National Geographic : 1970 Jul
"Key to America," George Washington called West Point, where the United States Military Academy surveys the Hudson 45 miles north of New York City. The river, deep and narrow here, squeezes between the point and Consti tution Island, a recreation area for the cadets. Links of the Great Chain (right), each weighing more than a hundred pounds, spanned the narrow neck of water during the Revolution, blocking British warships. Huge log rafts buoyed the iron barrier. Benedict Arnold, com manding the fort, allowed the chain to fall into disrepair as part of his plan to surrender the garrison. Last-minute discovery of his double-dealing saved West Point-and perhaps the Nation's independence.