Chains Across the River - A Novel of the American Revolution

Chains Across the River - A Novel of the American Revolution

by Bevis Longstreth
Chains Across the River - A Novel of the American Revolution

Chains Across the River - A Novel of the American Revolution

by Bevis Longstreth


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In the Revolution, a British deserter could become a traitor to the Crown by joining the Continental Army and there become a hero. Chains Across the River tells the enthralling tale of one such soldier, Captain Thomas Machin, a brilliant engineer of flawed character born, educated and trained in England. He enlisted in the British Foot and was posted to Boston, where he saw action at Breed's Hill before deserting to join the Continentals.

Observing Machin's engineering skill and practical bent, Washington ordered Machin to the Hudson River, there to imagine, design and install obstructions to block the British Armada gathering in New York Harbor. Both sides believed control of the river a strategic necessity.

The immensity of Washington's charge was matched by Machin's audacity in imagining obstructions capable of stopping an 850-ton warship under full sail and following tide. He installed a chain at Fort Montgomery and, when the British overran that Fort and cut the chain, he installed another at West Point.

Filling out the story of Thomas Machin are the unforgettable women in his life, Elizabeth Van Horne and Caroline Filippante.

Why historians devote little attention to Machin is explained by what didn't happen on the Hudson. The British cut the first chain without testing it and never sailed against the second. Washington and Machin understood the chain could deter without being tested. In these pages the known facts about Machin have been woven into an Homeric-like tale of daring, adventure, intrigue and triumph.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780578750507
Publisher: Honeycomb Publishers
Publication date: 04/02/2021
Pages: 278
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.88(d)

About the Author

BEVIS LONGSTRETH is the author of three historical novels: Spindle and Bow, Return of the Shade, and Boats Against the Current. He is a retired partner of the international law firm, Debevoise & Plimpton, where he practiced for his entire legal career, except for Government service in Washington as a Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission from 1981‑84. He authored Modern Portfolio Management and the Prudent Man Rule (Oxford University Press 1987), a book arguing for interpretative change in the legal standard of care exercisable by fiduciaries responsible for other people's money to reflect current developments in finance economics. He lives in Manhattan, New York with his wife, Clara, and their dog, McKenzie. They have three children and nine grandchildren. See for further information about the author and his writings.

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