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Governors Island National Monument
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NameGovernors Island National Monument
Brief DescriptionNational Monument
TypeAttraction
CategoryNational Park
DescriptionGovernors Island is a 172-acre island located a half-mile from the southern tip of Manhattan in New York harbor. Its name comes the time when New York was a British colony and the colonial assembly reserved the island for the exclusive use of New York's royal governors. When the American Revolution began in 1776, George Washington ordered the island to be fortified with earthworks just prior to the Battle of Long Island (also known as the Battle of Brooklyn) - the first ever engagement of the fledgling Continental Army with British forces. The island's artillery covered the retreat of the Continental Army, preventing the revolution from a swift and devastating end, but New York City remained under British occupation for the remainder of the conflict. With American independence from Britain in 1783, New York and the nation were determined to prevent any future occupation of the city and its strategic waterways by an enemy power. Towards that end, two fortifications were placed on Governors Island in the years preceding the War of 1812 as part of an extensive coastal defense system. The first, Fort Jay, is a square five bastioned fort started in the 1790's. The second, Castle Williams, is a circular casemated work completed in 1811. The two forts are among the best remaining examples of First System (Fort Jay) and Second System (Castle Williams) American coastal fortification. During the Civil War, Castle Williams held Confederate prisoners of war. After the war, it was used as a military stockade and became the east coast counterpart to military prisons at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. In 1878 the military installation on the island, then known as Fort Columbus, became a major Army administrative center and, in 1939, the headquarters of the United States First Army. When the Army left Governors Island in 1966, the installation became a U.S. Coast Guard base - the largest in the world. It's closing in 1997 concluded a
Phone 1(212) 825-3045
Handicapped AccessibleNo
Websitewww.nps.gov/gois/index.htm
Last Updated1/23/2013
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Governors Island National Monument - New York, NY 10292

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