The Seat of Action between the British and American Forces. Or an Authentic Plan of the Western Part of Long Island, With the engagement of the 27th August 1776 Between the Kings Forces and the Americans . . . from Surveys of Major Holland
By: Sayer & Bennett
Date: 1776 (dated) London
Dimensions: 17.5 x 15.5 inches (44.5 x 39.5cm)
Depicting one of the most important battles at the of the American Revolution, this old color example of Sayer and Bennett's map is arguably one of the best Revolutionary War maps of New York City and its environs. Published soon after the battle, the map documents the British landing and the Battle of Long Island up to and including the American retreat to Brooklyn.
Examining the Map
Sayer and Bennett's map centers on Manhattan Island and extends from Courtland on the Hudson in the north, to Sandy Hook and Middletown, New Jersey, in the south, depicting towns and settlements, major topographical features, and roads and residences. Primary military positions and events of the Battle are depicted, including the assembled British fleet and the Americans entrenched on Long Island and Manhattan, the initial British landing, and the diversionary thrusts, flanking, and offensive maneuvers that routed the Continental Army. An inset extends the map further south, showing the road from Amboy, New Jersey to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Sources and Rarity of the Map
As stated in the title, Saye and Bennett's map is "from the surveys of Major Holland," which refers to Samuel Holland the appointed Surveyor General of the Northern District of North America/ His position as surveyor general began in 1764, and continued throughout the Revolutionary War. The cartographic makeup of the map is largely based on Holland's depiction of the region in his map, The Provinces of New York and New Jersey with part of Pensilvanie and the Governments of Trois Rivieres and Montreal, first published by Sayer & Jefferys in 1768. The rarity of the Sayer and Bennett plan is due to its status as a separately issued work, whereas a similar map by William Faden was published as part of his North American Atlas of 1777.
About the Battle of Long Island
Following the victory over the British in the siege of Boston on March 17, General George Washington relocated the Continental Army port city of New York in order to establish defenses from an imminent attack by the British Royal Nay. John Adams described New York as the "Key to the whole continents," for which “no effort to secure it ought to be omitted.” Washington's British counterpart, General William Howe understood this well and during the months of July and August, July and August, General Howe established greatest British expeditionary force of the 18th century on Staten Island, effectively transforming it into the second largest city in North America. According to one account by an American soldier on duty at the Battery in Manhattan, the harbor appeared so crammed with ships that he “thought all London was afloat.”
As stated in the title, the map focuses on the main day of engagement, August 27, 1776. In total, approximately 30,000 men were involved in the battle, 10,000 Americans and 20,000 British. By the end of the battle and following skirmishes, there were 2,000 American casualties to 358 on the side of the British in no more than three days, General William Howe and his forces has taken New York and the surrounding Islands in the name of the crown. In fact, the American forces could have suffered a near total inhalation when pinned with their backs to the East River, a well timed fog and favorable wind provided the opportunity for evacuation of Manhattan Island by boat. The British would hold the city for much of the remainder of the war until the Americans would retake it in 1783.
Ref: American Battlefield Trust - Lost Battlefield: The Disastrous Battle for New York, by Jason R. Wickersty
Condition: This map is in A+ condition with original outline color on clean paper. Map exhibits a dark impression with ample margins on all sides, well suited for framing.
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