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Report on the Defence of the City of New-York, Accompanied With Maps, Views, and Topographical Plans, Addressed to the Committee of the Common Council., p. .
Report on the Defence of the City of New-York, Accompanied With Maps, Views, and Topographical Plans. Addressed to the Committee of the Common Council, 1814.
Swift, J. G. (Joseph Gardner), 1783-1865
New-York Historical Society
New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024, 212-873-3400
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Report. For the inspection of the Committee of Defence, the accompanying views and plans of such Fortifications as have been constructed for the protection of the CITY of NEW-YORK, are submitted. As explanatory, a few introductory remarks exhibiting the exposed situations, and possible points of assault, cannot be deemed superfluous. The City of New York may be approached, by Sandy Hook, by the Sound, or by crossing Long Island. By Sandy Hook, by taking possession of that post; or passing its batteries with a leading breeze, carry the works on Staten Island, and open a passage for shipping into the upper harbor; or by debarking troops at Gravesend bay and march upon Brooklyn. By the Sound the enemy's forces may be landed on York Island in the vicinity of Haerlem River, and from thence force their way by the Haerlem, Kingsbridge, and Bloomingdale roads to the City; or by effecting a debarkation on Long Island at Flushing bay, they may either threaten the works at Hellgate, and obtain an entrance for shipping into the harbor through that pass, or leaving that position on the right, move by the Newtown and Jamaica road to Brooklyn. In order to cross Long Island a landing may be effected at Jamaica bay, and thence the route is easy to Brooklyn. To guard against these contingences and be prepared at all points against an assault, additional strength has been given to some of the old permanent fortifications; the commanding positions at Hellgate occupied with batteries covered by towers; While the voluntary aid of the Patriotic Citizens has been applied to the construction of enclosed works and connecting lines of intrenchments, at Brooklyn and Harlem Heights. Within and near these works have been constructed the necessary magazines, barracks &c. For the form, situation, and strength of these works, the Committee of Defence are respectfully referred to the accompanying plans, commencing with a skeleton map, exhibiting at one view all the defences of the City of New York, from Haerlem Heights to Sandy Hook; the Scale too limited in dimension to admit of accuracy as to figure. At Princes Bay, Staten Island, the only secure anchorage for shipping, and safe landing for troops on the South side of the Island, a stone tower is now constructing, which, it is contemplated to inclose with a redoubt mounting ordnance of a large caliber. In advance of Brooklyn, Works have been erected which completely insulate it. Fort Green [sic], (on an eminence overlooking the neighbourhood and mounting twenty three pieces of ordnance, principally of heavy calibers,) and Redoubts, Cummings, Masonic, and Fireman, are united by lines of intrenchments resting their right on Gowanus Creek, which runs through a low swampy morass, and having the Wallabout Bay on their left. In each of redoubts, as well as at the salient angles of the intrenchments, are planted twelve pounders; the intervals between which do not exceed the half grape shot distance of guns of that capacity. On a small eminence on the east side of Gowanus creek, is a battery open in the rear calculated for three heavy pieces to defend the mill-dam and bridge, and flanking the right of the lines. To assist, and for the support of this work on the right, stands Fort Lawrence, on a commanding height, within grape shot range. The occupation of which hill became more necessary, as its value would have been incalculable to an enimy [sic] succeeding in penetrating the right of the line. In the rear, but within striking distance of Redoubts, Fireman and Masonic, and the adjacent intrenchments, is the site of Fort Swift; on a conical and imposing eminence. The importance of which becomes enhanced in as much as it completely overlooks the strong defences of Governor's Island. __On the right of the plan of the works at Haerlem, is exhibited Fort Stevens, devel [sic] tower, and batteries on the mill rock, those proposed at Rhinelander's point &c. for the defence of Hell-Gate passage; works of sufficient capacity to mount thirty pieces of cannon, besides mortars, one half of which may be brought to bear upon an object at the same time. At Benson's is a redoubt to guard a fording place, or mill dam over Haerlem creek, with lines extending to a creek in the rear, to be flanked by a battery on the opposite shore. From the head of Haerlem creek commences a parapet and ditch running to Fort Clinton, on an elevated rock, connected with which, and over McGowan's pass, is a block house and Nutter's battery, the whole joined to, commanded and supported by Fort Fish, on an eminence in the rear, mounting five pieces of heavy caliber. Immediately at the foot of the West side of these works is a deep valley, rendered somewhat difficult of passage by a small stream intersecting it; which, it is proposed to obstruct by a strong abbatis, protected by the guns of Fort Fish. On the opposite side commences a chain of almost perpendicular rocks, and wooded heights, of difficult ascent, except in one place, and accessible only to the lightest troops. On these heights have been erected Block houses (numbered as in the plan) within supporting distance of each other, and near enough for the interchange of grape shot; all of them to mount heavy cannon on their terrace. Between Block houses No. 1 and No. 2 the hills fall into a more gradual and gentle acclivity; which it is contemplated to obstruct by an abbatis flanked by the works on the adjacent heights. At a battery marked [blank space for number] on the plan (called Fort Laight and situated on a perpendicular rock) commences a line of intrenchments with faces and flanks, crossing the Bloomingdale road to a commanding height on Mark's grounds, and running along its summit to the bank of the North River, which falls abruptly and nearly perpendicularly to the water's edge. The works comprehended in the foregoing description have been chiefly constructed by the labour of the Citizens of the City of New York, Long Island, and of the neighbouring Towns near the North River, and in New Jersey. All classes volunteering daily working Parties of from Five to Fifteen Hundred Men. The Fortifications are testimonials of Patriotic zeal.