FORT TRYON

Manhattan, NY


Directions:

Take the Henry Hudson Parkway over the Spuyten Duyvil Bridge and then get off at the Dyckman Street Exit. Go up to Broadway and turn right. Go to 180th Street and turn right. Turn right and proceed straight which will take you directly into the park. Keep going and park at the first parking lot on the right across from the Cafe.


History:

Fort Washington (Tryon) was commanded by Colonel Robert Magaw, who optimistically said that he could safely evacuate his 3,000 troops whenever necessary. The British would throw 8,000 troops against them.

The fort was then called Mount Washington, 230 feet high, still the highest natural point on Manhattan. The fort itself was nothing more than a huge five-sided earthworks. Most of the men were stationed at the outer positions.

Howe sent 30 boats up the Hudson through the Spuyten Duyvil and into the Harlem River under cover of night, undetected. On the morning of Nov. 16, 1776 at 7 a.m. they opened fire on the fort.

Where the Cloisters are there was a redoubt defended by Rawlings. This was taken by the Hessians under Rall. Rall then struck at the 12 o'clock position of the fort. Crossing over the Harlem River at King's Bridge, General Knyphausen went south down the eastern valley paralleling a creek and struck at the 2 o'clock position. Matthew having crossed the Harlem River struck at the 3 o'clock position.

From the south the Hessians struck at the six o'clock postiion and Percy struck at the 5 o'clock position. They pushed by three American defense positions under the command of Cadwalader by 3 o'clock in the afternoon.

The wife of one Pennsylvania gunner, John Corbin, named Margaret Corbin, was with him behind the northern redoubt and she pitched in swabbing and loading the gun. John was shot dead by musket fire and so she took charge of the cannon, loading and firing it herself, until she was terribly wounded by grapeshot.

By 4 o'clock the battle ended.

Americans: 53 killed, 100 wounded, and 2,800 men taken prisoner. Of these prisoners 2,000 died in British prisons.

British: 458 killed and wounded


PLANT LIST:

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney


Trees:
Acer platanoides (Norway maple) 4/17/96
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Prunus sp. (cherry tree, hort.)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Ulmus americana (white elm)

Shrubs:
Buxus sempervirens (boxwood)
Chaenomeles speciosa (flowering quince) 4/19/96
Cytisus scoparius (scotch broom)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Forsythia sp. (forsythia ) 4/17/96
Erica sp. (heath) 4/19/96
Ilex opaca (American holly)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush) 4/17/96
Magnolia sp. (star magnolia)? 4/17/96
Opuntia humifusa (pearly pear cactus)
Pachysandra terminalis (pachysandra) 4/17/96
Pieris japonica (andromeda) 4/17/96
Rhododendron sp. (Korean rhododendron) 4/17/96
Rhododendron spp. (rhododendrons)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Stewartia sp. (stewartia)
Taxus canadensis (yew)
Viburnum spp. (viburnums, hort.)
Vinca minor (periwinkle) 4/17/96

Vines:
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Decumaria barbara (climbing hydrangea)
Hedera helix (English ivy)

Herbs:
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Aurinia sp. (basket of gold)
Borgania sp. (pig squeek) 4/19/96
Calluna vulgaris (heather) (needles like juniper -- all fall blooming) 4/19/96
Chinondoxa (glory of the snow) 4/19/96
Crocus spp. (spring crocus) 4/17/96
Fritallaria sp. (fritillary)
Helleborus orientalis (lenten rose) 4/17/96
Iberis sp. (candy tuft) 4/19/96
Iris spp.(dwarf irises) 4/17/96
Lamium purpureum (purple dead nettle) 4/17/96
Mertensia virginica (bluebells) 4/19/96
Muscari botryoides (grape hyacinth) 4/17/96
Narcissus spp. (daffodil) 4/17/96
Phlox subulata (moss pink) 4/19/96
Pushkinia sp. (pushkinia) 4/19/96
Ranunculus ficaria (lesser celandine) 4/17/96
Scilla sp. (squill) 4/17/96
Senecio vulgaris (groundsel) 4/19/96
Stellaria media (common chickweed) 4/17/96
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion) 4/17/96
Tulipa spp. (tulips) 4/17/96
Viola sororia (common blue violet) 4/17/96
Viola sp. (white violet) 4/17/96
Viola tricolor (Johnny jump ups) 4/19/96
lamb's ear
lavender

Grasses:
Poa annua (annual bluegrass)


FORT TRYON PARK
March 28, 1936

21 members and guests of the Torrey Club took the trip through Fort Tryon Park, commencing at the south end, just above the 191st Street Station of the Independent Subway. This new park, estimated at from 50 to 60 acres, runs along the high rocky ridge which is the "backbone" of upper Manhattan, overlooking Riverside Drive and the Hudson River to the westward. The park ends at the northern terminus of Riverside Drive, where the latter comes in to Dyckman Street.

The land was acquired about 5 years ago by Mr. John D. Rockefeller who, after having it landscaped, presented it to the City of New York as a park.

The landscaping has been carried out in a most expert manner, and this, together with its natural advantages, makes the area without doubt one of the most beautiful parks in the eastern U.S. About 1,600 kinds of trees, shrubs, and herbs have been planted. In addition to these are a large number of rare trees, planted many years ago, and a wide variety of native trees and shrubs growing mostly near the north end, so that, besides its scenic charm, it contains an unusually comprehensive botanical collection. Furthermore, Fort Tryon itself, which was located at the highest point of the ridge, was an old Revolutionary stronghold.

On this particular Saturday, much of the Swiss Heath (Erica carnea) along the "heather beds" was in flower; Jasminium nudiflorum, the Chinese Jasmine, which has been planted high up on rocky cliffs, showed pendent festoons of its flower which mimic the Forsythia most convincingly with their shade of yellow; the silver maples had finished flowering, and the red maple buds were just ready to open. Cornus mas was just commencing to unfold its yellow flowers.

Among the other trees and shrubs seen were: Ilex crenata, glabra, and opaca, native hackberries and Sassafras, Pinus strobus, and Paulownia tomentosa, the two last apparently planted long ago, Carya cordiformis, Prunus avium, and Prunus virens, the last housed during the winter in a burlap covering.

Arthur H. Graves