5. The Battle of Fort Washington occurred in Hudson Heights

Battle of Fort Washington plaque

At the site of Bennett Park — as denoted by a large marble, bronze and granite stele by the park’s entrance — was the Battle of Fort Washington during the American Revolution, fought on November 16, 1776. The British were victorious over the Patriots, who surrendered the garrison of Fort Washington in one of the worst American defeats of the war. A total of 59 Americans were killed during the battle, and another 2,837 were taken as prisoners of war.

Under William Howe, British forces defeated the Continental Army under George Washington at the previous Battle of White Plains. This made Fort Washington the only American stronghold in Manhattan. Nathanael Greene was ordered to abandon the fort and remove its garrison, but the fort’s commander, Robert Magaw, refused since he believed it could be defended. Although the Harlem River’s tides slowed down the attack, Howe led an assault on three sides, and Magaw eventually surrendered.