In 1779 General George Washington and British Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Clinton were locked in a stalemate around New York City. Clinton desperately wanted to lure Washington into a climactic battle that would destroy the Continental Army but his forces were not strong enough to fight Washington on his own ground. Clinton attacked Connecticut in an attempt to lure Washington into battle but Washington knew he was not strong enough to attack the British in New York or to go chasing Clinton’s forces in Connecticut.
Washington also knew that he had to keep the British from taking control of the strategically important Hudson River Valley. The British campaign of 1779 included fortifying the major ferry terminus of Stony Point on the Hudson River. On a dark night in July Anthony Wayne conducted an attack on Stony Point the likes of which the British had never seen by Americans. Using only bayonets the Americans overwhelmed their opponents.
Michael Schellhammer describes the strategy, tactics and intelligence gathering involved in the entire 1779 Hudson River campaign in fascinating style. He vividly recreates the attack on Stony Point with firsthand accounts from various positions on the battlefield and puts the reader into the action. The reader joins British sentries peering into the darkness to catch a glimpse of stealthy attackers creeping ever closer only to see the enemy mere feet away in the light of the flash from a musket muzzle. This is exciting, and historical, writing with a “you are there” feel.
Aided by excellent maps this well written narrative makes it easy to follow the action. The sources are well documented in the endnotes. A bibliography is included as is a comprehensive index.
The author is a retired US Army officer with extensive personal experience in intelligence and special operations. This is a must read for anyone interested in the Revolutionary War.
George Washington and the Final British Campaign for the Hudson River, 1779
McFarland & Company, 2012
Includes Index, Bibliography, Endnotes