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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Cortlandt Manor in Westchester County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Chaining the Hudson

 
 
Chaining the Hudson Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, October 24, 2010
1. Chaining the Hudson Marker
Inscription.
Chaining the Hudson
Early in the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress realized that if the British controlled the Hudson River, they could divide the rebellious colonies. To prevent this, in march 1776, the Americans began construction of Fort Montgomery above Popolopen Creek on the west side of the Hudson River. Their work soon expanded to iclude a second fort, Fort Clinton, on the south side of the creek, and a massive iron chain that stretched across the Hudson River.
Lieutenant Thomas Machin, one of the Continental Army's most able engineers, directed the work on the forts and the chain. During two separate attempts, the chain quickly broke under the strain of the ebb tide. Convinced that the chain could still work, Machin had the damage repaired and successfully stretched it across the river in March 1777.
British ships never tested the chain. Rather, the British captured the forts on October 6, 1777 and cut the chain the following day. Today, Fort Montgomery State Historic Site is open to the public and interprets the story of the forts and battle.
 
Location. 41° 18.709′ N, 73° 58.242′ W. Marker is in Cortlandt Manor, New York, in Westchester County. Marker is on Bear Mountain Bridge Road (U.S. 6) 2.3 miles
Chaining the Hudson Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 10, 2011
2. Chaining the Hudson Marker
The Chaining the Hudson marker is one of several found at this location. It is seen here on the right.
north of Roa Hook Road, on the left when traveling north. Click for map. Located in a scenic overlook with beautiful views of the Hudson River and surrounding hills. Marker is in this post office area: Cortlandt Manor NY 10567, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Camp Smith (approx. 0.8 miles away); Walt Whitman (approx. one mile away); Stephen Tyng Mather (approx. one mile away); Bear Mt. Bridge (approx. one mile away); Anthonys Nose (approx. one mile away); Ancient Canyon (approx. one mile away); Railroads (approx. one mile away); Scenic Road (approx. one mile away).
 
Categories. War, US Revolutionary
 
Chaining the Hudson Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, October 24, 2010
3. Chaining the Hudson Marker
Beyond the wall is the Hudson River and hills of Bear Mountain State Park
Detail from the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, October 24, 2010
4. Detail from the Marker
Drawing of the chain and its log floats stretched across the Hudson River at Fort Montgomery, January 7, 1777. After the British destroyed the Fort Montgomery chain, the Americans created an even bigger chain at West Point, which was never challenged by the enemy. Courtesy of the West Point Museum Collection, United States Military Academy.
Detail from the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, October 24, 2010
5. Detail from the Marker
A plan of the Forts Montgomery and Clinton, by Major Holland, Surveyor General of the Northern District of North America, ca. 1777. The map shows the forts, the chain, and the small fleet of American ships that defended the Hudson when the British attacked. In July 1777, cables from the two American frigates were run across the river in front of the chain to help protect it. Library of Congress, Geography and map Division.
Detail from the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, October 24, 2010
6. Detail from the Marker
This scene depicts the naval action during the Battle of Fort Montgomery, October 6, 1777. American ships at left defend the chain as British vessels approach and attack from the right. Painting by Dahl Taylor.
Detail from the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, October 24, 2010
7. Detail from the Marker
A portion of the Fort Montgomery chain was originally constructed to block the Richelieu River. It was carried far to the north only to return south when the American invasion of Canada failed in early 1776. The Americans considered using it at Fort Ticonderoga to block Lake Champlaign, but chose instead to return it to the Hudson River to become part of the Fort Montgomery chain.
Detail from the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, October 24, 2010
8. Detail from the Marker
The Fort Montgomery chain was made from 1.5- and 2-inch iron bars from furnaces at Ancram, New York, and Ringwood and Mount Hope in New Jersey. The 1,650-foot-long chain consisted of about 850 links floated on giant pine logs.
View of the Hudson River to the South image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, October 24, 2010
9. View of the Hudson River to the South
View Across the Hudson River image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, October 24, 2010
10. View Across the Hudson River
Links from the Great Chain image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2008
11. Links from the Great Chain
The Americans blocked access to the Hudson River north of Fort Montgomery by stretching a chain across the river. These links from that Great Chain are in the Visitor Center of Fort Montgomery State Historic Site.
The Great Chain image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 25, 2012
12. The Great Chain
This replica of the Great Chain that spanned the Hudson River includes the log floats described on the marker. It can be found on Constitution Island, about 10 miles to the north.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut. This page has been viewed 729 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.   2. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on , by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.   11. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   12. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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