Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Two British Military Unit Histories that Note Participation in the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776

Today's Historic Pelham Blog provides information about two British military unit histories that reference the units' participation in the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776. The references are interesting because both minimize the importance of the battle, referencing it as merely and "action" and a "skirmish".

While professional historians have noted the tendency of avocational local historians to magnify the importance of events such as local Revolutionary and Civil War battles, professional and avocational historians seem to agree that the Battle of Pelham was an important delaying action that played a significant role in giving Washington's Continental Army time to withdraw from upper Manhattan to the heights of White Plains. Thus, it is all the more interesting that the histories of these two British military units minimize the importance of the battle.

Cannon, Richard, Historical Record of the Seventeenth Regiment of Light Dragoons; - Lancers: Containing an Account of the Formation of the Regiment in 1759, and of its Subsequent Services to 1841, p. 18 (London: John W. Parker, West Strand, 1841) (notes the following: "the regiment was also engaged in the action at Pelham-manor on the 18th of October. Advancing up the country the regiment joined the army on the 20th of October").

Trimen, Richard, An Historical Memoir of the 35th Royal Sussex Regiment of Foot, p. 54 (Southampton: The Southampton Times Newspaper and Printing and Publishing Company (Limited), 1873) (states "The army that had left the city amounted to nearly thirteen thousand men, and was commanded by General Howe; it had a sharp skirmish with the enemy at a place called Pell's Point, at the mouth of the Hutchinson River, on the 18th, and on the 21st marched through Pelham's Manor to New Rochelle, situated on the coast of the Sound, which channel separates Long Island from the continent.").

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