Although Stony Point and Verplanck's Point became a focus of British strategy in 1779, they had shown interest in the Hudson Highlands before. On October 6, 1777, the British had landed here and attacked Forts Clinton and Montgomery, seven miles to the north, withdrawing two weeks later, after sailing up the Hudson River and burning the city of Kingston.
On May 30, 1779, the British returned. Six thousand troops left New York City, by land and water, and moved toward Stony Point. The next day, while 40 American soldiers were finishing a blockhouse near where you are standing, the first British ships appeared in Haverstraw Bay. The soldiers burned the blockhouse and fled.
After the Battle of Stony Point, the Americans destroyed the fort, removed the prisoners, and captured supplies and equipment, including 15 pieces of artillery. Two days later, General Washington abandoned the peninsula, having determined that it could not be defended against the combined might of the British army and navy.
When the Americans withdrew, the British returned, and built a second fort with blockhouses surrounded by an abatis, but the war continued to expand; by 1779, Crown forces were fighting the French and the Spanish, now allied with the Americans. The additional burdon on military resources and a lack or reinforcements compelled the British to abandon the forts at Stony Point and Verplanck's Point in October 1779. The American victory at Stony Point was the last major battle in the north. British efforts would now shift to the south, culminating with their defeat in 1781 at Yorktown, Virginia.