Chart and Plan of the Harbour of New York & the Count. Adjacent...
A rare map that describes the movements of General Howe’s army and the different forts and military installations located around New York Harbour during the American Revolution. The map also shows the location where the rebel forces were defeated on August 27, 1776 at the Battle of Flatbush or Brooklyn. This map was published by John Bew in The Political Magazine and Parliamentary, Naval, Military and Literary Journal of November 1781 to help illustrate to a British Audience the article entitled Chart and Plan of N. York, with its Defences by Land and Water.
The article describes the area surrounding New York harbour as well as the landing on August 22, 1777 by General Howe, the British Commander, with 22,000 men and 40 cannons in Gravesend Bay and went on to occupy the villages of Utrecht, Gravesend, Flatbush and Flatland. Howe’s forces then attacked the Rebells numbering 6,700 under Major General Israel Putnam at the Heights of Guana above Flatbush, today known as The Battle of Long Island. The article also describes how General Clinton and General Grant also attacked the retreating forces of Putnam on what could be described as a rout.
The ensuing British victory would allow the construction of a new fort to defend Long Island should it ever come under siege again.
The article further describes the September 15th 1776 raid at Newton Creek via Kepps Bay in New York against the forces of Washington stationed at Fort Washington. The Fort would be renamed Fort Knyphausen following this victory and the writer of the article is of the misguided opinion that:
“As long as it well garrisoned, and our fleet superior at sea, the people are as safe there as in the city of London.”
Yet, an addendum to the article, probably inserted shortly before going to the press mentions “the fatal news” where New York “may now termed our last stake in America: for we may give up all thoughts of keeping both the Carolina’s and Georgia.” With the defeats suffered by the British forces at the hands of an “inferior army” most likely in reference to the siege of Yorktown which ended with the British surrender on October 17, 1781, the proverbial writing was on the wall such that the last prophetic lines of the addendum indicate that:
“Perhaps there will be neither enquiry nor punishment; but it will be impossible to avow or avoid infamy.”
John Lodge’s map is thus very important to any collector of Americana as it provides not only a cartographic plan of the area surrounding New York harbour during the Revolutionary War, but it also provides a visual reminder of the hubris that would lead to the eventual defeat of the British forces shortly before the publishing of this map and of the article with which it is associated with.