11. Governors Island

Governor's Island

Governors Island played a significant role throughout the American Revolution, used as a military installation with many defensive forts. During the earlier French and Indian War, the island was used as a military encampment under Sir William Pepperell. Under George Washington, General Charles Lee was assigned with creating New York’s defensive plan, which included forts on Governors Island. General Israel Putnam added 40 cannons and earthworks to the island, and defensive structures continued to develop throughout the war.

These cannons were instrumental in dissuading British naval forces from traveling up the East River after a skirmish with the HMS Phoenix and HMS Rose. Washington’s retreat from Brooklyn to Manhattan following the Battle of Long Island was aided by the island’s fortifications. The island was later held by the British for a few years, Off of Governors island was the first documented submarine attack in history, in which the Americans unsuccessfully tried to detonate the Turtle.

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