Sauthier-Faden map of the 1776 New York campaign, including the Battle of White Plains

Claude Joseph Sauthier (surveyor) / William Faden (engraver), A PLAN OF THE OPERATIONS OF THE KING’S ARMY under the Command of GENERAL SR. WILLIAM HOWE, K.B. IN NEW YORK AND EAST NEW JERSEY, against the AMERICAN FORCES Commanded By GENERAL WASHINGTON, From the 12th of October, to the 28th of November 1776. Wherein is particularly distinguished THE ENGAGEMENT on the WHITE PLAINS, the 28th of October. London: William Faden, Feb. 25th, 1777.
Engraving and etching, 28 ½”h x 19 ¼”w at neat line plus margins. Original outline, wash and spot color, with the Hudson River and Long Island Sound retouched. Minor toning and soiling, but very good or better.

The most detailed period battle plan of the Fall 1776 New York campaign, which culminated in the October 28 Battle of White Plains. The campaign was a major defeat for the Americans and compelled the Continental Army to withdraw to New Jersey.

The map depicts the theatre of war in October-November of 1776, a 1000-square mile area flanking the Hudson River from northern Manhattan as far upriver as Peekskill. The bare essentials of the landscape are presented, primarily elevations, waterways, roads and towns. Superimposed on this is an enormous amount of information about the movements and encounters of the British and Continental Armies, in aggregate a riot of tiny blue and red blocks following blue and red lines of movement, copiously annotated with dates, unit numbers &c. I quite agree with Nebenzahl’s assessment that the map is “so filled with detail as to be at once among the most informative and the most difficult to study of all the battle plans.” (Atlas of the American Revolution, p. 90)

Here is the gist: After capturing Long Island in August 1776, in mid-September the Brothers Howe launched an assault on Manhattan and eventually routed the Continental Army, which retreated to the northern end of the island. The first event depicted on this map took place on October 11: Washington had learned that the British were planning to land troops in the Bronx and Westchester, with the intent of cutting off the Americans’ line of retreat. He consequently evacuated his army across Kings Bridge Creek into the Bronx, leaving behind a large unit to defend Fort Washington, a high point between present day West 163rd and 165th Streets. On October 18 the British began landing troops in Westchester, but Washington avoided encirclement and took up a defensive positions at White Plains, where on October 28 the two armies fought a pitched battle with a large British force. The Americans acquitted themselves far better than they had at Long Island or Manhattan, and the results were inconclusive.

After the Battle of White Plains Washington divided the Continental Army, leaving the largest force east of the Hudson to prevent the British from entering New England, another to guard the Hudson Highlands, and himself crossing the Hudson to New Jersey with perhaps 2000 men and following the Hudson south to Fort Lee by November 13th. Then disaster struck, as the British captured Fort Washington on Manhattan on the 16th and took Fort Lee two days later. Washington fled with what was left of his army further into New Jersey, pursued by Cornwallis, which pursuit is the final event shown on the map. The cause of rebellion appeared all-but lost, until Washington’s surprise victories at Trenton and Princeton in December.

Remarkably, the printed map was published by Faden in London on February 25th, 1777, less than three months after the final date depicted. It is closely, though not exactly, based on a manuscript by Claude Joseph Sauthier, a Swiss-born engineer serving under Lord Percy (The manuscript is now in the Faden Collection at the Library of Congress.) A native of France, Sauthier came to the Colonies in 1767 and was employed by Governor Tryon of North Carolina. When in 1771 Tryon assumed the governorship of New York, Sauthier accompanied him and soon went to work on a survey of the eastern part of the province, which at the time included all of present-day Vermont. He was also involved in running the boundary line between New York and Quebec at the 45th parallel, which boundary is shown on the present map. During the Revolution he served on the staff of Lord Percy in the battles in and around New York City. William Faden also published several other maps based on his New York surveys, including battle plans and the monumental Chorographical Map of the Province of New York.

Nebenzahl, Atlas of the American Revolution, #13, pp. 88-89 (illus.) Nebenzahl, Checklist of Battle Plans, #101 (2nd state). Phillips, Maps of America, p. 1071. Sellers & Van Ee, Maps and Charts of North America and the West Indies, # 1056 (2nd state). Stevens and Tree, “Comparative Cartography” in Tooley, The Mapping of America, #45b (2nd state). Cumming’s British Maps of Colonial America provides a brief biography of Sauthier, pp. 72-74. Allen’s “The Mapping of New York State” provides helpful background on the mapping of the region.


Minor mends and reinforcements. “23” in ink on verso, showing through slightly at upper right.