Historic America

Battle of White Plains Historic Site in White Plains, New York

The hustle and bustle of city life obscures the grounds over which two armies fought one of the largest battles of the Revolutionary War.

The Battle of White Plains was fought on October 28, 1776 during George Washington’s retreat from New York City during the Revolutionary War. Washington positioned his depleted Continental Army on hills near White Plains, New York. British General William Howe, with 13,000 men, drove the Continental Army off strategic high ground, but poor weather allowed them to escape. Today, the battle is memorialized by several small monuments and interpretive signs at a park.

In late October 1776, following the battles at Harlem Heights and Pell’s Point, General Washington withdrew northward to counter an attempted encirclement by General Howe. He established 3-mile long defensive positions, including two lines of earthworks, anchored by swampy land near the Bronx River on one flank and Chatterton’s Hill on the other.

The British plan was to attack the Continentals’ right flank at Chatterton’s Hill. Hessians under the command of Colonel Johann Rahl crossed the Bronx River and occupied a hill on the extreme right while British cannon pounded the defenders on the hill. After fierce fighting, the Hessians outflanked Continental positions, and a charge by cavalry dragoons drove them off the hill. Heavy rain delayed further attack, and by the time General Howe advanced on November 1, Washington’s army was gone.

The 1.31 acre city park memorializing the battle was designed and built in 1976. It features a playground, benches, picnic tables, and interpretive signs telling the story of the battle. There are no restrooms, park lighting, or off-street parking. The interpretive signs are decent visual aids, but there isn’t much else to show this was once the scene of a battle. There is a short trail off Chattertown Parkway leading down to a small cannon mounted on a rock retrieved from the Continental Army’s campsite.

Battle of White Plains Park is located at the corner of Whitney Street and Battle Avenue in White Plains, New York, east of the Bronx River. The cannon monument is located in a field where the Bronx River Parkway meets Main Street/Tarrytown Road. Curbside parking is available along Chattertown Parkway, and a walking path leads down to the monument. The park is open sun-up to sun-down.

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