A215 - A Plan for the Battle of New York
A large rarely seen Plan of the positions of the British forces and American defences for the Battle of New York in 1776 produced by J.F.W Des Barres' likely produced between August 1776 and March 1777. This is the first of two near-identical copies (see heritage Charts A216).
- J.F.W. Des Barres
- h80" x w57"
The Plan is made up of 6 engraved sheets with some additional military disposition added by hand, along with color. It shows the disposition of British forces from their arrival in New York in September 1776, through the battle of Long Island up through the engagement at Harlem plains. The engagement at White Plains in October 1776 is not included but the capture of Fort Washington in November is.
The Plan was compiled by Des Barres in London from several surveys of New York he had to-hand, including what appears to be Bernard Ratzer's original finished-copy for his seminal Map of New York, engraved by Thomas Kitchen and published by Faden and Jeffreys (see A201).
The Plan is one of two near identical works which were held in the British archives until the 1960s when the then outgoing Hydrographer of the Navy gifted the later of the two copies to his counterpart at NOAA where it remained until being donated to it's current location at the Library of Congress.
The copy shown here is the first of the two and was retained by the British. The Plan was never published, possibly because Des Barres, in his attempt to produce the 'ultimate' account had simply, from the outset failed to include White Plains and therefore the Plan was incomplete. It also includes one glaring error in its engraving; the towns of Gravesend and New Utrecht in Brooklyn are transposed.
It is likely that Des Barres went to the considerable expense of engraving the plates for the plan in order that he could save time in producing several copies of his 'statement' plan with the intention of gifting or supplying a copy to those of high office in the government and military in exchange for favour and patronage in his first endeavour at the time, the publication of the Atlantic Neptune.
The effort Des Barres put into this plan did not, entirely, go to waste. His 1777 publication for the Atlantic Neptune 'A sketch of the operations of his majesty's fleet and army under the command of Vice Admiral the Rt. Hble. Lord Viscount Howe and Genl. Sr. W. Howe K: B: in 1776', is based on these plans (see Heritage Charts A200). For more information about this Plan please visit the Heritage Charts Research Locker article 'Des Barres' Great Folly': https://www.heritagecharts.com/great-folly
- A Plan for the Battle of New York