When thinking about the American Revolutionary War, most may jump to the Battles of Saratoga, Bunker Hill, or Trenton. Yet New York City was an incredibly important city during the war, the site of battles including Long Island, Fort Washington, and Harlem Heights, as well as other skirmishes and naval encounters. George Washington and his troops spent considerable amounts of time across the modern five boroughs, and New York City was an important strategic center for the Continental Army and the British. From Fraunces Tavern where the Sons of Liberty often met to Staten Island’s Conference House where the war almost ended before it began, check out these 11 Revolutionary War sites across the city.
1. Golden Hill (John Street between William and Pearl Streets)
The Battle of Golden Hill, which has largely been forgotten, was a clash between the Sons of Liberty and British soldiers on January 19, 1770, in the modern-day Financial District. The “battle” was one of the first violent incidents in the lead-up to the Revolutionary War, along with the Boston Massacre. The conflict stemmed from the demolition of a “Liberty pole” erected by the Sons of Liberty in City Hall Park, symbolizing their displeasure with British authorities. After a series of poles, which were all either removed or blown up, the Sons of Liberty had enough.
Isaac Sears, an American merchant, tried to stop soldiers from posting handbills at the Fly Market near Maiden Lane. After Sears captured some soldiers and marched them to the mayor’s office, they were surrounded by a crowd of locals, as well as additional British soldiers who unsuccessfully tried to rescue them. After an officer shouted, “Soldiers, draw your bayonets and cut your way through them,” the conflict became bloody, and some soldiers and townsfolk were injured.