How a nice Jewish Boy from Baltimore made it this far. The trials and tribulations, not to mention the fun and frolics of every day life.

Monday, November 17, 2008

This day in History - October 28th

October 28, 1776 Colonists defeated at White Plains

At the end of September 1776, Washington's army held only a small position on the northern tip of Manhattan Island. Howe was determined to outflank the American positions with a landing at Throgs Neck. [1]

In order to prevent himself from being surrounded, Washington withdrew his main army to White Plains when the British landing began.[3] A garrison of 1,200 men was left to defend Fort Washington.[4] Howe's army followed Washington via New Rochelle and up the Bronx River.

Washington halted his army and chose a position near White Plains that he fortified with two lines of entrenchments.[5] The trenches were situated on raised terrain, protected on the right by the swampy ground near the Bronx River. The American defenses were 3 miles (4.8 km) long. Beyond that, on the right, was Chatterton's Hill, which commanded the plain over which the British would have to advance. The hill was occupied by John Haslet's 1st Delaware Regiment, with two cannon, and supported by another brigade, in total about 1,600 men.

While Washington was inspecting the terrain, seeing where it was best to station his troops, he ran into several light horsemen who told him that the British were advancing.[6] Washington rode back to camp to prepare his men. He quickly stationed a couple hundred Continentals and a couple of artillery pieces onto Chatterton Hill to support the militia.[7] The skirmishers, who had the job of slowing the British advance, retired soon after Washington reinforced Chatterton Hill.[8]

Although the British outnumbered the Americans, Howe did not think it was wise to launch an attack on the main American position until they had taken Chatterton Hill.[5] Howe sent two columns to attack it. One was a brigade of Germans led by Johan Rall, and the other was the German Lossberg Regiment.[9] In total, the force numbered about 4,000 men.

The Germans under Rall's command attacked the militia on the crest of the hill, which fled in retreat.[10] The Lossberg Regiment were stopped by heavy fire from the Americans.[11] Two British regiments came in support of the Germans, and charged up the hill, but the Americans counter-attacked, driving them back down.[12] The British once again assaulted, this time wielding their bayonets, and the Continentals, deserted by the Militia, retreated.[13]


While the battle was a victory for the British, Howe refused to interfere with the American withdrawal, letting slip yet another opportunity to capture Washington and much of the Continental army and in the process suffering heavier casualties than the Americans.

The engagement on the White Plains, the 28th of October 1776 : between the American & British Forces / D. Martin sct.

The engagement on the White Plains, the 28th of October 1776 : between the American & British Forces


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