Throg's Neck, New York

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Throg's Neck, New York

THROG'S NECK, NEW YORK. 12-18 October 1776. Throg's Neck (or Point) was also known as Frog's or Throck's Point. It was apparently named after John Throgmorton (or Throckmorton) who settled there in 1643. Known today as Throg's Neck, it is now also known as Schuyler Park, located in the southeast corner of the Bronx.

To avoid American General George Washington's strong defenses on Harlem Heights, British General William Howe planned an amphibious envelopment with most of his forces. The exceptions were one brigade of Hessians and two of British, all under the command of Lord Hugh Percy, who would hold the lines around McGown's Pass to cover New York City. At 9 a.m. on 12 October about 4,000 British started landing, unopposed, at Throg's Neck from 80 vessels that had left Kips Bay the night before. Thick fog in the dangerous waters of Hell Gate nearly turned the expedition into a disaster, but Admiral Richard Howe and his officers managed to get through with minimal losses. By afternoon, most of General Howe's force was ashore. He did not know, however, that Throg's Neck was virtually an island, being surrounded by water at high tide. As soon as the British started inland, they found a marshy creek that could be crossed in only two places: a causeway and bridge on one side, and a ford on the other. Colonel Edward Hand's thirty-man guard from his First Pennsylvania Rifle Regiment (William Heath's Division), firing from concealed positions, stopped them cold.

Reinforcements soon arrived to swell the defenders' ranks to 1,800 and bottle up Howe's force. These reinforcements were Prescott's Massachusetts Continental Regiment and a three-pounder (cannon) at the causeway, and John Graham's New York Continental Regiment, with a six-pounder at the ford. Further reinforcements, in the form of Alexander McDougall's brigade, arrived the evening of 12 October. Frustrated, Howe took six days to prepare for his next move, the landing at Pell's Point. It is interesting to speculate on what would have resulted had Howe forced his way through Hand's thirty riflemen and moved against the Kings Bridge, eight miles away.

SEE ALSO Pell's Point, New York.

                              revised by Barnet Schecter