The digital gallery

George Washington and the American Revolution, 1775-1776

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Washington was tall for the 18th Century, powerfully built and a superb horseman.
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Washington was tall for the 18th Century, powerfully built and a superb horseman.
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Author: Tom Paper
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George Washington at Yorktown, painted by Charles Wilson Peale in 1782. Wikipedia

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George Washington at Yorktown, painted by Charles Wilson Peale in 1782. Wikipedia

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Author: rgibbs
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This painting captures the confidence and iron will of General George Washington.
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This painting captures the confidence and iron will of General George Washington.
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Author: Tom Paper
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The blue sash marks General Washington as the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army.
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The blue sash marks General Washington as the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army.
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E40 - Portrait of George Washington


In the aftermath of the French and Indian War (1754-1763) , American colonists believed they deserved greater political freedoms from the British government, but King George III and his ministers faced a heavy war debt and were intent on levying new taxes on the colonists. Political leaders in North America raised new issues dealing with inequality of powers, individual freedom, separation of church and state, and political rights. Painting by Charles Willson Peale. / Image courtesy of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Wikipedia image from Crystal Bridges

IMCoS article by Ron Gibbs

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Author: Tom Paper
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On Charlestown peninsula, on June 17, 1775, the bloody battle of Bunker Hill was fought.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Bunker_Hil...

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On Charlestown peninsula, on June 17, 1775, the bloody battle of Bunker Hill was fought.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Bunker_Hil...

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Author: Tom Paper
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Here in Lexington on April 19, 1775, the shot "heard 'round the world" was fired. To the west is the town of Concord, where, later that day, the British expedition fought the American militia. The British column retreated to Boston and sustained heavy casualties from the harassing Americans. wikipedia / image

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Here in Lexington on April 19, 1775, the shot "heard 'round the world" was fired. To the west is the town of Concord, where, later that day, the British expedition fought the American militia. The British column retreated to Boston and sustained heavy casualties from the harassing Americans. wikipedia / image

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The Town of Concord
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The Town of Concord
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60012640773fa.jpg

Cartouche depicting the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth in 1620 (MDCXX on rock)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plymouth_Rock

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60012640773fa.jpg

Cartouche depicting the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth in 1620 (MDCXX on rock)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plymouth_Rock

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Inset map of Boston Harbor showing the Town of Boston as a peninsula
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Inset map of Boston Harbor showing the Town of Boston as a peninsula
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1774 New England


After 12 years of political struggle, the War of the American Revolution began in New England in early spring, 1775. As punishment for the Boston Tea Party (December, 1773), the British began to quarter Redcoat regiments in the town of Boston. This handsome map by Thomas Jeffreys, Geographer to the King, was printed in 1774 and shows southern New England and surrounding areas. In the right, there is a lovely cartouche depicting the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock in 1620, and next to it is an inset of Boston Harbor. In upper right portion of the main map, there is Boston Harbor and just to the west are the villages of Lexington and Concord. Map published by Thomas Jefferys / Image courtesy of David Rumsey Collection © 2000 by Cartography Associates.

Rumsey

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In 1775, the town of Boston was on a peninsula connected by a narrow neck to the mainland.
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In 1775, the town of Boston was on a peninsula connected by a narrow neck to the mainland.
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Author: Tom Paper
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Here on Charlestown peninsula in June 1775, the American army constructed fortifications from which they could bombard the British in the town of Boston.
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Here on Charlestown peninsula in June 1775, the American army constructed fortifications from which they could bombard the British in the town of Boston.
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Author: Tom Paper
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Thinking Dorchester Hill was not surmountable, the British left this position undefended. In March 1776, Washington surprised the British by taking and fortifying Dorchester Hill. From these heights American canon threatened the British in Boston and forced them to evacuate the town by ship on March 17, 1776. Today that is known in Boston as "Evacuation Day." wikipedia

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Thinking Dorchester Hill was not surmountable, the British left this position undefended. In March 1776, Washington surprised the British by taking and fortifying Dorchester Hill. From these heights American canon threatened the British in Boston and forced them to evacuate the town by ship on March 17, 1776. Today that is known in Boston as "Evacuation Day." wikipedia

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The British attacked and ultimately drove the Americans from these positions in the bloody Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775.
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The British attacked and ultimately drove the Americans from these positions in the bloody Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775.
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1775 Boston Harbor


This charming map was based upon the observations of a British military engineer, Lt. Page, and was printed in 1775, after the battles at Lexington and Concord on April 19. As shown on the map, the British Army held Boston, then a town on a peninsula of 10,000 population, and the powerful Royal Navy controlled the harbor and rivers, but the Continental Army built fortifications (“Rebel Works”) to surround the British. Note hamlet of Charlestown across the river to north of Boston and "Dorchester Hill" to the south. Map author Thomas Hyde, 1775. / Image courtesy of Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center.

Leventhal

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While the British army in Boston prepared for the attack on Bunker Hill, Royal Navy ships fired upon the American positions.
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While the British army in Boston prepared for the attack on Bunker Hill, Royal Navy ships fired upon the American positions.
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The British forces were ferried from Boston to Charlestown peninsula and formed here for the first attack on Bunker Hill.
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The British forces were ferried from Boston to Charlestown peninsula and formed here for the first attack on Bunker Hill.
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At great cost of killed and wounded, the British ultimately captured the American fortification on their third attempt. The Americans retreated across Charlestown Neck.
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At great cost of killed and wounded, the British ultimately captured the American fortification on their third attempt. The Americans retreated across Charlestown Neck.
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Charlestown Neck, the retreat route of the Americans
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Charlestown Neck, the retreat route of the Americans
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The American earthworks, labeled "Warren's Redoubt," after citizen-soldier-physician Joseph Warren, who was killed at the battle.
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The American earthworks, labeled "Warren's Redoubt," after citizen-soldier-physician Joseph Warren, who was killed at the battle.
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1775 Breeds Hill

On morning of June 17th, 1775, the British awoke to find that the Americans had fortified a new position across the river, above Charleston. From these positions, American cannon threatened the British in Boston, and the British had to dislodge the Americans. As shown in the 1797 version of map, British ships opened fire on the American positions while British troops were ferried to the beaches below the American positions. Determined American militia beat back two attacks by the British, who suffered heavy casualties. Then, with American ammunition depleted, a third British assault finally routed the Americans. George Washington arrived in Boston to take command in July, and throughout the fall and most of the winter 1775-1776, there was stalemate, but in March 1776, Washington brilliantly took advantage of a British oversight. He fortified Dorchester Heights (see previous map) and forced the British to evacuate on March 17, 1776, sailing off to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Published by C. Smith 1797. / Image courtesy of Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center.

Leventhal

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E40 - The Long Shot

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In New York City, there was a population of 20,000 in summer 1776. The pin marks the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway.
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In New York City, there was a population of 20,000 in summer 1776. The pin marks the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway.
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View of New York harbor as seen from Governor's Island (see next dot)
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View of New York harbor as seen from Governor's Island (see next dot)
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Point on Governor's Island from which view at bottom of map is seen.
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Point on Governor's Island from which view at bottom of map is seen.
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Kipp's Bay (shown as "Keps Bay" on map) is the point where the British invaded Manhattan on Sunday morning, September 15, 1776.
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Kipp's Bay (shown as "Keps Bay" on map) is the point where the British invaded Manhattan on Sunday morning, September 15, 1776.
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"Newtown Inlet" (Newtown Creek) where British forces formed prior to amphibious attack at Kip's Bay
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"Newtown Inlet" (Newtown Creek) where British forces formed prior to amphibious attack at Kip's Bay
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1776 City of New York - Bernard Ratzer

Washington knew that the British would have to return, and he reasoned that the most likely target would be New York City. As shown in this iconic map by British Lt. Bernard Ratzer, surveyed in 1767 and printed in 1776, the geography of New York was favorable for His Majesty’s Forces. At the bottom of the map, there is a magnificent view of what it was like to sail into the harbor in the late 18th Century. New York City was on Manhattan Island, and the network of the Hudson and East Rivers and New York Bay was easily controlled by the Royal Navy. The British could decide where and when to attack! Control of New York would separate the rebellious New England colonies from the Middle and Southern colonies. Further, New York with its population of 20,000 was second in size only to Philadelphia among cities in North America, and New York had many Loyalists.

Beginning in spring 1776, Washington began to move his army from Boston to New York and await the enemy. In late July, American hearts sank as they witnessed the British fleet sail into New York Bay. It had over 100 ships—the largest fleet ever sent to American waters—and carrying 30,000 British troops and German mercenaries. Washington’s army peaked at less than 20,000, but most were raw, unproved militia. Map surveyed by Bernard Ratzer in 1766 and 1767. Map engraved by Thomas Kitchin and published by Jefferys and Faden in 1776. / Image courtesy of The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library.

NYPL

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Fort George and Gun Batteries
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Fort George and Gun Batteries
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Trinity Church
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Trinity Church
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Fish market
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Fish market
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Barracks
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Barracks
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Synagogue
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Synagogue
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The Exchange
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The Exchange
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Guide ("References") the landmarks in the city
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Guide ("References") the landmarks in the city
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1773 Lower Manhattan

Also surveyed in 1767 by Lt. Ratzer, this map shows New York City in detail. It was a city of commerce, and for the late 18th Century it was a tolerant, bustling, and diverse city. It had already been said that New Yorkers spoke “very fast, very loud and all at once.” The North or Hudson River is shown to the left of the city and the East or South River to the right. Some streets including Wall Street and Broadway have kept their names through today. The rest of Manhattan Island remained largely wooded with farms and mansions spaced throughout. Across the East River, there is “Part of Long or Nassau Island,” today this is Brooklyn. Map surveyed by Bernard Ratzer. Published by Kitchin / Jefferys and Faden in 1776. / Image courtesy of Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.

Library of Congress

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Staten Island where the British Forces landed in late July and rested after their long voyages from Europe and Canada. Here they prepared for the attack on the American positions on Long Island.
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Staten Island where the British Forces landed in late July and rested after their long voyages from Europe and Canada. Here they prepared for the attack on the American positions on Long Island.
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Landing of British at Long Island, Gravesend Bay on August 22, 1776. The Americans, confident in the strength of their inland positions , did not contest the landing.
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Landing of British at Long Island, Gravesend Bay on August 22, 1776. The Americans, confident in the strength of their inland positions , did not contest the landing.
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Frontal attack by Hessian and British forces on American positions on Heights of Guana, Morning August 27. This attack was merely a feint for the main British column was on a wide flanking maneuver to catch the Americans in a deadly trap.
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Frontal attack by Hessian and British forces on American positions on Heights of Guana, Morning August 27. This attack was merely a feint for the main British column was on a wide flanking maneuver to catch the Americans in a deadly trap.
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Route of British flanking movement
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Route of British flanking movement
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Retreat of Americans from positions on the heights to fortifications along the East River.
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Retreat of Americans from positions on the heights to fortifications along the East River.
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American fortifications along the East River.
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American fortifications along the East River.
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Evacuation point of American forces from Brooklyn to Manhattan under cover of dense fog, August 29.
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Evacuation point of American forces from Brooklyn to Manhattan under cover of dense fog, August 29.
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Attack of British at Kip's (Kepp's) Bay , Sunday , September 15
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Attack of British at Kip's (Kepp's) Bay , Sunday , September 15
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Washington's Headquarters at Morris Mansion in Harlem Heights in Northern Manhattan
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Washington's Headquarters at Morris Mansion in Harlem Heights in Northern Manhattan
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American sunk vessels here to deter the British from sailing this far, landing troops here and splitting the American forces.

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American sunk vessels here to deter the British from sailing this far, landing troops here and splitting the American forces.

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American sunk vessels here to deter the British from sailing this far, landing troops here and splitting the American forces.

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American sunk vessels here to deter the British from sailing this far, landing troops here and splitting the American forces.

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1776 New York Campaign Map

This handsome map, by William Faden, Geographer to the King, shows rich topographical and tactical detail , covering the actions of August -September 1776. Note, for example, the British ships landing the troops on Long Island at Gravesend Bay (lower center) and also the landings at Kepp’s (Kip’s) Bay, located at mid-Manhattan (present day 34th Street) at the East River. / Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.

Library of Congress

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1968
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E40 - 1776 Howe's War Plan

British General Howe's War Plan of 1776 - State #1

Library of Congress

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E40 - 1776 Howe's War Plan - State 5

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Attack of General von Heister (Hessian troops) on the morning of August 27, 1776.
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Attack of General von Heister (Hessian troops) on the morning of August 27, 1776.
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American positions along East River.
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American positions along East River.
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Embarcation point for American retreat to Manhattan under cover of fog.
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Embarcation point for American retreat to Manhattan under cover of fog.
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Flanking movement of main British column, Aug 26-27, 1776.
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Flanking movement of main British column, Aug 26-27, 1776.
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Attack of General Grant (Brit.) on August 27, morning.
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Attack of General Grant (Brit.) on August 27, morning.
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American positions on Heights of Guana
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American positions on Heights of Guana
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Battle of Brooklyn - General Grants Position

This map, published in 1794 in Stedman’s “History of the American War,” shows the early stage of the battle. The Americans took up two lines of defense, the front on the “Woody Heights” and a second in a series of positions closer to the East River. On the morning of August 27th, 1776, two British columns attacked the strong, barricaded American positions on the heights, but these were merely feints, as the main British column was on an all-night flanking march around the American left. See “Route of Sir Will. Howe’s Column.” The battle was a complete British victory with thousands of Americans captured , killed or wounded. Only a gallant stand on the American right wing prevented total collapse and disaster. The remnants of the American defenders limped back to the fortifications near the East River. / Image courtesy of David Rumsey Collection © 2000 by Cartography Associates.

Rumsey

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Americans retreating across Gowanus Creek
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Americans retreating across Gowanus Creek
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The Old Stone House in center or the American Line.
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The Old Stone House in center or the American Line.
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American officer, possibly General Sterling
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American officer, possibly General Sterling
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The British Line advancing through the dense gunpowder smoke
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The British Line advancing through the dense gunpowder smoke
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1776 Battle of Long Island

In this 1858 painting by Alonzo Chappel, we witness the scene of The Battle of Brooklyn. The defenders on the American right wing made their stand with a stone house as their center. The Old Stone House still stands today in Brooklyn next to a playground.

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The Cornfield, where General George Washington met the panicked American troops running from Kip's Bay. He was unable to rally his men and his aides de camp led him back to Harlem Heights.
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The Cornfield, where General George Washington met the panicked American troops running from Kip's Bay. He was unable to rally his men and his aides de camp led him back to Harlem Heights.
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Kip's Bay, point of British attack on Sunday, September 15, 1776.
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Kip's Bay, point of British attack on Sunday, September 15, 1776.
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Trinity Church. The first church on this location was built in 1698 and destroyed as a part of much larger fire on September 20th, 1776, which just days after Washington's retreat from New York. The second church was built in 1790 and destroyed by heavy snow during the winter of 1838 to 1839. The third church was built in 1846 and stands there today.
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Trinity Church. The first church on this location was built in 1698 and destroyed as a part of much larger fire on September 20th, 1776, which just days after Washington's retreat from New York. The second church was built in 1790 and destroyed by heavy snow during the winter of 1838 to 1839. The third church was built in 1846 and stands there today.
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Murray Mansion, where General Howe and his officers rested after their landing at Kip's Bay. The British troops halted nearby.
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Murray Mansion, where General Howe and his officers rested after their landing at Kip's Bay. The British troops halted nearby.
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Putnam's Retreat. While the British troops halted near Murray Mansion, General Putnam led his force of 5,000 from New York City, up the West side of Manhattan, to safety in Harlem Heights.
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Putnam's Retreat. While the British troops halted near Murray Mansion, General Putnam led his force of 5,000 from New York City, up the West side of Manhattan, to safety in Harlem Heights.
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Morris House, where General Washington had his headquarters in Harlem Heights from mid-September to mid-October, 1776.
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Morris House, where General Washington had his headquarters in Harlem Heights from mid-September to mid-October, 1776.
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Harlem Heights Battle. On Monday, September 16, 1776, the Americans probed the British lines on the south side of the Hollow Way. This developed into a full-scale battle with each side sending in reinforcements. Although the Americans pulled back to their defensive positions in Harlem Heights at the end of the day, they acquitted themselves well and made up for the rout the day before at Kip's Bay.
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Harlem Heights Battle. On Monday, September 16, 1776, the Americans probed the British lines on the south side of the Hollow Way. This developed into a full-scale battle with each side sending in reinforcements. Although the Americans pulled back to their defensive positions in Harlem Heights at the end of the day, they acquitted themselves well and made up for the rout the day before at Kip's Bay.
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Fort Washington, an extensive earthen redoubt, intended to prevent Royal Navy ships from sailing up the Hudson.
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Fort Washington, an extensive earthen redoubt, intended to prevent Royal Navy ships from sailing up the Hudson.
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1878 Johnston Map of Manhattan in 1776

Compiled and drawn by Henry P. Johnston in 1878, this map shows, as of 1776, the full 14-mile length of Manhattan in rich topographic detail. South is to the left. Note the grid of New York City at the island’s southern tip, the British landing at Kip’s Bay, and the American fortifications in Harlem Heights. Fort Washington is in upper Manhattan and Fort Constitution, or Fort Lee, is directly across the Hudson River in New Jersey. / Image courtesy of Wikipedia and Geographicus.

Wikipedia

Geographicus

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Fort Washington, an earthen structure, located on the heighest point in Manhattan. It was defended by 2500 men, but they were isolated and unsupported.
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Fort Washington, an earthen structure, located on the heighest point in Manhattan. It was defended by 2500 men, but they were isolated and unsupported.
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British attack from the south, November 16, 1776.
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British attack from the south, November 16, 1776.
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Hessian attack from the north.
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Hessian attack from the north.
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Amphibious landing by British and attack from Harlem River. The combined British-Hessian attacks led to the ignominious surrender of the fort in 5 hours. It was the greatest defeat the British handed the Americans in the Northern theater of the war.
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Amphibious landing by British and attack from Harlem River. The combined British-Hessian attacks led to the ignominious surrender of the fort in 5 hours. It was the greatest defeat the British handed the Americans in the Northern theater of the war.
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Fort Lee (formerly Fort Constitution) on New Jersey side of the Hudson River
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Fort Lee (formerly Fort Constitution) on New Jersey side of the Hudson River
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1777 Fort Washington Map

In 1777, William Faden published this topographical map depicting the capture of Fort Washington in upper Manhattan by combined British-Hessian forces on November 16, 1776. Washington had left the fort with its 2500 men and extensive cache of arms to defend itself, thinking the fort could hold out for weeks. The main American army meanwhile had crossed the Hudson and safely made it to New Jersey. Three columns of British-Hessian forces took the fort in just 5 hours. One column attacked from the south of the fort, a second attacked from the north, and a third made an amphibious landing at Harlem Creek. The loss of Fort Washington was the worst disaster of the war for Washington! / Image courtesy of Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.

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Harlem Creek
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Harlem Creek
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British amphibious force landing northeast of Fort Washington.
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British amphibious force landing northeast of Fort Washington.
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View of New Jersey Pallisades and, just below it, a peek at the Hudson River
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View of New Jersey Pallisades and, just below it, a peek at the Hudson River
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In the distance is Fort Washington
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In the distance is Fort Washington
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1776 View of Attack on Fort Washington

Captain Thomas Davies of the Royal Artillery drew this sketch which gives us a true feel of the British amphibious landing from flatboats and the attack on Fort Washington from the Harlem Creek. View is looking south down Harlem Creek (River) from the east bank, in what is now the Bronx. / Image courtesy of The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library.

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Location of Fort Lee, along the Hudson. Americans evacuated this fort when pressed by the British attack in November.
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Location of Fort Lee, along the Hudson. Americans evacuated this fort when pressed by the British attack in November.
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Author: rgibbs
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Washington retreated across New Jersey, desiring to get his army across the Delaware River and to safety in Pennsylvania. He crossed the Delaware here at Trenton, NJ.
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Washington retreated across New Jersey, desiring to get his army across the Delaware River and to safety in Pennsylvania. He crossed the Delaware here at Trenton, NJ.
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Philadelphia, the American capital, the largest city in North America, with population of 30,000.
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Philadelphia, the American capital, the largest city in North America, with population of 30,000.
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New York City, on southern tip of Manhattan
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New York City, on southern tip of Manhattan
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Location of Fort Ticonderoga, captured by the Americans in 1775
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Location of Fort Ticonderoga, captured by the Americans in 1775
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1776 Holland Map of New York and New Jersey


This large map was drawn by the British Major Samuel Holland , Surveyor General, Northern District in America, and was printed by Robert Sayer and John Bennett in 1776. In late November and early December of 1776 the American Army was on the brink of disaster. They had lost every major battle and their forces were dwindling. Washington had no choice but to retreat from his position in Northern New Jersey and seek safety in Pennsylvania, but the British pursued him closely across New Jersey. Washington’s Army eluded the enemy and crossed into Pennsylvania at Trenton in early December 1776. Trenton is located on the map just north of the elbow of the Delaware River. To prevent the British from crossing the Delaware, American engineers destroyed bridges across the river and gathered all boats up and down the river. At least temporarily, Washington’s Army was safe and secure. The British and Hessians, thinking their American foe was beaten, went into winter quarters in a string of posts from the Delaware River back to New York. / Image courtesy of Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.

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Washington, the central figure, but he would never have stood so precariously in the crossing!

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Washington, the central figure, but he would never have stood so precariously in the crossing!

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The crossing was carried out in Durham boats which were used for river traffic and were much larger and more stable than the row boats depicted in Leutze's painting.
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The crossing was carried out in Durham boats which were used for river traffic and were much larger and more stable than the row boats depicted in Leutze's painting.
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The stars and stripes , depicted in the painting, did not make its first appearance until well into 1777.
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The stars and stripes , depicted in the painting, did not make its first appearance until well into 1777.
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Dot #: 4
Author: rgibbs
Image ID: 222
The small boats would never have been able to transport horses and canon, as shown in the painting.
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The small boats would never have been able to transport horses and canon, as shown in the painting.
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Dot #: 5
Author: rgibbs
Image ID: 222
The shoreline is that of Leutze's native Germany, not that of New Jersey above Trenton.
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The shoreline is that of Leutze's native Germany, not that of New Jersey above Trenton.
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Author: tomadmin
Image ID: 222

Example of a Durham boat.

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Example of a Durham boat.

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1851 Emmanuel Leutze - Washington Crossing the Delaware

One of the most beloved and well-known artworks in American history, Emmanuel Leutze’s depiction of the heroic crossing was not painted until 75 years later. It contains many historical errors. Notably, the boats do not represent the actual Durham boats used in the crossing, and the flag was not developed until months later. Yet, the painting conjures up the decisiveness of Washington and the patriotism and courage of his men. Painting by Emmanuel Leutze in 1851. / Image courtesy of Smithsonian.

Image ID: 221

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Author: rgibbs
Image ID: 221
Trenton, NJ- Outpost of 1400 Hessians at end of the long line stretching from New York City.
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Trenton, NJ- Outpost of 1400 Hessians at end of the long line stretching from New York City.
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Dot #: 2
Author: rgibbs
Image ID: 221
An American camp in Pennsylvania, centering around Newtown.
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An American camp in Pennsylvania, centering around Newtown.
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Dot #: 3
Author: rgibbs
Image ID: 221
Washington crosses the Delaware River at McConkey's ferry, night of Dec 25-26, 1776.
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Washington crosses the Delaware River at McConkey's ferry, night of Dec 25-26, 1776.
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Author: rgibbs
Image ID: 221
One American column under Ten. Washington and Greene approach Trenton along Pennington Road.
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One American column under Ten. Washington and Greene approach Trenton along Pennington Road.
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Dot #: 5
Author: rgibbs
Image ID: 221
The other American column under General Sullivan approach from the River Road.
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The other American column under General Sullivan approach from the River Road.
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Dot #: 6
Author: rgibbs
Image ID: 221
The two American columns converge on the Hessians simultaneously and rout the garrison in a battle lasting less than an hour.
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The two American columns converge on the Hessians simultaneously and rout the garrison in a battle lasting less than an hour.
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Dot #: 7
Author: rgibbs
Image ID: 221
A week later, Washington gained another victory at Princeton, NJ. These two military successes saved the cause of American Independence. Washington showed battlefield genius. He had, indeed, made mistakes that year, but he learned. No matter how desperate the campaign had been, he responded with an iron will, bravery and determination.No one else could have done what General George Washington did in that fateful campaign of 1776.
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A week later, Washington gained another victory at Princeton, NJ. These two military successes saved the cause of American Independence. Washington showed battlefield genius. He had, indeed, made mistakes that year, but he learned. No matter how desperate the campaign had been, he responded with an iron will, bravery and determination.No one else could have done what General George Washington did in that fateful campaign of 1776.
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Image 18 of 20
1777 Trenton Map

This detailed battle map, published by Willam Faden in 1777, shows the heroic actions of the American forces from December 26, 1776 to January 3, 1777. After crossing the Delaware River into Pennsylvania, the Americans encamped near Newtown (center, left of map). With the integrity of his army at stake, Washington decided on the one course that would save the revolution; he would attack! He chose an isolated Hessian outpost in Trenton, at the very end of the British-Hessian line. On Christmas night 1776, the American Army crossed the Delaware River back into New Jersey at McKonkey’s Ferry (just northeast of Newtown on map). Then the army marched in two divisions, the left down the Pennington Road and the right down the River Road, to attack the Hessians. Catching the enemy by surprise, the result was an hour long battle leading to a small, but complete victory. The Hessian commander was killed, and over 1000 Hessians were taken prisoner. Washington then returned his army to its Pennsylvania encampment, but followed up with another victory a week later in Princeton, New Jersey (northeast of Trenton). The twin victories breathed new life into the cause of independence and led to recognition of Washington as a battlefield commander. The British knew they would now be in for a long struggle if they were to put down the American rebellion. / Image courtesy of Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.

Image ID: 229

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Dot #: 1
Author: Tom Paper
Image ID: 229
George Washington is in the background because the British commander, General Cornwallis, feigned illness and sent his second in command, General O'Hara. Accordingly, Washington sent his second in command, General Benjamin Lincoln.
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George Washington is in the background because the British commander, General Cornwallis, feigned illness and sent his second in command, General O'Hara. Accordingly, Washington sent his second in command, General Benjamin Lincoln.
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Dot #: 2
Author: Tom Paper
Image ID: 229
General Charles O'Hara, second in command to General Cornwallis, offering surrender to General Lincoln.
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General Charles O'Hara, second in command to General Cornwallis, offering surrender to General Lincoln.
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Dot #: 3
Author: rgibbs
Image ID: 229
General Benjamin Lincoln receiving the surrender of British General O'Hara
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General Benjamin Lincoln receiving the surrender of British General O'Hara
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Dot #: 4
Author: rgibbs
Image ID: 229
Depicted in the ranks of American officers are: Col. Alexander Hamilton, who commanded the Light Infantry;General Henry Knox, Chief of Artillery; and General Anthony ("Mad Anthony") Wayne.
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Depicted in the ranks of American officers are: Col. Alexander Hamilton, who commanded the Light Infantry;General Henry Knox, Chief of Artillery; and General Anthony ("Mad Anthony") Wayne.
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Dot #: 5
Author: rgibbs
Image ID: 229
Prominently depicted is General Rochambeau, the French Commander in Chief.
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Prominently depicted is General Rochambeau, the French Commander in Chief.
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Image 19 of 20
Surrender at Yorktown

During the Campaign of 1776, no matter what adversity Washington faced, he responded with bravery, an iron will, and determination. He inspired his troops and rallied them time after time. There was no one else in the American colonies who could have done what Washington did. The war would go on another seven years, climaxing with the joint French-American victory at Yorktown, Virginia in 1781. Washington is depicted in the painting center right on horseback. How, after all, did Washington win? He won because he and his men had a cause. He was fighting the right war—keeping his less-experienced army intact, winning just enough times, and gaining the aid of the French. The British Crown and British people had no stomach for more blood and more treasure. Reflecting over the last nearly 250 years, we remember that the entire future of our country hung by a mere thread in the critical months of late 1776 and very early 1777. If just one of several events had gone even a bit differently, imagine how the course of the United States may well have changed. And, indeed, in those five months, the destiny of our country rested heavily on the shoulders of one man, General George Washington. Painting by John Trumbull. / Image courtesy of Architect of the Capitol and Wikipedia.

Image ID: 216

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Author: rgibbs
Image ID: 216

Hell's gate

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Hell's gate

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Dot #: 2
Author: rgibbs
Image ID: 216

Gravesend Bay

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Gravesend Bay

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Mt Vernon Map of The New York Campaign
In this modern map, we see the sweep on the British attack in summer-fall 1776, beginning with the landing on Long Island in late August 1776, the rout of the Americans at The Battle of Brooklyn, and the attack on Manhattan at Kip’s Bay on September 15, 1776. These were tactical victories for the British, resulting in the retreat of Washington to Harlem Heights in upper Manhattan. In October, the British carried out an amphibious flanking maneuver into Westchester County, requiring Washington to evacuate Harlem Heights and take up new positions above White Plains. However, the Americans left 2500 men and a huge stash of arms at Ft. Washington, in upper Manhattan. / Image courtesy of the Mount Vernon Ladies Association and mtvernon.org.
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E40 - Portrait of George Washington
E40 - Portrait of George Washington
1774 New England
1774 New England
1775 Boston Harbor
1775 Boston Harbor
1775 Breeds Hill
1775 Breeds Hill
E40 - The Long Shot
E40 - The Long Shot
1776 City of New York - Bernard Ratzer
1776 City of New York - Bernard Ratzer
1773 Lower Manhattan
1773 Lower Manhattan
1776 New York Campaign Map
1776 New York Campaign Map
E40 - 1776 Howe's War Plan
E40 - 1776 Howe's War Plan
E40 - 1776 Howe's War Plan - State 5
E40 - 1776 Howe's War Plan - State 5
Battle of Brooklyn - General Grants Position
Battle of Brooklyn - General Grants Position
1776 Battle of Long Island
1776 Battle of Long Island
1878 Johnston Map of Manhattan in 1776
1878 Johnston Map of Manhattan in 1776
1777 Fort Washington Map
1777 Fort Washington Map
1776 View of Attack on Fort Washington
1776 View of Attack on Fort Washington
1776 Holland Map of New York and New Jersey
1776 Holland Map of New York and New Jersey
    1851 Emmanuel Leutze - Washington Crossing the Delaware
1851 Emmanuel Leutze - Washington Crossing the Delaware
1777 Trenton Map
1777 Trenton Map
Surrender at Yorktown
Surrender at Yorktown
Mt Vernon Map of The New York Campaign
Mt Vernon Map of The New York Campaign
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