Fort Lee

Text from William Wade

 

The next object of notice after passing Manhattanville, and the highest point on New York Island is Fort Washington, two hundred and thirty-eight feet above the river. In 1776, when the British held the city of New York, this post, with Fort Lee, directly opposite, were vainly supposed to be sufficient to keep the communication up the Hudson in the possession of the Americans; but after sustaining an assault and siege, in which the enemy lost nearly a thousand men, the garrison, two thousand militia, surrendered, November 16, 1776. The fall of Fort Washington involved the evacuation of Fort Lee. We witness now a very different state of feeling from that which prevailed in this region in the times of the Revolution, when colonels made drummers and fifers of their sons, and ate with them at table; when General Putnam could be seen riding about in his shirt sleeves, with his hanger over his open vest; when his nephew, Colonel Putnam, carried his rations of beef to his tent in his fingers, to "show the officers a good lesson of humility; when a little squat officer, whose odd garb and uncouth deportment excited the curiosity of the British officers, answered in reply to a question concerning his rank, I am a keppun, Sir.

The site of Fort Lee is on the brow of the Palisades, a short distance from the river and three hundred feet above it.


Fort Lee was incorprated in 1904. The fort is no longer standing but is commemorated today by a park. The population in 1990 was 31,997.