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Panoramas: Lower Valley
West Point's Trophy Point
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Long recognized as a strategically important location on the Hudson River, West Point has long been the site of encampments, fortifications and military activity.

The strategic importance of West Point is that the river is forced into two opposing 90 degree turns, a dogs leg turn. In the days of sail power, ships were forced to tack twice, an extremely exposed maneuver, as they passed the point.

Recognizing this position, General Washington established the first major fortifications here to guard the approaches of the Hudson River, effectively blockading the British into the lower Valley. Despite repeated attempts, both from the north as well as from New York City in the south, the Point was never compromised and continued to keep the British bottled up.

Burgoyne was unable to reach far enough south and Cornwalis was never able to charge north splitting the colonies into two halves. West Point and its defenders kept the revolutionary spirit alive by keeping commerce flowing between the northern colonies and their sisters to the south. Not even the betrayal of the Commander of West Point, Benedict Arnold, in an attempt to surrender the Point, succeeded in allowing the British to cleave the Colonies in two.

High atop West Point is a site now known as Trophy Point. From this special place you can view the Hudson as it twists around West Point and makes its final turn to the north out through the North Gate. On a mildly clear day you can see the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, Interstate 84, as it crosses the Hudson and in the far distance the imposing Catskill Mountains springing up north of Kingston. The view is spectacular, one of the most impressive to be found in the whole of the Hudson Valley.

Behind the view, under the trees, visitors picnic around and between the large collection of cannon, trophies, on display. Beyond the trees the Parade Grounds of West Point and the Academy buildings are filled with cadets continuing the traditions first established on this spot in the American Revolution of "the long gray line."

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