FADEN, William (1749-1836). A Plan of New York Island, with part of Long Island, Staten Island & East New Jersey. London: William Faden, October 19th, 1776.

$ 24,000.00

A Plan of New York Island, with part of Long Island, Staten Island & East New Jersey, with a particular description of the Engagement on the Woody Heights of Long Island, between Flatbush and Brooklyn, on the 27th of August 1776. Between his majesty's forces commanded by General Howe and the Americans under Major General Putnam shewing also the Landing of the British Army on New-York Island, and the taking of the City of New-York & on the 15th of September following, with the Subsequent Disposition of Both the Armies

Single sheet (sheet size: 30 2/8 x 21 4/8 inches; 18 4/8 x 16 4/8 inches to the neat line, full margins showing the plate mark; framed size: 42 4/8 x 33 inches). Fine engraved battle plan of New York and environs, the title and imprint below the neat line, showing New York from Staten Island in the south to "Fort" in the north, four columns of letterpress below the plate-mark, with "References to the Battle of Long Island" lower right, and troop deployments shown in hatched boxes (the British) and open boxes (the Americans), the waterways with delicate original hand colour.

Fifth and last state, this issue on large paper with the four columns of text relating to the attack on Long Island beneath the plan titled: "An account of the Proceedings of HIs Majesty's Forces at the attack of the Rebels Works on Long Island, on the 27th August, 1776". Each subsequent state shows different stages in the progress of the battle and updates features on the map. In this example the text beneath has a new title and is entirely reset, the last line of the imprint reads "Mr. Wallis Bookseller in Ludgate Street", "Younker" at the top of the map has been deleted and the word "Fort" inserted, Fort Washington is now shown about three inches below the head of New York Island, adjacent to a point in the river now marked "Jefferys Hook", the lettering for Fort Washington is now marked on the island itself, Fort Lee or "Ft. Constitution" is now marked on the Jersey side a little south of a point opposite Jefferys Hook. The lettering marking "Fort Independence", etc has now been deleted, British troops are shown surrounding the Americans holding the Heights of Guana from the 22nd to the 26th of August, followed by the American's retreat through Brooklyn to Kepp's Bay by the 15th of September, and to Morris's Heights and Fort Washington. On the 3rd of September British Troops are at Bushwick and New Town, by the 15th they are at the base of New York Island and further north near Bloomingdale. The British navy is shown in the Hudson River, and throughout the East River.

In anticipation of an attack by the British on New York George Washington, with five regiments of the army which had served him in New England, arrived there in early April of 1776. While the Continental Congress proclaimed the Declaration of Independence on July the 4th, Washington set about strengthening defenses, including building Fort Washington at the end of New York Island on the shore of the Hudson. With the reading of the new Declaration, on Washington's order, at the head of each brigade of the army in or near New York after it was adopted by the New York provincial congress on the 9th of July, and publically proclaimed from the City Hall in Wall Street on the 18th, New York came out firmly for the patriot cause.

On the 27th of August the battle of Long Island occurred, "and as the British were greatly superior to their opponents in numbers, equipment, and training, they were everywhere victorious. By two o'clock in the afternoon they had taken the outer line of defense, and the Americans were driven within the fortified camp on Brooklyn Heights, where they were in grave danger of being captured" (Stokes, page 322).

Being routed from Long Island, Washington crossed the river to Manhattan and held it, while he and Congress decided whether to burn the City behind them, or leave it to be occupied by the British troops over winter. On the 13th of September, with the evacuation of the City in progress, British ships sailed up the Hudson as far as Bloomingdale, cutting off the transportation of stores by water, and on the 15th landed at Kip's Bay cutting off the American rear-guard.

All of this is clearly and faithfully recorded on Faden's map, and as such Faden's plan of the theatre of War in New York is one of the most important of the American Revolution. First published less than a month after the battle on October the 19th, 1776 the plan shows towns, settlements, roads, fortifications, topographical features in relief, as a background to the military positions and events of the battle. Nebenzahl, Atlas of the American Revolution, 12; Nebenzahl, Printed Battle Plans 107; Tooley p. 75, Stevens-Tree 41e; Stokes Iconography 1:353-55; cf. NYPL/Deak 153-55.

 

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