Join Bruce for the “Turn the American Revolution on Its Head” Tour – View schedule and Book via Airbnb
It is rare to hear the whole truth about New York City’s role in the Revolutionary War. It’s embarrassing. It’s problematic. It’s mostly forgotten—and for good reason. Even when it is mentioned by the occasional tour guide or random sign, it is still glossed over, finessed, and given the best possible spin, which isn’t much. The truth is that many, many New Yorkers supported the losing side. They didn’t necessarily approve of the way things had been going in the colony, but definitely didn’t want a revolution… and they were prepared to give everything to stop it. Join Bruce for a walking tour on Sunday, August 25 (just days before the 1776 Battle of Brooklyn Anniversary) through lower Manhattan of the Revolutionary War–from the Loyalist perspective: we will Turn the American Revolution on its Head.
It will tell the story of those who signed up to fight against Washington and the Rebels, of those who hoped for change through other means, of those who found their freedom by siding with the British. We will also tell the story of New York’s role as the as the Headquarters for British forces for the seven long years of the War and as the center of Loyalist support in America. We will walk through lower Manhattan and talk about the sites and people and stories from this often untold or hurried-over perspective and understand how precarious and precious the eventual rebel victory actually was.
In the heat of August 1776 New York entered the Revolutionary War with nothing less than the largest battle ever waged in North America—The King’s Army had arrived in the tens of thousands to show the rebels that there was no hope in their cause, and, if necessary, to demonstrate with overwhelming force that reconciliation was the only way forward. That fight—the Battle of Brooklyn—was meant to end the war before it really began. And it almost did! It was a humiliating defeat for George Washington and the rebel army. But instead of the hoped-for peace, it was only the first bloody step in a seven-years long war. New York would remain throughout the entire war as the headquarters not only for the King’s Army, but also for all Americans who believed in supporting and remaining loyal to the King. It was the haven for all who saw their best opportunity for continuing the way things were—or for change—or for freedom—or for profit and intrigue. These are the stories of the sons and daughters of New Yorkers’ best families, escaped slaves, soldiers, spies, corrupt officials and peace-loving politicians turned warriors all gathered under the banner of “Loyalists”. They were convinced they had done the right thing, made the best choice, and instead watched their world come apart in slow motion until they were finally expelled from it.