Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fort Washington, Fort Lee and Analog Warfare

     November 16 marks the anniversary of the defeat of the Continental Army at Fort Washington in Manhattan in 1776.  Fort Washington was constructed on the highest point on Manhattan island.  Today, you cannot see its counterpart in New Jersey, the area where Fort Lee was, standing in the site of Fort Washington.  Nonetheless, in 1776 Fort Lee and Fort Washington were considered essential by the Americans to control the North River (now the Hudson River).

     Nonetheless, we can gain an understanding of the nature of the American defenses and place from the batteries of Fort Lee on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River.

     The fort was a bit inland from this, but up here, on the Palisades, you can see how artillery from here and Fort Washington would control the Hudson.  Fort Washington was just to the north of where the George Washington Bridge enters Manhattan, on the left in this photograph.

     In an age of drone attacks, and when we can watch video clips on the internet of assassinations and missiles fired from unseen planes, this image and the Battle of Fort Washington remind us of the pre-digital age of analog warfare.    

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