The Battle of Harlem Heights, 1776


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(Westholme Publishing - Release anticipated in late 2022 or early 2023) The Battle of Harlem Heights is a largely unappreciated milestone in American military history. This engagement on upper Manhattan Island on September 16, 1776 marked the first successful battlefield outcome achieved by George Washington’s troops in the quest for independence from Great Britain and presaged the gradual emergence of an effective fighting force among the citizen-soldiers who made up the Continental Army and bore the brunt of young America’s struggle for political and economic self-determination. The cooperative effort of regiments from New England, Maryland, and Virginia—whose men lacked any sense of national identity before the Revolution—indicated the potential for this fledgling army to cohere around a common national purpose and affiliation and become the primary instrument for gaining American independence.

This work seeks to convey an enhanced appreciation of the battle and to raise the historical profile of a key participant who is largely unknown except among Revolutionary War aficionados. Colonel Thomas Knowlton of Connecticut was mortally wounded at Harlem Heights while leading an elite contingent known as Knowlton’s Rangers, the U.S. Army’s first intelligence and reconnaissance unit. Knowlton and his Rangers precipitated and were especially conspicuous in the battle, and the extensive focus on him and the men he led lends this volume a distinctive quality. No other modern-day work has incorporated this level of detail about the colonel’s life and especially his remarkable record in the War of Independence and his role as the father of American military intelligence.

This book is part of the Small Battles series launched by Westholme Publishing in 2020. Publisher Bruce Franklin is collaborating with historians Mark Edward Lender and James Kirby Martin, series editors, to offer a fresh and important new perspective on the story of America’s early military conflicts that focuses on these engagements at their most intimate and revealing level.

A nineteenth-century print engraved by James Charles Armytage based on the "Battle of Harlem" by Alonzo Chappel  (New York Public Library, Emmet Collection).


"Nice work! This is a carefully researched and well-documented book that will be appealing to serious scholars as well as any bookworm searching for something new to read.”
—Kim Burdick, M.A., M.P.A., founder of the American Revolution Round Table of Northern Delaware and author of Revolutionary Delaware: Independence in the First State

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