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Interesting map of Upper Manhattan, etc., illustrating the Battle of Harlem Heights in 1776, during the earliest stages of the American Revolution.

The map includes colors illustrating the British (red) and American (blue) positions and a key and annotations locating:

  • The positions of the Americans
  • The line of March of Major Leitch's Flanking Party
  • The line of March of Colonel Knowlton's Flanking Party
  • The British Assailants

The Battle of Harlem Heights

The Battle of Harlem Heights was fought during the New York and New Jersey campaign of the American Revolutionary War. The battle took place in what is now the Morningside Heights and east into the future Harlem neighborhoods of northwestern Manhattan Island in New York Town on September 16, 1776.

The Continental Army, under Commander-in-Chief General George Washington, Major General Nathanael Greene, and Major General Israel Putnam, totaling around 1,800 men, held a series of high ground positions in upper Manhattan against an attacking British Army division totaling around 5,000 men under the command of Major General Alexander Leslie. British troops made a tactical error by having their light infantry buglers sound a fox hunting call, "gone away," while in pursuit. This was intended to insult Washington, himself a keen fox hunter, who learned the sport from his neighbor and mentor near Alexandria, Virginia, the Sixth Lord Fairfax (Thomas Fairfax) during the French and Indian War. "Gone away" means that a fox is in full flight from the hounds on its trail.

The Continentals, who were in orderly retreat, were infuriated by this and galvanized to hold their ground. After flanking the British attackers, the Americans slowly pushed the British back. After the British withdrawal, Washington had his troops end the pursuit. The battle went a long way to restoring the confidence of the Continental Army after suffering several defeats. It was Washington's first battlefield victory of the war, although he would subsequently be required to withdraw from New York after less successful results later in the year.