Before the Battle of Long Island, on 27 August 1776, General Washington and his army of less than 20,000 men controlled New York. The British general, William Howe, and his 30,000 men held Staten Island. Howe was determined to seize New York, cutting off New England. A week before Howe and his men moved, Washington learned that Howe was deploying troops to Brooklyn. Washington sent 11,000 colonial troops to Brooklyn, where his three units were surrounded and outnumbered, with Brigadier-General Stirling’s unit surrendering. On 29 August, Washington and 9,000 troops escaped to Harlem Heights during the night. On 11.00 am 16 September, British troops advanced on Harlem Heights. The British fell back as the American forces moved around the British flank. The main engagement was at 12.00. At 1.00 am, the British disengaged and retreated southwards toward the stone house of a farmer named Nicholas Jones.
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