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American Revolution History by ColonialAmerica.com
American Revolution History by ColonialAmerica.com
Legend: Selected Site Area Merchant Site Historic Site Historic Marker Historic Shipwreck
Marker data courtesy of hmdb.org   Some map icons courtesy of Map Icons Collection



1776 Mayflower : A Story of Courage, Community, and War
The Federalist Papers Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution
Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West John Adams
Benjamin Franklin : An American Life The Bloody & Brave History of Native American Warriors & the Women Who Supported Them
Click here for additional books


We the Kids : The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States The New Americans : Colonial Times: 1620-1689 (The American Story)
The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery Behind Rebel Lines: The Incredible Story of Emma Edmonds, Civil War Spy
A History of US: Vol 3, From Colonies to Country (A History of Us) Let It Begin Here!: Lexington & Concord: First Battles of the American Revolution
George Washington, Spymaster: How the Americans Outspied the British and Won the Revolutionary War They Called Her Molly Pitcher


Pirates and Traders: Gold! Hidden Treasures Hidden Object
Dedaloop (Kindle Fire Edition) Word Treasure
Treasure Island, The Experience Robinson Crusoe
The Patriots Hero Tales from American History - AudioBook

Selected Site

Thomas Paine


Fort Lee, NJ, 07024




Author-Soldier

"Common Sense"                     "American Crisis"
  January 10, 1776                   December 19, 1776

Thomas Paine volunteered for the Continental Army. He marched to Amboy, New Jersey, located off the tip of Staten Island where the British began the invasion of New York. He arrived before the first 9,3000 Redcoats landed and stayed until the fighting went north. Paine then went to Fort Lee where General Nathaniel Greene appointed him as one of his aides. While stationed at Fort Lee, he authored "The American Crisis" pamphlet which contained the famous quote "These are the times that try men’s souls." Fort Lee (Monument Park area) is the site where this most influential writing was conceived. Paine’s passion and writings about freedom had a great influence on many of the delegates that created the Declaration of Independence.

Click on heading to visit the website (excludes markers).

Nearby Historic Sites

NJ Palisades



2400 Hudson Ter
Fort Lee, NJ, 07024

Click on any heading to visit the website.

Nearby Historical Markers

Abatis Construction at Fort Lee



Fort Lee, NJ, 07024

Fortifications were protected by obstacles, such as an abatis, or other major hindrances to assaulting troops. They were easily placed before a parapet, or breastwork, wherever trees were plentiful and were used to supplement defensive rampart walls or barricades.

Derived from the French word meaning heap of material thrown together, the abatis was built of piles of trees or large branches sharpened to a point and turned toward the enemy’s approach. They were entangled to form an impassable barrier for cavalry and infantry.

At Fort Lee, maps show than an abatis was placed to provide protection from an assault from the northwest exposure.

The use of an abatis either alone or together with other entanglements, led to an extensive tree-chopping program to supply logs for these obstructions and for battery emplacements as well as to provide timber for huts and firewood for cooking and heating.

Bastion
Maps show that the fortification built on the high ground to the west was rectangular in shape with bastions at each corner. It undoubtedly was built to provide additional protection to the important batteries on the bluff and to prevent their capture by a land assault.

Cannons



Fort Lee, NJ, 07024

The word "cannon" is derived from the Latin canna, meaning tube, pipe or gun and dates back to the 13th Century. In the 1400’s, the term described a cylinder made from iron bars "soldered" together and fortified with iron hoops.

By the 18th Century, cannon barrels were cast in one piece and designated by the weight of the shot they fired. The largest weapons at Fort Lee were the 32 pounders which had an overall length of 10 feet and were able to develop a high muzzle velocity of up to 1,300 feet per second.

Loading and Firing
The gunnery crew, consisting of 7 to 12 men, inserted the powder charge and compacted it with a rammer. The projectile, either a solid shot or bar shot for ripping and splintering masts and rigging or an incendiary shell for setting ship decks afire - was loaded into the barrel. The cannoneer, sighting the target and depending on experience and long hours of practice, aimed the piece and ordered the cannon fired. A burning stick, or lint-stock, was used to ignite the powder in the vent.

Fort Lee Historic Park



Fort Lee, NJ, 07024

Beneath these cliffs, Henry Hudson’s Half-Moon was welcomed by the Lenni Lenape Indians on September 3, 1609.

Nearly 167 years later, this giant Bluff Rock became a strategic stronghold in the American War for Independence as the conflict raged within view of this spot from early July through November 20, 1776. Around this fortification, first called "The Mountain," then "Fort Constitution" and later "Fort Lee," the American defense fought for control of the Hudson River.

General Washington laid out the emplacements on this site to delay British plans to crush the American rebellion.

Fort Lee, furnished with heavy artillery and paired with Manhattan’s Fort Washington, located across the river, served as a formidable obstacle to British warships attempting to sail along the Hudson River.

Fort Lee Road



Fort Lee, NJ, 07024

Fort Lee Road (Main Street) was the main roadway to General Washington’s Headquarters in Hackensack. Supplies and men were in constant movement on the road to re-supply Fort Washington in New York. The Continental Army began it’s "Retreat to Victory" on this road. Its link to the New Bridge Crossing on the Hackensack River saved the Continental Army from capture. This would have ended the War for Independence.

General George Washington



Fort Lee, NJ, 07024

General Washington was in Fort Lee many times during the Battle of New York. His main headquarters was in Hackensack, but had a temporary headquarters in Fort Lee near Anderson Avenue and Elizabeth Street. His main objective in Fort Lee was to observe and see that Fort Washington, across the Hudson River, was well prepared for the coming battle with British forces. He also wanted to make sure that the British fleet did not sail up the Hudson River. By standing on the top of the palisades in Fort Lee, he had a good view of what was going on in the Battle of New York. General Washington was responsible for changing the name of the town from Fort Constitution to Fort Lee.

General Henry Knox



Fort Lee, NJ, 07024

General Knox was the Commander of the Continental Army Artillery. He was in charge of the placement of the artillery cannons on the palisades in Fort Lee. His main objective was to stop the British fleet from sailing up the Hudson River. He was one of two generals to serve Washington throughout the Revolutionary War.

General Horatio Gates



Fort Lee, NJ, 07024

General Gates was commissioned a Brigadier General and was appointed Adjutant General of the Continental Army in 1775 by orders of General Washington. He was in Fort Lee with General Washington in October 1776.

General Hugh Mercer



Fort Lee, NJ, 07024

Fort Lee was constructed by General Mercer on October 18, 1776 on orders from General George Washington. Originally called Fort Constitution, it was re-christened Fort Lee in honor of General Charles Lee, second in command of the Continental Army, by orders of General George Washington. Monument Park was the campgrounds for the Continental Army troops. General Mercer was killed at the Battle of Princeton on January 12, 1777.

General Nathaniel Greene



Fort Lee, NJ, 07024

General Greene took command of Fort Lee on September 17, 1776 from General James Iwing. At that time there were around 2,667 troops stationed in Fort Lee. The encampment was the main quartermaster post for supplying men and equipment to Fort Washington on the New York side of the Hudson River during the Battle of New York. General Greene was a personal friend of George Washington and was one of the two generals to serve Washington throughout the war. He became a hero fighting the British in the Carolinas.

George Washington Memorial Monument



Leonia, NJ, 07605

On November 20th 1776, General George Washington and part of the Continental Army on their march from Fort Lee to Trenton passed this way.

Erected July 4th, 1915


Military Magazine



Fort Lee, NJ, 07024

The military magazine derives its name from the Arabic word, "Makhazin", meaning granary, or storehouse. Revolutionary War magazines were constructed with emphasis on fire and waterproofing, easy accessibility to the guns serviced and security from enemy fire.

A typical magazine had thick native stone walls filled with soil which protected a massive brick archway where the munitions were housed. A wooden door leading to the storage area provided ready access to the gun-powder stores while minimizing the hazard of an enemy round striking the explosive powder.

To safeguard the munitions from adverse weather, a sloping board or shingled roof was built atop the stone walls to furnish a secure gunpowder storage area.

Gunpowder is a mixture of saltpeter, sulphur and charcoal. When compressed and ignited this black powder explodes and can propel shot or cannon balls from muzzle-loaded rifles, mortars and artillery.

Old Army Road



Fort Lee, NJ, 07024

Old Army Road, now called Palisade Road, was used by General Washington and his staff to reach the palisades for observing movement on the Hudson River crossings and New York. The road was also used to re-supply General Knox’s artillery positioned on the palisades, as well as sending troops to Fort Washington in New York.

Palisades Interstate Park



Fort Lee, NJ, 07024

Palisades Interstate Park
has been designated a
Registered National
Historic Landmark
under the provisions of the
Historic Sites Act of August 21, 1935
this site possesses exceptional value
in commemorating and illustrating
the History of the United States.

U.S. Department of the Interior
National Park Service
1965


Soldier Hut



Fort Lee, NJ, 07024

At Fort Lee, "hutting" - the building of permanent huts - was started at General Greene’s command to:

"Fix proper places for barracks, none to be nearer the fort than 50 rods…build timber huts…boards are to be had only for the roof. The huts were to be 12 feet long by 9 feet wide, to have stone chimneys and to be ranged in proper streets."

The huts, each housing 8 men, had earth flooring with sod, mud and clay used to chink the log timbers. Stone, used for the fireplace and chimney, was cemented with clay or possibly lime mortar.

As late as 1900, just about 50 rods (825 feet) from the bastion site at the edge of Fort Lee Borough, stone heaps lined in regular rows could still be seen marking the location of some of those huts.

The Barbette Battery



Fort Lee, NJ, 07024

This battery was believed to be the "Barbette Battery" as its location commanded a large field of fire of the river, stretching North to South from the Chevaux-De-Frise to the Bluff Rock’s southern edge.

A Barbette Battery’s guns fired over a low wall rather than through openings in the battery wall and was likened to "spitting over one’s beard". The word, "barbette", is derived from the French term for "beard".

Field Cannons
It is believed that this battery consisted of five heavy iron cannons capable of firing 24 pound balls. The wide area covered by this emplacement required its guns to be mobile and they were therefore mounted on traveling carriages enabling artillery fire to be aimed at several ships or to be concentrated on a single target.

The battery was constructed on a stone base and its cannon platform was covered with planking sloped upward in the rear to lessen cannon recoil. The parapet was built of fascines and was filled with earth. The battery wings were built higher to afford protection from enemy fire.

Vreeland House



Leonia, NJ, 07605

Located in old English Neighborhood on land purchased by Dirck Vreeland before the Revolution, the homestead stretched between the Hudson River and Overpeck Creek. The stone wing of this house was built about 1786 and later was remodeled. Son Michael D. Vreeland added the main Dutch style house about 1815 which is noted for its Federal decorative detail. It remained in the Vreeland family until 1928.

Sponsored by Walter and Jean Cronan 1985.
In National Register of Historic Places


Community Histories


Fort Lee

Fort Lee

Fort Lee is named for General Charles Lee after George Washington and his troops had camped at Mount Constitution overlooking Burdett's Landing, in defense of New York City. It was during Washington's retreat in November 1776 (beginning along a road which is now Main Street) that Thomas Paine composed his pamphlet, The American Crisis, which began with the recognized phrase, "These are the times that try men's souls". These events are recalled at Monument Park and Fort Lee Historic Park.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Lee,_New_Jersey", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0