British General William Howe landed on the southwest shore of Long Island just days before he headed an enormous campaign to retake New York City. It was George Washington's first battle as the Commander-in-Chief of the new Continental Army and he engaged Howe in the largest conflict of the entire Revolutionary War, known as the Battle of Long Island.
Mass desertions led to Washington being vastly outnumbered, and he was defeated, forcing his army to retreat across the East River on the night of August 29. Miraculously, he achieved this feat without the loss of a single life.
New York was eventually captured and remained under British control until the peace treaty of 1783.