The Record-Review – The official newspaper of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York

 

JuLY 1, 2011


Dateline: Bedford, 1778


A new book tells a fascinating story of the Revolutionary War in our backyards. “George Washington’s Westchester Gamble” by Richard Borkow brings us back to the fierce fighting of the war years, 1776 through 1781.

The years 1778 and 1779 represented the heat of war between the Colonies and Great Britain. The Revolutionaries had rejected overtures by Britain’s “Carlisle Commissioners” to grant the Colonies greater autonomy while withholding complete independence. In particular, northern fighters, who had won a string of victories — including the defeat of the British General John  Burgoyne at Saratoga — evidenced no desire to give up hard-fought gains.

Thus came the edict from London, commanding General Henry Clinton to unleash a series of attacks on New York — specifically Westchester and Long Island — in hopes of bringing the most stubborn and committed Revolutionary fighters under their control. The British hoped to bring out General George Washington to a “general action” — that is, bring him out on a single battlefield, where they anticipated defeating him in a European-style engagement. In May 1779, Clinton began his trail of terror throughout the Hudson Valley, trying to bring Washington, who was encamped at the Hudson Highlands, out of cover. Attacks took place at Stony Point in Rockland County, and at Verplanck, on the eastern shore of the Hudson. Attacks followed on Crompond, towns in Connecticut, and in Pound Ridge and in Bedford. Clinton sent Gen. William Tryon to attack shore towns, burning hundreds of dwellings, shops and vessels. Gen. Washington, aware of the British strategy, declined to meet Gen. Clinton in battle. Rather, he ordered Gen. Anthony “Mad Anthony” Wayne and a light infantry brigade of 1,200 soldiers to attack the British at Stony Point. “The light infantry charged through the gaps, routing the British defenders at bayonet point,” wrote Donald Moran in “The Storming of Stony Point.” “The ferocity of the bayonet-wielding light infantry was too much for the British defenders, who surrendered.”

By July 16, the British had surrendered the garrison. The attempts to bring Washington into a general engagement were unsuccessful, and the theater of war shifted to the south, to Charleston, S.C.

This critical defense spared the Continental Army’s commander-in-chief, encouraged France to augment its military aid — including the support of the Comte de Rochambeau and his troops — and gave the northern Colonies much-needed time to recoup from the attacks of the British.

Rochambeau was to play a key role in the final battles of the Revolution, in 1781, returning to Bedford with 5,000 French troops before heading south toward Virginia, where they held the British at the siege of Yorktown.

To commemorate the 230th anniversary of the French and American army march from Newport, R.I., to Yorktown, Va., a small band of patriots are reenacting the trek. Marching day by day in authentic period clothing, they have followed, wherever possible, every step taken by General Rochambeau’s French Army in 1781, and following the army’s schedule to the day. They are scheduled to arrive in Bedford this weekend, with a stay at Rochambeau Farm on Guard Hill Road.

This Fourth of July, let’s commemorate our heroic past by remembering these moments in our nation’s — and our towns’ — history.

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Editorial

NEWSSTAND LOCATIONS

Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    


Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    


Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


Katonah

  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Perks – 197 Katonah Avenue    

  4. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  5. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  6. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road


Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    

  2. Connie’s at Northern Westchester Hospital
    400 E. Main Street    


South Salem/Vista

  1. JNR Pharmacy – 222 Oakridge Commons;
    Route 123   


Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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