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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Staten Island and the Canadians

On August 22, 1777, General John Sullivan led two New Jersey regiments in an ill-fated raid on Staten Island in an attempt to capture British Loyalist General Cortlandt Skinner and other prisoners, and destroy British supplies.  Among his troops were the 1st and 2nd Canadian Regiments.  The first participated in the Battle of Quebec; the second was formed and led by disgruntled British officer Moses Hazen.  The Americans crossed at two points but were not able to link up; due to a mix up by the Americans, several boats were not in position to effectuate their crossing back off the island.  Although Sullivan achieved initial success, the Americans withdraw after losing significant numbers as captured.  Sullivan was court-martialed but acquitted.

Here is the scene of the area of the Carteret-Rossville crossing where the Old Blazing Star Ferry was:

Much is written of the Canadian resistance to joining the American cause, including the attitude of Canadians towards the attack on Quebec in 1775.  Here we have the active participant of Canadians on the Patriot side; at the battle of Saratoga, Canadian units would be present on the British side.  Along with Americans, who split into Loyalist and Patriot camps, and the Native Americans who were turned against each other, the Battle of Staten Island features the destructive force of this war among the Canadians as well.

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