Stony Point Battlefield & Lighthouse
it's a quiet almost contemplative place that
can be the most impressive. Great and important events
transported them selves through the rolling hills centuries
before. Since then, people have come to revere and honor
the location, not so much because there is anything
actually overly special about the physical location
or because there is anything monumental and in itself
awe inspiring to stand and gaze at, (although both of
these aren't true here). Rather, the place takes on
a growing stature because of the human history that
took place there and because the place itself has been
a formative focus of our history.
And it really doesn't hurt if a couple
time a day a deafening boom resounds from a cannon!
Stony Point Battlefield Historic Site
is a quiet little out of the way park created to preserve
and interpret the final major battle in the American
Revolution fought in the Hudson Valley. In the early
hours of July 16, 1779, General Anthony Wayne led his
troops against a strongly held British position on the
heights of Stony Point. In the dark of the night General
Wayne's troops crept up the flanks of Stony Point overwhelming
the British and taking the fortifications. The battle
was intense though extremely short taking less than
an hour from start to victory. The site was important
to the British as it is a high rocky peninsula jutting
out into the river commanded the Hudson River south
of the South Gate to the Highlands. From here the British
could control river traffic preventing the Colonials
from descending the river toward Manhattan.
Shortly after the battle, General
Washington inspected the captured fortifications and
determined he had insufficient men to spare to occupy
and defend the position. So on July 18th the Continental
Armies abandoned the position which within two days
was reoccupied by the British. In possession again,
they reinforced the fortifications and dug in, but even
their fortunes were about to change. Expected reinforcements
never arrived and in October of 1779 the British abandoned
the high peninsula and never again threatened the Hudson
Highlands. Stony Point proved to be a costly lesson
to the British and began to teach them about the limits
of their abilities.
Out on the far end of Stony Point,
a lighthouse was constructed in 1826 marking the dangerous
peninsula for shipping as well as warning of the entrance
to the Hudson Highlands just to the north. Today it
is the oldest lighthouse on the Hudson River. Now fully
restored and open to the public for tours, the lighthouse
provides an amazing platform for a spectacular panoramic
view of the Hudson as it flows south out of the Hudson
Highlands. Pyramidal in shape and constructed of stone
and rubble, this early lighthouse is a fascinating glimpse
back into the early technology of lighthouses.
Visiting the Battlefield and Lighthouse
is both a pleasure and a lot of fun. There is an excellent
museum at the site documenting the battle and providing
interesting three dimensional displays of the battlefield
and armaments of the time. An excellent short film offers
an historical perspective of the battle and out on the
peninsula itself, a well designed and developed series
of graphic and text plaques explain the fortifications,
the lay out, the action and give you a sense of the
people involved. On most summer weekends there are activities
and reenactments taking place. And always, there are
demonstrations of the cannon making the loudest noise
you've ever heard!
The Soldier's Camp is open on Saturday
from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday from 1:00 p.m.
and 4:00 p.m. staffing and weather permitting.
The grounds are open Monday through
Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon
until 5:00 p.m.; gate closes at 5:00 p.m.
Lighthouse tours can be arranged by
advance reservation Wednesday through Sunday, weather
and staffing permiting, from 10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call
the site office at 845-786-2521.
Artillery demonstrations presented
on Saturday and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. weather and staffing
Picnic tables are available
near the parking area and in the pavilion in the fort,
but please observe our CARRY-IN - CARRY-OUT trash policy,
and take your trash home with you. Fires are not permitted.