During the active movements of the British and Colonial
armies in the East, all was excitement on Staten Island.
The arrival of the mail-coach at Richmond Town was each
day greeted by hundreds of people, and the news from the
seat of war created animated controversies that resulted in hand-to-
The population of the Island consisted of about three thousand
people, including men, women, children and slaves. The men were
about evenly divided in their support of the English government,
and families soon became disunited and at enmity over the vital
issues of the day. The first movement, however, that resulted in open
disloyalty to the King; was the partial organization of two military
companies which offered their services to General Washington.
Before the General’s answer could be received, the British army arrived,
With all its pomp and glitter, and the inexperienced natives were so
terrified that they thought it wiser to be on the stronger side, and so
consented to be mustered into the King’s service.
This was a stinging blow to the patriots who were anxious that
Staten Island should be in possession of the Colonial army, and they
called a secret meeting at Smoking Point (Rossville) for the purpose
of recruiting citizen soldiers who were opposed to the oppression of
the parent government. But the leaders were betrayed and the meeting