Old color example of the first state of Faden's battle plan map of Upper Manhattan, including the area now known as Washington Heights.
This map records activity in 1776 when the British, led by General Howe, attacked New York City, defended by General Washington. Items are lettered for identification in key at right within the image. Cartographic elements include compass rose, scale, topographical features, locations of troops, batteries, ship, and fortifications.
During the American Revolution, there was a tremendous demand in Britain for accurate maps of the events unfolding in American. William Faden quickly became the most prolific of the mapmakers supplying the British public with battle plans and other maps depicting current events in the Colonies. Faden had access to many of the original drawings sent by soldiers and surveyors from the Americas. Faden's maps are among the most accurate of thecontemporary maps to depict the battles, events and locations of War.
The present map shows the movements of the two armies on Manhattan Island in November 1776. It is one of the few maps of the period that show the important events related to the British capture of New York. After leaving Boston, the British headed for New York City, which was defended by George Washington and the main Continental Army. In August 1776, the British landed and captured Long Island, forcing the American army out of the southern part of Manhattan. General Howe marched north in pursuit of General Washington, before engaging Washington at the battle of White Plains in October 1777. Washington had left a detachment of troops at Fort Washington, at the northern end of Manhattan, to which Howe turned his attention to in November 1777. The British forced the Americans to surrender, capturing almost three thousand men.
The map shows the British attack, annotating the various stages with a lettered key. Also shown are the positions of the British and American Armies, as well as forts in northern Manhattan and on the west bank of the Hudson River. The map identifies its primary maker as Claude Joseph Sauthier, one of the primary colonial map makers working in the the northern British Colonies prior to the outbreak of the war.
William Faden (1749-1836) was the most prominent London mapmaker and publisher of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. His father, William Mackfaden, was a printer who dropped the first part of his last name due to the Jacobite rising of 1745.
Apprenticed to an engraver in the Clothworkers' Company, he was made free of the Company in August of 1771. He entered into a partnership with the family of Thomas Jeffreys, a prolific and well-respected mapmaker who had recently died in 1771. This partnership lasted until 1776.
Also in 1776, Faden joined the Society of Civil Engineers, which later changed its name to the Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers. The Smeatonians operated as an elite, yet practical, dining club and his membership led Faden to several engineering publications, including canal plans and plans of other new engineering projects.
Faden's star rose during the American Revolution, when he produced popular maps and atlases focused on the American colonies and the battles that raged within them. In 1783, just as the war ended, Faden inherited his father's estate, allowing him to fully control his business and expand it; in the same year he gained the title "Geographer in Ordinary to his Majesty."
Faden also commanded a large stock of British county maps, which made him attractive as a partner to the Ordnance Survey; he published the first Ordnance map in 1801, a map of Kent. The Admiralty also admired his work and acquired some of his plates which were re-issued as official naval charts.
Faden was renowned for his ingenuity as well as his business acumen. In 1796 he was awarded a gold medal by the Society of Arts. With his brother-in-law, the astronomer and painter John Russell, he created the first extant lunar globe.
After retiring in 1823 the lucrative business passed to James Wyld, a former apprentice. He died in Shepperton in 1826, leaving a large estate.