Celebrating 17 years

General Washington's Battle Engagements
in 1776

A Map of the Progress of His Majesty's Armies in New York Printed in 1777
Showing George Washington's Defeats In 1776

 

Abstract

This original map was printed in 1777 in England during the Revolutionary War. Appearing in Gentleman's magazine, it measures 8" by 12 1/2". It is in excellent condition and represents a rare artifact from the War of Independence.

This map is historically significant because it depicts England's greatest successes during the campaign of 1776. In particular, it highlights the battles of Long Island and White Plains.

The map is also unusual in that it shows battle losses by America's greatest military commander, George Washington. Various places on the map are imprinted with such captions as: "Gen. Howe Landed Aug. 22"....."Provincials defeated Aug. 27"......"Retreat of the Rebels"...."Provincials drowned here" (near the Red Hook area of Brooklyn).

Map depicting England's greatest successes during the campaign of 1776 Click map for larger view

Great Britain placed General William Howe in charge of the greatest army England ever sent overseas, forces superior to any the Americans could put in the field. In June of 1776 a large British war fleet led by Gen. Howe sailed into New York harbor, the forerunner of an ambitious invasion plan. A month later an army of 10,000 men landed on Staten Island, unopposed by the Americans. All during July and August British reinforcements continued their build-up until Howe was in command of a combined force of 32,000 men, of whom 9000 were German mercenaries.

During the final days of August in the Battle of Long Island Howe inflicted a crushing defeat on Washington's army. To escape the onslaught, Washington withdrew his colonial forces from Brooklyn Heights to Manhattan. Less than two weeks later he decided to evacuate New York City, rather than be trapped in lower Manhattan. However, before he withdrew from the city Washington prepared fortifications in upper Manhattan and was able to repulse the British army in the Battle of Harlem Heights.

In October in the face of the advancing British forces of Gen. Howe, Washington evacuated his main force from Manhattan Island, leaving behind a garrison at Fort Washington, and marched to White Plains. In the Battle of White Plains the British inflicted heavy casualties on Washington's army, whereupon Washington slipped away westward to North Castle on November 1.

Two weeks later the British forces under Gen. Howe captured the American garrison at Fort Washington, taking more than 2800 prisoners.

After deciding to abandon the New York area, Washington moved his forces across the Hudson River and into New Jersey. Joined by Gen.Greene's troops at Hackensack, they retreated together toward the Delaware River with Gen. Cornwallis at their heels.

Most historians agree that if Gen. Howe had capitalized on his victories over Washington's army, as shown on this historic map, it would have been the turning point in the Revolutionary War. Were it not for Washington's skill as a tactician, his courage and daring against overwhelming odds and the inspiration he gave to his troops, England may well have won the War.

This Battle Map of the Revolutionary War displays all of the key battle sites waged by both sides in 1776. It shows New York City, Staten Island, Long Island and New Jersey.