Posts Tagged ‘Fort Washington’

Where is Manhattan’s highest natural point?

March 29, 2010

Sure, at 265 feet above sea level, it’s not exactly very high.

But when earthquake–triggered waves crash over Manhattan and you have no idea where to go, head to Bennett Park.

It’s a sweet little park—the borough’s highest ground—in Washington Heights on Fort Washington Avenue and 183rd Street.

The nearby area played a crucial role in American history.

Called Long Hill by early Dutch settlers, it became George Washington’s operations base during the Revolutionary War, thanks to its vantage point. 

Fort Washington was the site of a major defeat by British and Hessian troops. But hey, our side won the war.

An impressive monument on the Fort Washington side of the park commemorating the Battle of Fort Washington was put up in 1901.

New York war hero: Margaret Corbin

May 24, 2009

It’s Memorial Day weekend—an appropriate time to remember Margaret Corbin, considered by some to be the first female American soldier and someone whose name shows up all over Northern Manhattan.

MargaretcorbinCorbin was the wife of a Virginia farmer who had enlisted in the Pennsylvania state artillery to fight for the colonists during the Revolutionary War. Rather than stay at home alone, she joined his company as a “camp follower,” as other wives were called, cooking and nursing wounded soldiers.

On November 16, 1776, their company was stationed at Fort Washington—where Fort Tryon Park is today—to help stave off a sneak attack launched by British and Hessian forces. After her husband was killed instantly while operating a canon, Margaret stepped into his place and began firing. Fortryonplaque

Though the four-hour battle ended with the enemy capturing Fort Washington, and she was severely wounded, Margaret supposedly proved to be one of the best gunners on the colonists’ side. 

She never fully recovered from her injuries and was eventually given $30 plus a lifetime disability pension.

Today, a plaque in Fort Tryon Park honors her bravery. And Northern Manhattan near The Cloisters is home to Margaret Corbin Drive and Margaret Corbin Circle.