A new book about the Battle of White Plains has come out: The Battle of White Plains: Washington and Howe in Westchester by Stephen Paul DeVillo. He is a local historian who has written books on the Bowery and the Bronx River.
“I thought the Battle of White Plains deserves a much closer look,” he said in a telephone interview. “So often it’s given short shrift. It was not just a pit stop between the Fall of New York City and the Battle of Trenton.”
The conventional view is that the British won the battle since they drove General George Washington’s forces off of Chatterton Hill. But according to DeVillo, “It was far from a defeat for Washington’s army.”
DeVillo said Washington had two goals in White Plains. First, he needed to secure the supplies that had been left for him in White Plains and get them to the depot in Fishkill. Second, he needed to hold the road and keep it from the British.
“When you look at who accomplished what they needed to accomplish,” DeVillo said, “Washington accomplished what he came to do. The British general (Howe) did not. His army left the field first. It hardly looks like a British victory when you look at it more closely.”
The Library has two copies of The Battle of White Plains: Washington and Howe in Westchester. One copy circulates and the other is in the Local History Room.