Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

The Battle of the Twin Forts – Fort Clinton and Fort Montgomery during the Revolutionary War

Discover how the battle of these two forts in 1777, less than 6 miles from Peekskill, had an impact on Revolutionary War
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Twin Forts Day reenactment Photo Credit: Fort Montgomery State Historic Site Facebook Page

The Battle of Fort Clinton and Fort Montgomery on October 6, 1777, were American Revolutionary War battles fought in the Hudson Highlands, 5 miles south of West Point and 6 miles west of Peekskill, directly on the other side of the present Bear Mountain Bridge. The forts were garrisoned by about 600 Continental Army troops. Nearby in Peekskill, General Israel Putnam had additional troops at the ready. 

Twin Forts Day reenactment
Photo Credit: Fort Montgomery State Historic Site Facebook Page

On October 6, 1777, British forces attacked the two forts at nearly the same exact time. Swiftly, the British captured both of the forts. In battle, more than half the defenders were killed, wounded, or captured. Once the Forts were taken over, the British then began to dismantle the first iteration of the Hudson River Chains. These enormous physical barriers were placed from one shore to the other shore in the anticipation that the British ships would not be able to navigate past them while tearing apart their hull. The Fort Montgomery chain was 600 yards long and made of 1 ½ inch square and 2 inch square wrought iron bars bent into shape and kept on the surface of the river by placing it across numerous log rafts.

The Great Chain at Trophy Point at West Point.
Photo credit: West Point Museum

Learn more about the Battle of the Twin Forts as Peter Cutul, Assistant Site Supervisor/Educator at Fort Montgomery State Historic Site, leader of site tours, living history demonstrations and educational programs for the past seventeen years, conducts a slide presentation on the Battles of Forts Montgomery and Clinton during the Revolutionary War. Participants will hear the harrowing story of how Patriot defenders, outnumbered 3 to 1, held off the British in a daylong fight for control of the lower Hudson River. Participants will discover why an eight-year-old boy was present on the day of the battle, and hear other first-hand accounts from some of the soldiers that fought there. Afterward, participants will learn about the extensive archeological rediscovery of Fort Montgomery and take a “virtual” tour of the site and the museum that exist today. 

To join this free event, sponsored by The Van Cortlandtville Historical Society, visit the Little Red School House at 297 Locust Avenue in Cortlandt Manor this Saturday, January 20, at 2:00 pm. For more information visit https://www.vancort.net/contact-us

Fort Montgomery display
Photo Credit: Fort Montgomery State Historic Site Facebook Page

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About the Contributor
As a Peekskill native, Dave is thrilled to be working with the Peekskill Herald showcasing featured calendar events. A 1999 graduate of PHS, he remembers reading and enjoying the original weekly print edition of the Peekskill Herald every Thursday. He especially liked the political stories, local features and sports coverage when it was written by Peekskill Runner columnist Jack Burns who always managed to weave history into the running times. An avid hiker, he enjoys exploring the local trails as well as the concrete ones in his job as a conductor for Metro North Railroad. He’s a former teacher and co-founder of the Friends of the Peekskill Dog Park, where he frequently can be found with his Koda. He’s happy to be part of the Herald’s growth as the source of local news for Peekskill and looks forward to highlighting a few of many of the events and happenings in Peekskill and the surrounding communities. Reach Dave at [email protected]