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Long recognized as a strategically
important location on the Hudson River, West Point
has long been the site of encampments, fortifications
and military activity.
The strategic importance
of West Point is that the river is forced into two
opposing 90 degree turns, a dogs leg turn. In the
days of sail power, ships were forced to tack twice,
an extremely exposed maneuver, as they passed the
Recognizing this position,
General Washington established the first major fortifications
here to guard the approaches of the Hudson River,
effectively blockading the British into the lower
Valley. Despite repeated attempts, both from the north
as well as from New York City in the south, the Point
was never compromised and continued to keep the British
Burgoyne was unable to
reach far enough south and Cornwalis was never able
to charge north splitting the colonies into two halves.
West Point and its defenders kept the revolutionary
spirit alive by keeping commerce flowing between the
northern colonies and their sisters to the south.
Not even the betrayal of the Commander of West Point,
Benedict Arnold, in an attempt to surrender the Point,
succeeded in allowing the British to cleave the Colonies
High atop West Point is
a site now known as Trophy Point. From this special
place you can view the Hudson as it twists around
West Point and makes its final turn to the north out
through the North Gate. On a mildly clear day you
can see the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, Interstate 84,
as it crosses the Hudson and in the far distance the
imposing Catskill Mountains springing up north of
Kingston. The view is spectacular, one of the most
impressive to be found in the whole of the Hudson
Behind the view, under
the trees, visitors picnic around and between the
large collection of cannon, trophies, on display.
Beyond the trees the Parade Grounds of West Point
and the Academy buildings are filled with cadets continuing
the traditions first established on this spot in the
American Revolution of "the long gray line."