With American forces’ morale low and falling as they were reeling from the British landing at Kip’s Bay on Manhattan Island, General George Washington tried to hold a line, any line, against the British. Washington sent out rangers under Captain Thomas Knowlton to find and harass the advancing British forces. Knowlton did so and led the British into a fight. Washington sent another force to strike the British flank. For a few hours, the Americans were back on the attack and the British had to retreat a short way.
The engagement was not decisive and it did not much delay the British from taking most of New York in short order, but it was a much needed boost to morale for the American forces.
From the plinth in Riverside Park in New York, 121st Street and Riverside Drive; in grassy triangle south of Grant’s Tomb,
BATTLE OF HARLEM HEIGHTS / SEPTEMBER 16 – 1776 / IN GRATEFUL REMEMBRANCE OF / THE BRAVE SOLDIERS / OF NEW YORK, NEW JERSEY, / CONNECTICUT, MASSACHUSETTS, / RHODE ISLAND, PENNSYLVANIA,/ MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA / WHO UNDER / GENERAL GEORGE WASHINGTON / FOUGHT AND DIED ON THIS SITE / FOR LIBERTY / IN THEIR COUNTRY’S STRUGGLE / AGAINST BRITISH TYRANNY.n.
Map Credit – Public Domain, courtesy of the History Department, United States Military Academy