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A Crucial Revolutionary War, Campaign Map
Westchester/ Revolutionary War.
FADEN, W./ SAUTHIER, C. [London, Feb. 25, 1777]
A Plan Of The Operations of the King’s Army under the Command of General Sr. William Howe, K.B. In New York And East New Jersey, against the American Forces Commanded By General Washington, From the 12.th of October, to the 28.th of November 1776. . . .
28 ½ x 19 ¼ inches
Original wash color; slight wear, margins extended but no loss of engraved surface, very good condition overall.
Very scarce. The first state of the definitive map of a pivotal period of the American Revolution, when the survival of the American cause was very much in the balance. It covers the Westchester campaign and the beginning of the retreat of Continental Army through New Jersey. The map was the work of a British military engineer, Claude Sauthier, who participated in the campaigns. Nebenzahl calls the map one of the “most informative” of all the early Revolutionary War battle plans. It was printed in London a remarkably short period of time after the events depicted on it transpired—a matter of just a few months.
The plan traces the march of the American army, reeling from its rout in Manhattan in September of 1776, in retreat northward to Westchester. The vastly superior British forces were in pursuit, looking for the opportunity to annihilate the disorganized American army and effectively snuff out the American rebellion in a single blow. The campaign involved complex amphibious landings by the British in the Bronx and Westchester, reprising the type of maneuvers that led to the overwhelming success of the British in the Battle of Brooklyn the previous month.
This richly detailed work accurately presents several, in some cases concurrent campaigns that transpired in the autumn of 1776 in northern Manhattan, lower Westchester, and New Jersey. “It is the most accurate published delineation of the movements of the armies of Washington and Howe in Westchester, from the time of the British landing through November 28, particularly focusing on the Battle of White Plains.“ (Nebenzahl, Atlas) Clearly delineated are British and Hessian troop landings in the area of Mamaroneck, Larchmont, New Rochelle, Pelham Manor, and the Bronx. Also shown are Cornwallis’ capture of Fort Lee and the beginning of his pursuit of Washington’s army through New Jersey that would end in the wintering of American forces at Valley Forge.
The Battle of White Plains, depicted in excellent detail here, could easily have been the knockout blow the British were seeking, as Washington had massed most of his army there, nearly 15,000 men. The battle proved inconclusive due to the skill of American soldiers fighting from good defensive positions and to the disinclination of General Howe to aggressively pursue the engagement after early successes. Perhaps the fact that British casualties were high despite their success was just too reminiscent to Howe of the Battle of Bunker Hill. The British basically disengaged, allowing Washington to begin the retreat through New Jersey with an intact though still quite fragile army.
Though his name does not appear on the map, Alexander Hamilton is known to have commanded artillery that was moved to Chatterton's Hill on the 28th of October, to the Americans' right, thereby threatening the British left flank. This made enough of an impression on British forces to be noted on the map, and Hamilton’s performance led to General Washington's reliance upon him throughout the remainder of the war.
Nebenzahl, K. Atlas, Map 13; Nebenzahl, Bibliography, no. 101; Stevens & Tree 45a in Tooley, America, p. 78; The American War of Independence 1775-1783, The British Library, no. 118; Cumming & Rankin, The Fate of a Nation, no. 104.
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