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.