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Plan of New York Harbour and part of North River in 1776

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

There are some times in this business when you see something which rings a bell.  Nothing wrong with hearing bells, whistles or even hooters come to that, provided that you can remember where? and when?, when it matters. 

A few years ago I came accross this rather battered and lonely manuscript. In fact I’d been looking at it on and off for a number of years, deciding if it would or indeed should be incorporated into the Heritage Charts collection.

Having finally made the move the next stage was, as always, to decide its relevance.  It told a fairly well-known story of events n New York between August and November 1776. Now, the world is not short of maps, plans, charts, and other doodles which all do the same and are of a lot more interest… Or are there?

As it transpires it is a manuscript  ‘rough’ of one of the most important events in American history. It was likely completed by Lt. John Hunter and it was given to Captain Hyde Parker of HMS Phoenix to send back to London. It was used by Joseph Frederick Des Barres in his making of his 'Sketch of the Operations of His Majesty’s Fleet and Army Under the Command of Vice Admiral the Rt. Hble. Lord Viscount Howe and Gen./Sr.Wm. Howe, K.B. in 1776.’  Published in London Jan 17, 1777. Hyde Parker was in fact a personal friend of Des Barres.

The References on the sketch relate directly to those on Des Barres' published Sketch of the Operations...'

References: Heritage Charts A212 from UKHO A339 Ra

References: Heritage Charts A200

The Letters in bold are from Heritage Charts (A212) .

Letters in normal font are from Heritage Charts A200. 'A Sketch of the Operations...:

When put up against the Des Barres References they correspond as follows:

A. ‘The place where the Troops landed on the 22nd Aug’t 1776′

F. ‘Landing of the Kings Troops on the 22nd August’

D. Fort Washington (upper of 3 Ds on the sketch)

A. Fort Washington

B. ‘Where the Action happened on the 27th of Aug’

G. ‘Field of Action on the 27th’

C. ‘Where the Troops landed on the 15th Sept’

H. ‘Landing of the Troops on the 15th September’

D. ‘Where the Rebels retired to’

I. ‘Where the Enemy retired to’

E. ‘A Rebel Post which the Troops took possession of the 23rd Sept’ K. ‘The Enemy post at Paulus Hook taken on the 23rd September’

F. ‘Where the Rebels endeavouryr’d to stop the passage of the River’s by sinking Vessels and Frames of Timber’

E. ‘Where the Enemy endeavourd to stop the passage of the River by sinking Vessels & Frames of Timber thro which the Phoenix, the Roebuck & the Tartar forced their way up the River on the 9th Oct’r’

G. ‘The place where the Rebels attack’d the Phoenix & Rose on the 4th August 1776′

C. ‘Where the Enemy attacked His Majesty’s Ships, the Phoenix and the Rose, on the 4 August 1776′

H. ‘The place where the above Ships was attacked by the Fire Ships’

D. ‘Where the Enemys Fire Ships engaged the Phoenix and the Rose on the 16th August’

K. ‘The Encampment of the Kings Troops’

M. ‘Encampment of the Kings Troops’

L. ‘The Line of Encampmant of the Kings Troops after the leaving Dobb’s Ferry untill the reduction of Fort washington marked by the letter D.’ N. ‘The Line of Encampmant of the Kings Troops after the leaving Dobb’s Ferry untill the reduction of Fort washington.’

M. ‘The Rebels Fort call’d Fort Constitution, or Fort Lee’

B. Fort Constitution

N. ‘Place where the Troops Embarked to attack Fort Constitution three days after the Reduction of Fort Washington & landed at H’

O. ‘Where the Kings Troops embarked on the November for the Attack of Fort Constitution and landed at D’

O. ‘The Detachment of the Troops Occupied the 28th Nov’r’

P. ‘A Detachment of the Kings Troops in possession of this Post on the 28th November’

I. ‘The Place where the Troops landed the 12th Oct’r 1776′ L. ‘Landings of the Troopson the 12th October’

For more on this plan please see the article in the Heritage Charts Research Locker: J.F.W. Des Barres' Great Folly.



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