20 x 16 ¾ inches, Troop positions and movements in original color; lightly toned, else excellent condition.
An excellent example, complete with text, of the most detailed, contemporaneous map of the Revolutionary War campaigns in and around Manhattan. With the preferred states of both the map and text. Remarkably, the map, which was originally issued as a broadside news bulletin, was published just weeks after the events depicted. “It would have provided the public with its first opportunity to learn in detail of the contest for New York.” (Augustyn/ Cohen) The map was also published in Faden’s North American Atlas.
The map gives a particularly full depiction of the Battle of Brooklyn. It was one of the few, clearly triumphant moments for the British during the entire war, having been fought on their terms. It was the first and one of the only true, set-piece battles of the war, in which British arms performed at its best. The result was a total rout for American forces. Yet Washington managed to escape from Brooklyn to Manhattan with most of his army intact. So although the British went on to capture New York City with relative ease, the campaign was in the end a missed opportunity for them. For the attack on the city, the British had amassed the largest combined naval and land force in the nation’s history, and at several points the bulk of the American army was in very vulnerable positions and could have been decimated. Instead, the American army gradually retreated up the island of Manhattan and finally into Westchester to fight another day.
This third of five states of the map provided the most significant updating of all the states: it was the first to show the actual British invasion and taking of New York City on September 15, 1776. Specifically, in this state, the American positions defending Manhattan as of the morning of September 15th are shown – as well as their positions and those of their opponents on the evening of that same day, after the British stormed Kip’s Bay in an amphibious assault and drove the Americans headlong up Manhattan Island. Other military details concerning American defenses were also added to this state.
Examples of the map are known both with and without letterpress text below map. The text is known in two states, the first of which describes the action through August of 1776 and does not refer to the British invasion of Manhattan in September. The second and more rarely seen state of the text is seen for the first time with this third state of the map. Adopted from a letter from the British commandant, Lord Howe, to his superior in London, Lord Germaine, the text provides a full account of the British taking of New York. It also describes the terrible fire that raged in the city on September 20 and 21, in which as much as a quarter of the city was destroyed. Howe does not hesitate to blame its cause on the “rebels,” though that has never been established.
* Augustyn/ Cohen, Manhattan in Maps, pp. 78-81;Nebenzahl, Atlas of the American Revolution, Map 12; Nebenzahl, Bibliography of Printed Battle Plans, 107; Tooley, America, pp. 74-5, (41 c).