Where in the Hudson Valley Contest: “Iron Ally” Great Chain
The Colonial troops’ Revolutionary blockade
Travelers from across the world, as well as local residents, can visit a notable Valley “college town” while embracing our nation’s rich history. Renowned for educating some of America’s greatest military leaders (and many U.S. presidents), this unique area is home to remarkable sites, buildings, and monuments — including the one pictured here.
Used during the Revolutionary War to prevent British warships from entering and gaining control of the upper Hudson River, the “Great Chain” was installed under the direction of Army Captain Thomas Machin on April 30, 1778. Nearly five football fields in length, the 65-ton chain was constructed at a foundry in Warwick, transported upriver, and strategically stretched across the waterway at its narrowest part — from the western shore to a large island with a patriotic name. British ships approaching this point in the river were forced to proceed slowly in order to navigate the narrow curves; their advancement was further hindered when they encountered these massive iron links — which left them vulnerable to Colonial cannons along the shoreline. The chain proved to be a remarkably effective deterrent: enemy vessels made no attempt to break through the barrier.
Following the Americans’ Revolutionary victory, most of the chain was melted down for other uses, but a portion of it was saved. Thirteen of the 114-pound links were preserved to represent each of the original states. An additional 16 pieces, pictured above, were joined together in a circular fashion to create this monument, which sits on the grounds of the oldest active military base in the United States. The frequently visited site is popular for its historical value, and serves as a constant reminder of the pride, leadership, and success of our great nation.
Do you know where this ironclad obstacle is on display? Submit your answer as a comment in the box below; the first reader with the correct response wins a prize. Good luck!