Four months before the Battle of Trenton, the turning point of the American Revolution, the fate and the future of our planet were forever changed by what happened at the little-known Battle of Brooklyn.
After the British abandoned Boston in March 1776, their next campaign was in New York. Their plan was to isolate New York and New England from the rest of the colonies. A large British force of approximately 32,000 soldiers opposed about 19,000 soldiers of the Continental Army.
On Aug. 27, 1776, the British caught Washington’s outnumbered army off guard. It looked like the end of the dream that became the United States. But something happened. Historian David McCullough said, “Incredibly, yet again, circumstances—fate, luck, Providence, the hand of God, as would be said so often–intervened.”
First, a small group of 400 soldiers from Maryland were able to fight and save the army from a complete rout. This allowed a larger group of Americans to retreat to Brooklyn Heights and avoid capture. Expecting the Americans to surrender, British General William Howe ordered his men to stop the attack and dig trenches around the Continental Army. With the British army on one side, and the East River on the other, the Americans were trapped. Howe expected British ships to sail around and cut off the Americans from their only line of retreat across the East River to Manhattan.
But the ships never came. Why? Because there was not enough wind to get them there. Though there had been tremendous winds the day before, the Maker of wind stopped it.
That meant Washington had the night to secretly get 9,000 men across the East River. Working throughout the rainy night, the oarsmen in the boats crossed the river multiple times to deliver soldiers to the other side. But when the sun rose, there was still a large part of the Continental Army left in Brooklyn. These men likely would have been killed or captured if they did not cross the river, losses the Americans could not afford.
Then it happened again. That morning a heavy fog settled over the area and the rest of the Continental Army were able to conceal their movements from the British. As the fog lifted, the British were left in amazement as the Continental Army had vanished.
Don’t think for a moment that it was the lack of wind or a fog that saved our nation! God’s hand was in the founding of this nation. Our nation was built upon the principles of his word. Our constitution exists to protect the freedom and rights He has given us. And though we’re not perfect, Dr. King reminds us that our founding documents are promissory notes to the future. And because of God’s hand on our nation, we’ve been a beacon of light and freedom to the world. Happy birthday, U.S.A.!
Jim Mann, Ph.D., pastors New Life Church at Robson Ranch. This interdenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. and online. Visit www.newlifedenton.org for more information or www.drjimmann.com.