October, 1776: Battle of White Plains Summary

  • Last updated on November 11, 2022

General George Washington and the American colonial army had been forced to abandon New York City during the summer of 1776 and were on the run. After resisting a British attack at Harlem Heights, Washington retreated to Chatterton Hill, near White Plains, New York. British general William Howe’s large army, freshly reinforced with Hessian troops, followed. Howe significantly reduced his forces when he dispatched a detachment to contain another branch of the colonial army. In the meantime, Washington’s soldiers fortified Chatterton Hill. After waiting three days, Howe launched frontal and flank assaults on Washington’s troops on October 28. Though the Americans were temporarily able to resist British forces in open-field battle, Howe’s men eventually took the hill. Washington’s army fell back and retreated overnight under the camouflage of a heavy fog. Despite his numerical advantage, Howe chose not to renew the assault the next morning, possibly missing an opportunity to completely defeat the colonial army.

General George Washington and the American colonial army had been forced to abandon New York City during the summer of 1776 and were on the run. After resisting a British attack at Harlem Heights, Washington retreated to Chatterton Hill, near White Plains, New York. British general William Howe’s large army, freshly reinforced with Hessian troops, followed. Howe significantly reduced his forces when he dispatched a detachment to contain another branch of the colonial army. In the meantime, Washington’s soldiers fortified Chatterton Hill. After waiting three days, Howe launched frontal and flank assaults on Washington’s troops on October 28. Though the Americans were temporarily able to resist British forces in open-field battle, Howe’s men eventually took the hill. Washington’s army fell back and retreated overnight under the camouflage of a heavy fog. Despite his numerical advantage, Howe chose not to renew the assault the next morning, possibly missing an opportunity to completely defeat the colonial army.

Though the British won the Battle of White Plains, British commander in chief Howe was criticized for failing to follow up his tactical advantage, allowing Washington’s army to escape. The colonial army survived and eventually won the war.

Categories: History Content