George Washington & The Miracle of the Battle at Brooklyn Heights!
Two purposes for the miraculous are:
1.To make God’s name known (Josh4:24; 1Kgs8:60)
2.Authenticates the one through or for whom God works the
miracle (Acts2:22; Heb2:4)
The miracles of our founding authenticate God’s stamp of approval upon the United States of America.
In August of 1776, at Brooklyn Heights, New York, British General William Howe lined-up 32,000 crack soldiers against America’s 8,000 troops, 1500 of which were raw recruits without a single day of military training. The British army not only outnumbered, but out-experienced, out-Generaled; and out-gunned the Americans*. On paper, General George Washington and the Americans faced IMPOSSIBLE odds—it was the classic David vs Goliath scenario*. As the fighting which became known as the battle for Long Island began, the odds were holding true as 1500 Americans were immediately captured or killed.* The British forced the Americans up against the mile wide East River, and formed a semi-circle around them. In the natural, it appeared the ‘War for Independence’ was about to end just one month after it began.* The only two available options appeared to be annihilation or surrender. While surrender seemed unthinkable Washington’s Generals encouraged him to fight to the last man. However, God had a third option—the ‘Miracle of Brooklyn Heights’!
Part of the new recruits were men from Massachusetts who could row boats without a sound.* They became critical to the Miracle because the only route available was the East river. At the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Washington ordered every boat they could find to be used to retreat the 1 mile across the river. His Generals argued for the impossibility of such an attempt*, but Washington’s word prevailed.
Incredibly, the ‘Miracle’ began with the stormy weather that kept the British ships from sailing up the East River to complete their encirclement of the American army*—BUT—the weather
did not keep the smaller boats from evacuating the American army across the river!!! The waters were so turbulent that the boats could only be partially filled with American soldiers*. Around midnight however, the harsh weather ceased, allowing the Americans to continue their evacuation all night long. On the other hand, the British still could not sail-up the East River to complete the encirclement, because it was now too dark*. The skill to row without a sound by the Massachusetts rowers became critical in preventing the British from hearing the evacuation. Furthermore, the quietness of the night gave the British confidence that they could delay their attack til morning.
Incredibly, the Miracle was just beginning! As the Americans were landing on the opposite of the East River, a family of British sympathizers saw what was happening and sent a servant to alert General Howe*. The servant was able to slip past the Americans, but incredibly, ran into Hessians, who were German-speaking mercenary allies of the British. Incredibly, because the servant could not speak German*, the Hessians detained him until morning.* When the British finally arrived the next morning to question the servant, it was too late!
The best part of the ‘Miracle’ however, is yet to come. The Americans continued their evacuation under the cover of darkness all night. However, as dawn approached there were still American soldiers that had not yet been evacuated. Just as the sun’ rays began to peak over the horizon, incredibly---a dense fog began to rise from the earth!* The fog rested only upon the areas covering both the American and British encampments!* Both British and American reports described the scene, but Major Ben Tallmadge, an American officer, described it best:
“As the dawn of the next day approached, those of us who remained in the trenches became very anxious for our own safety, and when the dawn appeared there were several regiments still on duty. At this time a very dense fog began to rise and it seemed to settle in a peculiar manner over both encampments. I recollect this peculiar Providential occurrence perfectly well; and so very dense was the atmosphere that I could scarcely discern a man at six yards distance.”
Incredibly,* the fog began to lift just as the last boat of Americans pushed-off from the shore. The British sentinels saw what was happening and ran down to the shore, but the boats were just out of range. And finally, British troops arrived after having learned of the evacuation from the servant of the British-sympathizer, but again—it was too late!
By God’s grace, Washington successfully evacuated all of the American troops to safety without loss of life or supplies. It was God’s Providence that birthed and miraculously saved American Independence as a sign (Gen1:14; Deut29:2,3) that God’s good hand(Ezra8:18) is both upon and guiding the United States of America!
*These events are all part of the providence of God! In other words, God was sovereignly making the Brooklyn Heights situation even more more impossible that the world might know the power of His miraculous intervention.
Man maintains his balance, poise, and sense of security only as he is moving forward.
The miraculous works of God affirm and confirm!
10.All thy works shall praise thee…
11.They shall speak (God’s works) of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power;
12.To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his
In my February 21 tidbit, I wrote of the “Bullet Proof George Washington” as my first miracle affirming and confirming the hand of God upon George Washington as the first president of the United States. The betrayal by Benedict Arnold is yet another miracle.
General Benedict Arnold participated in several Continental Army victories at the beginning of the War for Independence. For example, along with Ethan Allen, Arnold helped with the capture of a British Garrison at Fort Ticonderoga. He led an American flotilla against the British General Guy Carlton at Lake Champlain, delaying him just enough time for General Carlton’s forces to arrive in New York too late for the battle season, forcing his army to return to Canada. Arnold’s heroic effort helped avert potential disaster for the Americans.
However, he resigned from the Continental Army after Congress promoted five men before him, but George Washington talked him into returning. He then played a pivotal role in the surrender of British General John Burgoyne at Saratoga in 1777. Subsequently, while serving under General Horatio Gates, whom he despised, he defied direct orders and took a contingent of American soldiers and won a battle at Bemis Heights on October 7, 1777. News of this victory caused France to enter the war on the side of the Americans. However, General Gates took all the credit, multiplying the hatred between the two men.
After Arnold re-injured his leg in the Bemis Heights battle, he was temporarily forced to accept the position of military governor of Philadelphia in 1778. Tragically, he began to accept bribes, and married a much younger woman named Peggy Shippen, the daughter of a man suspected to be a Tori—who immediately began to speak in his ear against the Americans. The final straw happened in 1779 when he began secret negotiations with the British to betray the fort at West Point in New York in exchange for money and a command in the British army.
Now…the scene is set for the miraculous power of God to:
1.Make His Name known among the nations!
2.To affirm and confirm His purpose for America!
Arnold’s contact with the Red Coats was British Major John Andre. Arnold gave Major Andre critical information on how and when to capture the Fort, which would have led to the British either capturing or killing George Washington. The information was hidden in the heal of Major Andre’s boot. Upon Andre’s return to a British-held region, I repeat, he was already in British territory; he ‘just so happened’ to cross the path of 3 men, one of which was wearing a British-Hessian coat, whom Major Andre assumed were British. However, the 3 men ‘just so happened’ to be Americans who had just escaped from a British prison camp. After Major Andre ‘just so happened’ to talk too much--remember the old adage, “Loose lips sink ships”--the 3 men suspected him, arrested him, and decided to search him!! Miraculously, they found the information in the heal of his boot. Major Andre began pleading with them, offering huge sums of money to let him go…but being patriots—they refused. Later George Washington wrote about the 3 men, “they were offered, I am informed, a large sum of money for his release, and as many goods as they would demand, but without effect. Their conduct gives them a just claim to the thanks of their country.”*
BUT…the greatest miracle was yet to come!!! The 3 patriots marched Andre back through British territory, to what ‘just so happened’ to be the nearest American outpost, where the commanding officer carried the news to his immediate superior.
Do you want to take one guess who that ‘SUPERIOR’ officer was? YEP—in the providence of God—it was General Benedict Arnold!!! I repeat, the 3 patriots brought General Arnold’s own plot right back to him!! Of course, the traitor and coward Benedict Arnold immediately crossed over to the ‘dark’ side.
George Washington wrote: “Treason of the blackest dye was yesterday discovered! General Arnold, who commanded at West Point, lost to every sentiment of honor, of public and private obligation, was about to deliver up that important post into the hands of the enemy. Such an event must have given the American cause a deadly wound if not a fatal stab. Happily, the treason has been timely discovered to prevent the fatal misfortune. The Providential train of circumstances which led to it affords the most convincing proof that the liberties of America are the object of Divine protection.”**
Subsequently, Washington wrote to John Laurens, “In no instance since the commencement of the War has the interposition of Providence appeared more conspicuous than in the rescue of the post and garrison of West Point from Arnold’s villainous perfidy (treachery).***
And, when the Congress heard, they declared a NATIONAL day of prayer and thanksgiving!!!**** I repeat, the ‘Congress’ of the United States declared a day of prayer and thanksgiving---to GOD---for the deliverance of West Point from Arnold’s betrayal!!!
Not to be excluded from this incredibly miracle, John Hancock, the Governor of Massachusetts, ALSO declared a day of Thanksgiving for his state!!!! He wrote, “the late [recent] remarkable interposition of His [God’s] watchful Providence in rescuing the person of our Commander-in-Chief [George Washington] and the Army from imminent dangers at the moment when treason was ripened for execution…” He then encouraged the people to “offer up their devout and thankful acknowledgements” to Almighty God.*****
The miracle of revealing the betrayal of Benedict Arnold demonstrates once and again:
1.God’s hand of protection upon America
2.God’s call to liberty on America
3.God’s call on America to the world
*Washington, Writings (1835), 7:220, to the President of Congress on September 26, 1780.
**Washington, Revolutionary Orders (1844), 109, September 26, 1780
*** Washington, Writings (1835), 7:256, to John Laurens on October 13, 1780
****Journals of the American Congress: from 1774-1788 (Washington DC: Wand and Gideon, 1823), 3:537-538, Day of Thanksgiving, October 18, 1780 [Evans #16748].
*****John Hancock, “A Proclamation for a Day of Thanksgiving,” issued November 8, 1780.
The only difference between the rut and the grave is its depth- Mark Sanborn