and the American Revolution
the Reverend Abraham Keteltas
Minute Men- 1775
Maps Of Richmond Hill and Long Island
Battle of Long Island
Hard Times followed Battle of Long Island
By GUS DALLAS
Printed by The Richmond Hill Record
Courtesy of the Carl Ballenas
This painting depicts Washington's retreat across the East River back to
Queens was an occupied territory for seven years after George Washington's
army lost the Battle of Long Island on Aug. 27, 1776. The British marched
in right after the rebels were defeated near Brooklyn Heights and escaped
to Manhattan. The British figured Washington would cross right back to
Queens, probably at the Astoria ferry dock. Marching straight from the
victory in Brooklyn, British troops occupied high ground at Cypress Hills
and Forest Park and rushed their main force to meet the supposed American
After a few days of breaking into houses, stealing food, valuables,
livestock and molesting women, most of the British and Hessian invaders
crossed to Manhattan from Astoria or to Westchester from Whitestone. These
forces clashed with American rebels in the Battle of White Plains less
than a month later.
The rest garrisoned most of Queens and the pall of martial law settled
on the county for a long time. Headquarters was "the big house of Samuel
Renne on Queens Blvd.," occupied by the British commander, Sir William
Howe, according to Vincent Seyfried in "Queens, A Pictorial History."
Camps were set up in what is now Sunnyside Yards to control Newtown
Creek and Dutch Kills, which were used as supply ship depots and winter
havens for warships. The Royal Artillery, Lord Cornwallis' 33d Regiment
and a troop of Grenadiers spread positions along today's 39th Ave., from
Woodside to Queens Plaza.
The 17th Light Dragoons occupied the spots where Queens Borough Hall
and the IND subway yards sit today. In 1776 the site was on the shore of
Flushhig Bay, which ran all the way down to Queens Blvd. The present Flushing
Meadows-Corona Park is a landfill.
The 42d Highlanders were Garrisoned at St. John's Cemetery in Middle
Village, The Royal Highland Regiment camped in Newtown, and the 37th Regiment
bivouacked at Hell Gate. Jamaica was held by the Light Dragoons, the Irish
Volunteers, Delancey's Brigade, the 64th Company of Grenadiers and two
Flushing was occupied by the King's American Regiment, the 80th Grenadiers
and the 38th and 54th Regiments. A large collection of troops was scattered
through Fresh Meadows from south of Flushing Cemetery, to Grand Central
Today's broad 73d Ave. was laid out at the time to connect many of
the British positions and was originally called Black Stump Road. The troops
lived in tents in the summer and thatched or sod-covered huts in winter.
There was a long row of winter huts strung along Hillside Ave. in Jamaica,
dug into the hillside north of the road.
The officers and noncommissioned officers occupied the homes of Queens
citizens. Ten to 20 noncoms were assigned to a house. They were ordered
to take over just one room in the house, and they shrewdly chose the kitchen,
setting up hammocks in tiers.
British officers were arrogant, and Queens folk had to tip their hats
outdoors or stand like inferiors when speaking to them inside their own
homes. Slaveowners grumbled that their slaves tended to become snippy and
disobedient after they saw how the officers pushed the master around.