British troops head up East River - HISTORY
Year
1776

British troops head up East River

On this day in 1776, British Generals Henry Clinton and William Howe lead a force of 4,000 troops aboard some 90 flat-boats up New York’s East River toward Throg’s Neck, a peninsula in Westchester County, in an effort to encircle General George Washington and the Patriot force stationed at Harlem Heights.

After hearing of the British landing at Throg’s Neck, Washington ordered a contingent of troops from the Pennsylvania regiment to destroy the bridge leading from the peninsula to the Westchester mainland. The destruction of the bridge stranded Clinton and his men at Throg’s Neck for six days before they were loaded back onto their vessels and continued up the East River toward Pell Point.

With the British stranded at Throg’s Neck, General Washington decided to withdraw all but 2,000 of his troops north to White Plains, before the British could use Redcoats stationed on Long Island and in Westchester County to surround them on Manhattan Island. After stopping at Pell Point, the British continued north up the East River, engaging in daily skirmishes with Washington’s Continental Army, until the two armies—both 13,000 strong—confronted each other at the inconclusive Battle of White Plains, beginning on October 28, 1776. On October 31, after a bad storm, Washington chose to withdraw to New Jersey before Howe could orchestrate another attack with newly arrived reinforcements.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

USS Cole attacked by terrorists

At 12:15 p.m. local time, a motorized rubber dinghy loaded with explosives blows a 40-by-40-foot hole in the port side of the USS Cole, a U.S. Navy destroyer that was refueling at Aden, Yemen. Seventeen sailors were killed and 38 wounded in the attack, which was carried out by ...read more

The origin of Oktoberfest

Bavarian Crown Prince Louis, later King Louis I of Bavaria, marries Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The Bavarian royalty invited the citizens of Munich to attend the festivities, held on the fields in front of the city gates. These famous public fields were named ...read more

USSR leads the space race

The Soviet Union launches Voskhod 1 into orbit around Earth, with cosmonauts Vladamir Komarov, Konstantin Feoktistov, and Boris Yegorov aboard. Voskhod 1 was the first spacecraft to carry a multi-person crew, and the two-day mission was also the first flight performed without ...read more

Terrorists kill 202 in Bali

On this day in 2002, three bombings shatter the peace in the town of Kuta on the Indonesian island of Bali. The blasts, the work of militant Islamist terrorists, left 202 people dead and more than 200 others injured, many with severe burns. The attacks shocked residents and those ...read more

Columbus reaches the New World

After sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus sights a Bahamian island, believing he has reached East Asia. His expedition went ashore the same day and claimed the land for Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain, who sponsored his attempt to find a ...read more

Gen. Joseph Stilwell dies

On this day in 1946, Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell, the man who commanded the U.S. and Chinese Nationalist resistance to Japanese incursions into China and Burma, dies today at age 63.Born March 19, 1883, in Palatka, Florida, and a graduate of the West Point Military Academy, Stilwell ...read more

Thomas Jefferson composes romantic letter

On this day in 1786, a lovesick Thomas Jefferson composes a romantic and introspective letter to a woman named Maria Cosway.Early in 1786, widower Thomas Jefferson met Maria Cosway in Paris while he was serving as the U.S. minister to France. Cosway was born to English parents in ...read more

John Denver dies in an aircraft accident

To those who bought records like “Rocky Mountain High” and “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by the millions in the 1970s, John Denver was much more than just a great songwriter and performer. With his oversized glasses, bowl haircut and down vest, he was an unlikely fashion icon, ...read more

Fire rages in Minnesota

A massive forest fire rages through Minnesota on this day in 1918, killing hundreds of people and leaving thousands homeless. The fire burned at least 1,500 square miles.The fire, known as the Cloquet-Moose Lake fire because that is where the damage was worst, began at rail lines ...read more