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1776: The Fort that Saved America
Brooklyn was the site of what would turn out to be a pivotal battle for the Americans during the Revolutionary War. Although the Battle of Long Island—fought where Prospect Park stands today—was a victory for the British, the American troops still managed to escape to Manhattan and, from there, travel north where they could regroup and go on to fight another day. But how exactly was it possible for the 10,000 American troops to evade twice as many Brits and Hessian mercenaries? Especially when there was a British war ship heading through New York Harbor, in order to cut off the Americans' flight from Brooklyn? It was possible because of Fort Defiance, a makeshift fort in Red Hook built by scrappy American revolutionaries, who fired at the HMS Roebuck, effectively preventing the ship from sailing all the way to the East River. Fort Defiance sustained great damage as the British ship fired back, but the men there saved the day for the American troops who made their escape. Although the original Fort Defiance no longer stands, there is an amazing bar/restaurant in Red Hook now that proudly bears its name.