American Redoubt Marker
This large boulder was placed and dedicated by the Fort Washington Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution on November 16, 1910. The boulder is carved with the inscription, “AMERICAN REDOUT 1776” and marks the site of a redoubt used by the American Continental Army during the defense of Fort Washington in November 1776 against the British in the Revolutionary War. This was one of the worst defeats for the Continental Army, the British forced a retreat. As a result, New York and Eastern New Jersey fell under British control for the next seven years. (1).
Backstory and Context
A redoubt is a “small, enclosed military work” meaning, “place of retreat” (2). On November 16, 1776 the British attacked Fort Washington and forced the Continental Army to retreat, many fled up the hill to the redoubt; however, nearly 3,000 American troops were captured that day and most were sent to British prison ships (1). For more information regarding the Battle of Fort Washington, see the Clio article here.
The redoubt itself was constructed by a battalion of Scotsmen of Malcom’s regiment under the command of Captain Robert Smith. The construction of this redoubt was planned and executed by a French volunteer, Antoine Felix Imbert. A published excavation of the site in 1902 described the redoubt as “the best preserved as it is the most militarily regular of the earthworks of the locality, evidencing the military training of its designer” (3). Built in part as defense of the Hudson river, the City of New York had also ordered several ships to be sunk in the Hudson during August and September of 1776 to further impede British navigation. Unfortunately, neither Fort Washington, nor the redoubts, nor the sunken ships could stop the British takeover. The British remained in control of New York for seven years following this defeat (from September 1776 until November 1783).
It can be a bit difficult to find the marker. According to the New York Times, the marker can be found along the path to the left of the 181st Street pedestrian path.
- Pollak, Michael . What is the Stone Marker Near the George Washington Bridge?, The New York Times. October 3rd 2014. Accessed March 1st 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/05/nyregion/what-is-the-stone-marker-near-the-george-washington-bridge.html.
- redoubt (n.), Online Etymology Dictionary. Accessed March 1st 2020. https://www.etymonline.com/word/redoubt.
- Fort Washington : an account of the identification of the site of Fort Washington, New York City, and the erection and dedication of a monument thereon Nov. 16, 1901. Pg. 65. New York, NY. New York : The Society, 1902.
- New York (State). Loewy, Benno. New York in the Revolution as colony and state : a compilation of documents and records from the Office of the State Comptroller. Pg. 200. Albany, NY. 1904.
- Raymond Wong and Colton Jeffries. "Battle of Fort Washington." Clio: Your Guide to History. November 12, 2015. Accessed March 1, 2020. https://www.theclio.com/entry/19705
Emon Hassan for The New York Times ca. Pollak, Michael . What is the Stone Marker Near the George Washington Bridge?, The New York Times. October 3rd 2014. Accessed March 1st 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/05/nyregion/what-is-the-stone-marker-near-the-george-washington-bridge.html.