Surprise Victory in 1776

On May 23, 1776 at Sag Harbor, New York, Patriot troops under the command of Lieutenant Colonel R. Jonathan Meigs captured several British vessels and burned tons of Redcoat supplies.

With the help of two local men, Meigs and his Connecticut raiders grabbed the British garrison commander from his bed in the wee hours of the morning, firing only one gunshot. Instead of guns, the Patriots used bayonets to capture the British fort, successfully avoiding announcing their presence with gunfire.

With six Redcoats dead and 53 captive from their success on land, the Patriots moved from the hilltop fort towards the harbor. The British ships anchored there eventually noticed the body of men in long boats moving towards them and opened fire. The Patriots, though, went on to burn 24 British ships and their cargoes of hay, rum, grain and other merchandise. With an additional 37 prisoners in custody, the 170 Yankee raiders returned to Connecticut without having lost a single man in their party.

The Sag Harbor ambush was the only successful Patriot attack on Long Island between the British takeover in 1776 and their departure following the Treaty of Paris in 1783.