The Battle of Long Island, including the valiant delaying attacks of the Maryland 400, was fought 240 years ago today, August 27, 1776.
The contingent of General Washington's Continental Army on Long Island numbered 10,000 comparatively ill-trained and ill-equipped citizen soldiers from various states. They were outnumbered 2 to 1 by the British Army—the best army in the world at the time, which was supplemented by Hessian mercenaries. Washington's forces were defeated soundly, but after the battle, under the cover of night and fog, they escaped across the harbor to Manhattan—sort of an American mini-Dunkirk.
New York City, which, unlike Boston, was a largely Loyalist town, was occupied by the British after the battle.
During the battle, a roughly 260-man contingent of the 1st Maryland Regiment twice attacked a position of 2,000 British soldiers at Vecthe-Cortelyou House as a delaying action while the rest of the regiment made their retreat. How the 260 men came to be known by history as 400 isn't clear. The work of the 1st Maryland that day, including that of the Maryland "400", is the source of the state of Maryland's nickname, the Old Line State.