Constitution Island in Orange County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Revolutionary War Constitution Island
The defense of the Hudson River against British ships was an important task of the Revolutionary Army. The river’s sharp bend and strong currents at this point made Constitution Island well located for this purpose.
Construction on Fort Constitution began in late 1775 but was halted three months later upon realization of the fort’s many shortcomings. Work on the island fortifications was transferred to Marine, Hill Cliff, and Gravel Hill Batteries, better sited for firing down river. The major defense of the Hudson was shifted five miles south to Forts Montgomery and Clinton, where a chain was placed across the river. Those forts and the Constitution Island fortifications were destroyed in October 1777 during British operations on the Hudson. This British force, advancing up river to aid Burgoyne’s army invading from Canada, returned to its New York City base after learning of Burgoyne’s surrender at Saratoga.
In 1778, taking advantage of commanding high ground, determined patriots built new Hudson fortifications at West Point. From there a great chain and boom stretched across the river to Constitution Island, where two river
The number of soldiers on Constitution Island varied from approximately 130 men at the time the island was abandoned to the British in 1777 to several regiments posted to work details when the island was part of the West Point garrison. During those latter years, approximately 400 men - - one seventh of the total West Point strength - - were deemed necessary to defend Constitution Island from attack. In creating fields of fire, obtaining construction material, and providing fire wood, the soldiers stripped the island treeless. A slaughter house, a storehouse, smithy, three barracks, huts, tenting sites, and perhaps other essential facilities supported the garrison during some part of the island’s Revolutionary War History.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Revolutionary. A significant historical month for this entry is October 1777.
Location. 41° 24.064′ N, 73° 57.079′ W. Marker is in Constitution Island, New York, in Orange County. Marker is located on Constitution Island, near the boat dock. 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. Fortress West Point (here, next to this marker); The Great Chain (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named The Great ChainAnna B. Warner Memorial Garden (within shouting distance of this marker); Marine Battery (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Hill Cliff Battery (about 400 feet away); The Warner House (about 400 feet away); Fort Constitution Area (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Constitution Island.
Also see . . . The Revolutionary War on Constitution Island. The Constitution Island Association website. (Submitted on September 24, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.)
Credits. This page was last revised on March 8, 2021. It was originally submitted on September 24, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 512 times since then and 14 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on September 29, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. 2. submitted on September 24, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. 3. submitted on August 26, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on September 24, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.