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.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

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

On November 1, 2006, I published to the Historic Pelham Blog an item entitled "Two British Military Unit Histories That Note Participation in the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776". Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting provides information about several additional British military unit histories that also note their members' participation in the Battle of Pelham.

Hamilton, F. W., The Origin and History of the First or Grenadier Guards. From Documents in the State Paper Office, War Office, Horse Guards, Contemporary History, Regimental Records, Etc. by Lieut.-Gen. Sir F. W. Hamilton, K.C.R. Late Grenadier Guards. In Three Volumes, Vol. II, pp. 220- (London: John Murray, Albemarle Street 1874) ("With the view to forcing the Americans from their strong position at Haerlem without having recourse to a direct attack on their lines, General Howe, leaving four brigades in New York, under Lord Percy, embarked the Guards and the rest of the army on the 12th of October, and passing up East River through the passage called Hell Gates, landed his troops at Frog's Neck, from whence if he had advanced rapidly he might have surrounded the American army before they could retire by Kingsbridge. General Washington had proposed to await the conflict on York Island, but upon the advice of General Lee, withdrew all his troops, and posted them behind entrenchments extending from Kingsbridge to Whiteplains, facing the east, having the Brunx, a deep river, in their front. General Howe determined to pursue, in the hope of still bringing the enemy to action, and the British troops accordingly re-embarking at Frog's Neck on the 18th, landed a little further eastward at Pell's Point, with but slight opposition, and with the loss of thirty-two men killed and wounded. On the 21st the main body reached New Rochelle, whence it advanced towards Whiteplains, where the American army [Page 220 / Page 221] was concentrating, and on the approach of the British on the morning of the 28th of October, the Americans hastily struck their tents and prepared for action. . . . ").

Smythies, R. H. Raymond, Historical Records of the 40th (2nd Somersetshire) Regiment, Now 1st Battalion The Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment) From its Formation, in 1717, to 1893. By Captain R. H. Raymond Smythies, 1st Bu. P.W.V. (South Lancashire Regiment.), pp. 44-45 (Devonport, England: A. H. Swiss 1894) ("New York was subsequently caputred, and the 40th took part in the operations. The Americans, however, took up another position, and General Howe, in order to cut them off from New England, embarked a portion of the British troops in boats and landed them, on 12th October, near Chester. The grenadier and light companies of the regiment formed part of this force, but the remainder, with the rest of the fourth brigade and two other brigades, under Lord percy, remained at Haarlem to cover New York. [Paragraph] On the 18th the troops under General Howe were again embarked, and landed at Pell's point. From thence they advanced and [Page 44 / Page 45] encountered a detachment of Provincials, when a sharp skirmish ensued, in which several were killed and wounded.* [Footnote * Reads as Follows: "* Of the 40th, Lieutenant Colonel Musgrave, commanding one of the battalions of light infantry, was wounded; two men of the light company were killed, and several wounded."]").

Fortescue, J. W., A History of the 17th Lancers (Duke of Cambridge's Own) by Hon. J. W. Fortescue, pp. 38-39 (London: MacMillan and Co. 1895) ("The Americans then evacuated New York town and retired to the northern extremity of New York Island, where Washington fortified a position from Haarlem to Kingsbridge along the Hudson River in order to secure his retreat across it to the mainland. The English warships now moved up the Hudson to cut off that retreat; and Howe having left four brigades to cover New York town, embarked the rest on flat-bottomed boats to turn Washington's position. The flotilla passed through Hell Gate; and Howe having wasted a deal of time in disembarking the troops first at the wrong place, landed them finally at Pell's Point, the corner which divides East River from Long Island Sound, and [Page 38 / Page 39] forms the extreme point of the spit of continent that runds down to New York Island. The advanced parties of the Seventeenth were engaged in a trifling skirmish at Pelham Manor, a little to the north of Pell's Point, shortly after disembarkation; but the British advance was practically unopposed, and the army was concentrated at New Rochelle, on Long Island Sound, on the 21st October.").

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