Colonel Paul Dudley Sargent with the 16th Continental Regiment and Colonel Israel Hutchinson with his 27th Continental Regiment, both from Massachusetts, as well as several British ships, arrive at Horn’s Hook, New York, on this day in 1776.
Horn’s Hook was first intended to house nine guns as a Patriot battery to defend Manhattan in February 1776. The battery, or fort, stood near the modern-day intersection of 89th Street and East End Avenue, opposite Ward’s Island and Hell’s Gate. After gathering at Horn’s Hook, the Massachusetts regiments went on to Long Island, where they suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of brothers Admiral Richard and General William Howe. The campaign culminated in their retreat from Brooklyn Heights on Long Island back to Horn’s Hook in Manhattan on August 27, one month after their initial arrival.
The Massachusetts regiments exchanged continual fire with a British fort a short distance across the water from Horn’s Hook in Queens for the 10 days between the Patriots’ retreat from Brooklyn Heights and the complete British takeover of Manhattan Island.
After the British took Manhattan and fire ravaged the city in September 1776, the Redcoats restored Horn’s Hook, adding batteries, palisades (iron stakes) and a palisade-protected blockhouse. Following the war, Archibald Gracie leveled the fort and, in 1794, built a Federal-style mansion on the site. Gracie’s country house, with its view of the East River five miles north of New York City, has since been absorbed into the Manhattan metropolis and has served as the official residence of the city’s mayors since Fiorello H. LaGuardia made it his home in 1942.