Fort Clinton

Text from William Wade

The other fort (Fort Clinton) was much better defended. It was built upon a rocky ridge, the only approach to which was over a bare open space about a hundred yards long, with a lake on one side, and a precipice and the Hudson on the other. Felled trees had been thrown across this space, so that the enemy could advance neither rapidly nor in order, and the advance was to be made in the mouth of the artillery of the fort, while they had not a single gun to respond or to cover their movement. Clinton ordered them, for the sake of expedition, to rush on without firing to the fortifications, and enter them by the embrasures through which the American guns were pointed. His order was literally obeyed. With a most determined bravery they came on, sometimes on their feet, sometimes crawling on all-fours over the trunks of trees, all the way under a fire such as Americans only can give, until they got to the foot of the works. They had no ladders, no implements of any kind, so they climbed on one another's shoulders up into the embrasures, pushed aside the warm cannon, and charged the garrison with the bayonet. The defence was still gallantly maintained. The garrison, who only numbered between three and four hundred, gradually retired across the rampart, but they rallied at its head. The whole British force was by this time in the fort, and the garrison was dislodged by superior numbers. They retired across the esplanade, and discharged a murderous volley of musketry; but further defence would have been useless, and they soon after submitted. Many, however, escaped under cover of the night by swimming over the creek between the two forts, or mixing with the British soldiers. They lost but three hundred men in all, and of these the prisoners were by far the most numerous class. Governor Clinton, who was in the fort that bore his name, passed the river in a boat, and escaped as did his brother General James Clinton, though wounded in the thigh by a bayonet. At the storming of this fort, Count Grabowsky, a Polish nobleman, who fought for king George, and acted as aid to Sir H. Clinton, was slain. He fell at the foot of the works, having received three wounds. In no instance during the whole war was there more determined resolution exhibited, than in the attack and defence of Fort Clinton.

Map of the Battle of Fort Clinton and Montgomery