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British Account of the Taking of Fort Lafayette

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

On Monday morning, the thirty-first of May, part of the army, under the command of Major-General Vaughan, landed on the east side of Hudson River, about eight miles below Verplanck’s Point. The corps intended to land on the west side, under his excellency the commander-in-chief, with Major-General Pattison, proceeded up within three miles of Stony Point, where they landed, about which time the rebels, who had a block-house and some unfinished works on a height of that point, commanding the ferry, as well as Fort la Fayette on the east side of the river, set fire to the block-house, and ran off to the mountains. That corps, about four o’clock in the afternoon, continued their march round, and took possession of the heights; during this time the galleys fired some shot at Fort la Fayette, on the east side of Verplanck’s Point; these were returned from the fort, which was a small but complete work. Artillery was now necessary in order to expedite the business; his excellency the general ordered Major-General Pattison to command the troops and carry on the attack. In the night, the artillery for that service, notwithstanding great difficulties from a bad landing place and a very steep precipice, were got up, and batteries completed by five o’clock in the morning, when orders were given for firing upon the enemy’s works; which, notwithstanding the great distance, was soon perceived to be effectual. The galleys and batteries continued the cannonade about two hours, when the main body, under Major-General Vaughan, having made a detour and approached the fort, the commander-in-chief being there in person, sent orders to General Pattison and the galleys to cease firing, the enemy having surrendered; they laid down their arms, became prisoners of war, and on Thursday morning arrived in New York.

The commodore had, previous to the attack, ordered up the Vulture sloop-of-war above the fort, with a row-galley, which prevented the enemy’s retreat from the fort.1


1 Gaine’s Mercury, June 7