The Battle of Long Island, was expected to be when the British troops shutdown the rebellion. 32,000 British soldiers marched against 23,000 Colonials, mostly new recruits. Misunderstanding the British force size, Washington attacked, but was forced to retreat. His soldiers held off the British while giving the bulk of the army a chance to flee by boat to Manhattan. The British gave pursuit and delivered punishing strikes to the Americans. The future of the Continental Army was in doubt as it faced desertions, sparse recruits, a supply shortage, a coming winter, and the fact that independence seemed more and more like a fantasy.