Monday, August 22, 2005

What if: Battle of New York City

Throughout history there have been countless close calls where things could have easily gone the other way. In this weekly series I will post on a particular moment in time and ask readers to give their thoughts and opinions on what would have happened if things went differently.

This week's what if will be during the Battle of New York. The setting: it is September of 1776, in New York City. The fledgling new American nation has recently declared independence but is far from winning a victory over the British. The army has almost no experience and training. Recently the British have just routed and pushed back many of the Americans to their fortifications at Brooklyn Heights, in Long Island. All the British have to do is bring together all their troops and artillery and make one final assault. Given their superior training, equipment, and morale, they probably would have succeeded. Yet their general, Howe, has decided to enjoy the day's victory and pull back his troops to camp.

Later at night, there is a second close call. The wind is coming from a northerly direction, which prevents the British ships from sailing up and blocking any hope of Washington's troops escaping across the river. This allows the Americans to silently slip into their boats and withdraw to Manhattan.

My questions are these: what would have happened if the British army had continued their assault and stormed Brooklyn Heights, if the wind was different and the British ships could sailed up, thus completely surrounding the Americans. I am not just talking about the American army or Washington, but also of the United States' situation, and maybe even the world too. Tell me whatever you think, any feedback related to this would be good. This question will be open until next Monday, when I will post another what if.

Note: don't forget to visit the other historium at


The_Lost_Ones said...

the british wouldn't be messed with, and may have kicked serious german ass in world war 1+2

but, democracy would have to wait untill another time to manifest

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