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Fort Lee Historic Park

Fort Lee Historic Park
Fort Lee Historic Park is located in Bergen County, New Jersey
Nearest city Fort Lee, New Jersey
Area 33 acres

Fort Lee Historic Park is located atop a bluff of the Fort Washington at the northern end of Manhattan.[3] Fort Lee is named for General Charles Lee. The site is a reconstruction of the encampment including the blockhouse, battery, quarters as well as a visitors center. It is adjacent to Palisades Interstate Park.


  • Fort Lee (American Revolutionary War) 1
    • Construction 1.1
    • Defense of the Hudson River 1.2
  • Battle of Fort Lee 2
    • Background 2.1
    • British invasion 2.2
    • American retreat 2.3
  • Fort Lee Museum and Monument Park 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Bibliography 6
  • External links 7

Fort Lee (American Revolutionary War)

1777 map detail showing the chevaux-de-frise between Fort Lee and Fort Washington

Fort Lee, originally Fort Constitution, was an American Revolutionary War fort located on the crest of the Hudson Palisades in what was then Hackensack Township, New Jersey opposite Fort Washington at the northern end of Manhattan Island.


General George Washington issued orders to General Mercer to summon all available troops and erect a fort on the west side of the Hudson River. Construction commenced in July 1776 [4] on the new fort, to be called Fort Constitution.[1] It was located on the western side of the road that led up the hill from the landing. Concurrently, Fort Washington was being built almost directly across the North River (Hudson River) in New York.[5] Chevaux-de-frise, south of the Hudson River Chain, were laid between them.[6]

Defense of the Hudson River

British warships trying to pass between Fort Lee and Fort Washington

These twin forts were intended to protect the lower Hudson from British warships. At first efforts were concentrated close to the water level near

  • "Battle of Fort Lee and Retreat Across the Jerseys". Crossroads of the American Revolution. 
  • "Fort Lee Historic Park". Palisades Interstate Park Commission. 
  • "Fort Lee Historic Park". The Palisades Park Conservancy. 
  • "Fort Lee Historic Park". Historical Marker Database. 
  • Route Description

External links

  • Adams, Arthur G. (1996). The Hudson River Guidebook. New York:  
  • Hall, Edward Hagaman (1909). "Fort Lee, New Jersey. A Sketch of its Revolutionary History". Fourteenth Annual Report. New York: The American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society. 
  • Lefkowitz, Arthur S. (1998). The Long Retreat: The Calamitous American Defense of New Jersey, 1776. New Brunswick, New Jersey:  
  • Mack, Arthur C. (1909). "Historic Old Fort Lee". The Palisades of The Hudson. Edgewater, New Jersey: The Palisade Press. 
  • Spring, John (2007). "The Invasion and the Myths Surrounding It". In Karels, Carol. The Revolutionary War in Bergen County. South Carolina: History Press.  


  1. ^ a b c d e "Revolution: Pre-Revolution". Retrieved 2009-03-11. 
  2. ^ Winson, Terrie (March 2002). "Lenni Lenape". Retrieved 2009-03-12. 
  3. ^ Adams (1996), p. 106.
  4. ^ "Wars and Battles, November 20, 1776". Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Hoy, Carla. "History and Profile, Fort Lee Historical Highlights". Retrieved 2009-03-10. 
  6. ^ Diamant, Lincoln (2004). Chaining the Hudson: The Fight for the River in the American Revolution. Fordham University Press. p. 44.  
  7. ^ a b Renner, James (October 2003). "Burdett's Ferry". Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  8. ^ Adams (1996), pp. 103–4.
  9. ^ Van Walen, James M. (1900). History of Bergen County, New Jersey. New Jersey Publishing and Engraving Co. p. 499. 
  10. ^ Cheslow, Jerry (July 30, 1995). "If You're Thinking of Living In: Edgewater; Factory Town Is Now Bedroom Community". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-16. 
  11. ^ Adams (1996), p. 105.
  12. ^ Fischer (2004), p. 121.
  13. ^ Lefkowitz (1998), p. 44.
  14. ^ Spring (2007), p. 27.
  15. ^ "Main Avenue Bridge". NYC Bridges. 2012. Retrieved 2015-05-26. 
  16. ^ "Masonry and Metal The Historic Bridges of Bergen County, New Jersey" (PDF). Richard Grubb and Associates. 2008. Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Passaic, New Jersey Revolutionary War Sites - Passaic Historic Sites". Retrieved 28 September 2015. 
  19. ^ """Full text of "Washington and his army at Acquackanonk : an incident of the retreat of 'seventy-six. Retrieved 28 September 2015. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ The British Invasion & Washington's Retreat – Nov 20-21, 1776 jpg map of Bergen County.
  22. ^
  23. ^ fort lee Monument Park
  24. ^ Fort Lee Museum
  25. ^ Thomas Paine marker
  26. ^ Fort Lee Monument Park


See also

time capsule was placed at the foot of the monument, to be opened at the Bicentennial Celebration in the year 2104. Monument Park and Continental Army Plaza in Williamsburg, Brooklyn are the only parks in the United States dedicated to the soldiers of the American Revolution.[23] [24][25][26]

Fort Lee Museum and Monument Park

The soldiers then began a hasty retreat west, crossing the Hackensack River at New Bridge Landing and the Passaic River at Acquackanonk Bridge[15][16][17][18][19] It was during Washington's retreat (beginning along a road which is now Main Street)[20][21] that Thomas Paine composed his pamphlet, "The American Crisis", which began with the recognized phrase, "These are the times that try men's souls".[22]

American retreat

Fort Lee was rendered defenseless after Nathanael Greene quickly ordered the evacuation of the fort on the morning of November 20, 1776.[14]

British invasion

Peter Bourdette's sixteen-year-old son, also named Peter, provided assistance by direct use of the landing. During the week leading up to the evacuation of Fort Lee[5] he rowed back and forth across the river gathering information for General Washington on the anticipated movements of the British forces.[9] Well after dark on the night before the battle for New York at Fort Washington, George Washington was rowed from Burdett's Landing to the middle of the Hudson River for a strategy session with his senior officers in charge of New York, who rowed to meet him.[7][10] On November 16, 1776 George Washington witnessed the battle for New York from across the river on the bluff of Fort Lee, above Burdett's Landing.[11]


The Battle of Fort Lee on November 20, 1776 marked the successful invasion of New Jersey by British and Hessian forces and the subsequent general retreat of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.

Battle of Fort Lee
Part of the American Revolutionary War

Watercolor by Captain Thomas Davies depicting the British landing at the base of the Palisades.
Date November 20, 1776 (1776-11-20)
Location Fort Lee, New Jersey vicinity
Result British victory
 United States  Great Britain
Commanders and leaders
George Washington
Nathanael Greene
Charles Cornwallis
Carl von Donop
2,000 5,000
8 guns

Battle of Fort Lee

[8][5] At this stage of the war the ferry operated as a supply line and the only link between Forts Lee and Washington.[1]

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