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

The American Revolution at West Point

1775 - 1783

— Redoubt 4 —

The American Revolution at West Point Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Pete Skillman, November 19, 2021
1. The American Revolution at West Point Marker
Key of America
West Point's role in our nation's history dates back to the Revolutionary War, when both the Patriots and the British realized the strategic importance of controlling the Hudson River. General George Washington considered West Point to be the most important strategic position in the Revolution, calling it "the key of America.” As a result, in 1775, the Americans began to build Fort Constitution on present-day Constitution Island. In 1778, the emphasis was shifted to the higher ground at West Point and its surrounding hills, resulting in a fortress the British never challenged. At the heart of these fortifications was an iron chain floating on log rafts to block the Hudson to British navigation. In total, over twenty forts, redoubts and batteries were built between 1775 and 1782 to defend the Hudson River. The majority of the fortifications were designed and built under the direction of Polish engineer Colonel Thaddeus Kosciuszko between 1778 and 1780; making West Point the oldest continuously occupied military post in America.

Redoubt 4 - Rocky Hill
You are standing in front of Redoubt 4, sometimes
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known as the Blockhouse on Rocky Hill. This is the highest redoubt that overlooks the Great Chain and the forts and batteries intended to protect it.

Kosciuszko identified the importance of building on the high ground at West Point as early as June 1778. A large, substantial hexagonal blockhouse was originally designed for this location by Kosciuszko to hold the ground that overlooked the approaches to Fort Putnam below. The proposed blockhouse was later redesigned as a redoubt for 100 men and hastily constructed under Major William Hull, probably as a result of the urgency produced by the British occupation of Stony Point in early June 1779.

In August 1780 Kosciuszko departed for the Southern Campaign, and Colonel Villefranche, the French engineer who was his replacement, completed Redoubt 4 in November 1780, two months after Major General Benedict Arnold's treasonous attempt to deliver West Point to the British.

Arnold provided a description of this redoubt in 1780: "Redoubt No. 4, a wooden work about ten feet high and four or five feet thick, the west side faced with a stone wall 8 feet high and four thick. No bomb proof, two six pounders, a slight abatis, a commanding piece of ground 500 yards west.” Redoubt 4 is the only fortification with an existing formal ditch, which made its parapets quite formidable. Moreover, its re-entrant angled west
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wall is a classical element of fortification architecture. Redoubt 4 reflects the concern that West Point could be taken from the rear by British troops rather than by an attack on the lower defenses near the river.

(caption) Colonel Thaddeus Kosciuszko from Poland served as Chief Engineer at West Point form 1778-1780.

(caption) Seven Companies of Light Infantry under Major William Hull garrisoned the blockhouse in 1779.

(map caption) This is the last known Revolutionary War era map of West Point. It was drawn by Major Jean Louis Villefranche in 1782 while he served as Chief Engineer. (caption) American Revolutionary artifacts discovered at Redoubt 4 during a 1976 archaeological investigation.
Large Spoon · Shoe Buckle · Uniform Button · Gun Flint · Horseshoe

Led by a gift from West Point's Class of 1970, and in honor of General Washington and the country's first all-volunteer Army of citizens who defended West Point during the American Revolution, graduates of the United States Military Academy take a leadership role in preserving and maintaining the vast fortification system built between 1775 and 1783.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Forts and CastlesWar, US Revolutionary.
Location. 41° 23.413′ N, 73° 58.373′ W. Marker is in West Point, New York, in Orange County. Marker can be reached from Patrick Trail. Located on a path off of Patrick Trail on the grounds of the United States Military Academy. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: West Point NY 10996, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Redoubt Four (within shouting distance of this marker); Redoubt Number Four (within shouting distance of this marker); Western Redoubts 1, 2, 3 and 4 (approx. 0.4 miles away); Bronze Field Guns (approx. half a mile away); McLean Historical Museum Building (approx. half a mile away); Original Embrasure (approx. half a mile away); Archeology, 1974 (approx. half a mile away); Constitution Island Redoubts (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in West Point.
Also see . . .
1. United States Military Academy at West Point. (Submitted on March 17, 2022, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
2. United States Military Academy (Wikipedia). (Submitted on March 17, 2022, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
Credits. This page was last revised on March 17, 2022. It was originally submitted on March 16, 2022, by Pete Skillman of Townsend, Delaware. This page has been viewed 125 times since then and 41 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on March 16, 2022, by Pete Skillman of Townsend, Delaware. • Michael Herrick was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 23, 2023