Brigadier General George Clinton, the Governor of New York State, commanded Fort Montgomery during the battle of October 6, 1777. Aware the British were approaching, he ordered some of his men to take a 3-pounder cannon down the western road leading to the fort to slow the enemy. The Americans temporarily stopped the 900 advancing British and Loyalist soldiers under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Mungo Campbell, but were eventually forced to abandon their gun and return to the fort.
As Governor Clinton was rallying his men to continue the fight, a roaring cheer went up from Fort Clinton, proclaiming its capture by the British. Governor Clinton and more than half of the Americans escaped from Fort Montgomery, taking advantage of the battle's haze and the growing darkness. By nightfall, the British controlled both forts, and the Battle of Fort Montgomery was over. All subsequent testimonies by the officers agreed that the soldiers had fought bravely, but that there simply had not been enough men to defend the forts adequately.