Military Milestones from Golden Hill to Desert Storm
by W. Thomas Smith Jr.
Jan. 19-20, 1770: The little-known but historically significant Battle of Golden Hill erupts in New York City between a group of angry Manhattan patriots and a contingent of British soldiers.
The clash begins when members of the patriot organization “Sons of Liberty” snatch a few of the King’s men, who are cutting down wooden “liberty poles” (symbols of resistance against British rule) which had been erected by the “Sons.” The redcoats also were reportedly posting bills condemning the Sons of Liberty as “the real enemies of society.” A struggle ensues. Redcoats from the nearby barracks respond, and a bayonet charge is ordered. Several are wounded on both sides, and one civilian is killed.
Less than seven weeks before the Boston Massacre, the Battle of Golden Hill is considered by some historians as the first armed clash of the American Revolution.