself was a defeat, it marks a critical turning point in the War. It is April 1776, and the American General, George Washington arrives in Brooklyn, New York. Alongside the New York Harbor, at Red Hook, Washington quickly recognizes the strategic value of a little holdout at Red Hook Point. He describes it as a small but “exceedingly strong defensive position” and orders his soldiers to build a fort.
The events of August 27th, 1776 prove his instincts right. In a bid to entrap and defeat Washington, the British Admiral Howe sails seven ships around Red Hook, and up the East River. Howe sends the Man-O-War Roebuck, the head ship of the British fleet, to lead the way. It is an overwhelming sight and a strong statement to the opposition. The ship is so close to the Fort that the Patriot soldiers can see and hear the British sailors. The soldiers, outnumbered and ill-equipped, are now surrounded on three sides. As they bravely hold the line against the advancing British fleet, they sustain enormous damage and casualties. It is evident they are no match. But an unseasonable wind kicks in. Recognizing the window of opportunity, and not knowing how long it will last, the Patriots unleash a barrage of fire so intense that Admiral Howe calls the pursuit off. The fleet turns back abruptly. Because of this retreat, Washington and his troops can escape (just barely!) under the cover of night. Had the winds of Providence blown a different way, had the Americans not waged such a relentless defense, Washington would have been forced to surrender or be destroyed. Instead, he and his army withdrew to Manhattan, regrouped, and went on to win the war.
So there you have it. Fort Defiance. Now you have a reason to visit Red Hook! 🙂
 Henry Whittemore, The Heroes of the American Revolution and their Descendants (New York: The Heroes of the Revolution Publishing Company, 1833) Digitized Version.
Other Sources Consulted: