Chaining the Hudson: The Fight for the River in the American Revolution

Lincoln Diamont, Author, Lincoln Diamant, Author
Lincoln Diamont, Author, Lincoln Diamant, Author Carol Publishing Corporation $21.95 (233p) ISBN 978-0-8184-0502-0
Reviewed on: 06/01/1989
Release date: 06/01/1989
This well-researched chronicle covers the struggle for control of the Hudson highlands and of the strategically vital waterway itself from 1775 to 1783. The narrative is concerned principally with military/naval inventions produced by ``rebel genius'' for use in that particular zone of operations during the Revolutionary War. They include flaming-tower signal systems, ingenious shallow-water obstructions and the first torpedo-carrying submarine. With one exception, none were great successes. In 1778, Lt. Thomas Machin of the Continental Army devised and directed the forging and assembly of a 1700-foot chain, which was then winched across the Hudson at West Point and provided with a shock-absorbing boom. The barrier proved to be a turning-point in the war, as it prevented the Royal Navy from ascending the river and splitting the colonies. Diamant's ( Bernard Romans ) painstaking reconstruction of this remarkable engineering feat is impressive. He goes on to trace the chain's fate after its ``honorable retirement'' in 1782. Most of it was sold to ironmongers, but segments have turned up in unlikely places, including a Beverly Hills antique shop, in recent years. Illustrations. (May)
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