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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
[HD] Historic Deerfield; [MH] Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; [MH SK] The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College; [SC] Smith College Museum of Art; [UM] University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst

 


Maker(s):Ashley, Moses
Culture:American (1749-1791)
Title:Drawing: Plan of battle
Date Made:1780
Type:Documentary Artifact
Materials:laid paper; ink; watercolors
Place Made:New York State; West Point
Measurements:Overall: 16 3/4 in x 26 in; 42.5 cm x 66 cm
Accession Number:  HD 2018.18
Credit Line:Hall and Kate Peterson Fund for Paintings, Prints, Drawings, and Photographs
2018-18_front_ATtt.jpg

Description:
Continental Army plan of battle for West Point, New York showing infantry regiments, dragoons, artillery, and light infantry. Inscribed across top: " The Line, or order of Battle of the Army of the United State[piece missing - s Campai] gn 1780 Commanded by / His Excellency Geor [piece missing - ge Washington]" Inscribed verso: 'Moses Ashley Esq ./ Major Brigade to the 2d/ Massachusetts Brigade / in Service United States of / America" Continental Army Line of Battle for West Point, New York, owned and probably drawn by Major Moses Ashley, 2nd Massachusetts Battalion, c. 1780 Note: This "line, or order of battle" was probably drawn after Major General Benedict Arnold defected to the British in the summer of 1780. His plan was to surrender West Point to the British, sectioning off eastern New York and the other eastern colonies. After Arnold's escape, George Washington moved troops from New Jersey to this area to protect that vital area of the Hudson River. Other text on the front is as follows: "Lee's Corps of Light Dragoons, Consisting of 3 Troops/ Col. ? Regimt Col Shepard Regimt Col. ? Regimt/ Genl Poor's Brigade Light Infantry/ Col. Marks Regimt Col Ogden Regimt Col Steward Regimt/ Forty Eight Company of Light Infantry, Composing Six Regiments under Command of Major Genl Marquis De La Fayette/ Col. Moylans Corp of Light Dragoons/ Consisting of 6 Troops/ B Genl Poor B Genl Starks This Division commanded by Maj Genl M Dougal Massachusetts Brigade 1st Massachusetts Brigade B Genl Glover B Genl Nixon/ This Division Commanded by Major General Howe/ New York Brigade New Jersey Brigade B Genl Clinton B Genl Maxwell/ Pennsylvania Brigade B Genl Irvine B Genl Wayne/ This Division commanded by Major Genl Lord Sterling/ Col. Lamb's Regiment Col. Proctor's Regiment Park of Ar[tillery] Brigade [K]nox/ 4th Massachusetts Brigade Late Learned B Genl Paterson/ This Division commanded by Maj. Genl Baron Steuben/ Connecticut Brigade B Genl Hunt Connecticut Brigade B Genl Parsons/ Commanded by the oldest Brigadier/ The Left Wing of the Army Comprehending Howes & McDougles Divisions in the first Line & Steubins in the Rear Line/ Commanded at Present by Major Genl Lord Stirling composing a corp of 22 Battalions. The American Army as drawn up in a Line of Battle, with 33 Battalions of the first line, & 15 Battalions in ?/ of Dragoons on the East Side Hudsons River & an inoperant Corps Call'd the Marshelsea under Captain Van Harien./ The Right Wing of the Army comprehending St. Clair's & Sterlings Divisions in the first line & Connecticut Division in the rear line/ Commanded by Major General Green, composing a Corps of [?]6 Battalions./ Line 3 Battalions of Artillery 48 Companies of Light Infantry 9 Troops of Cavalry exclusive of Sheldons Regt of ?[foot?] All in this Department Under his Excellency's Immediate Command above Specified."

Label Text:
Military engineers were called upon to draft organized plans for pending battles. The florid signature on the reverse of this Line of Battle and Moses Ashley’s rank of Major suggest that this manuscript plan was his artwork for a large-scale battle that never happened on the Hudson River near West Point, New York, not so far from Ashley’s hometown of Westfield, Massachusetts. In the summer and fall of 1780 as Washington contemplated how the Continental Army might retake New York City and avenge his worst defeat of the Revolution of 1776, Major General Benedict Arnold defected to the British escaping a large-scale skirmish at West Point and taking with him what he knew of Washington’s strategy. This Battle Plan, which incorporates an early use of the term “United States,” is a full snapshot of the Continental Army that summer with valuable information about each regiment’s identity – infantry, light infantry, dragoons (cavalry), artillery, and how their skills were coordinated for hoped success in a battle that never occurred.

Link to share this object record:
https://museums.fivecolleges.edu/detail.php?t=objects&type=ext&id_number=HD+2018.18

Research on objects in the collections, including provenance, is ongoing and may be incomplete. If you have additional information or would like to learn more about a particular object, please email fc-museums-web@fivecolleges.edu.

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