Battle of Harlem Heights

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See also Wikipedia's article about "Battle of Harlem Heights".
Plaque on Mathematics Hall commemorating the battle

The Battle of Harlem Heights was a battle in the Revolutionary War. It was held around the area of today's Morningside Heights on September 16, 1776.

During the Battle of New York (late summer 1776), as Washington's army was nearly destroyed by the British, Washington retreated across Manhattan. On September 16, 1776, Washington's army (2,000 men) held a series of high ground positions (occupying what is now Barnard College) and slowed down the pursuing British troops (5,000 men) long enough for the Continental Army to retreat in an orderly fashion. Supposedly, the pursuing British troops sounded a fox hunt bugle, meant to insult the Americans, which infuriated and rallied Washington's troops to hold the ground and inflict 400 casualties on the British, while suffering only 130 of their own.

Henry Phelps Johnston’s 1897 study of that day, The Battle of Harlem Heights, September 16, 1776, describes the skirmish as “one of those minor successes in our Revolutionary War which counted for much in stimulating the drooping spirits of the American soldier or in effectually disturbing the plans of the enemy.”[1]

It is commemorated by a plaque on the Broadway side of Mathematics Hall.


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