The Battle of White Plains

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Gregory J. Knott

I must admit that I haven’t extensively studied many of the battles of the American Revolution, but while visiting White Plains, NY I ran across a small park called “Battle of White Plains Park” and Chatteron’s Hill.   This peeked my curiosity, so I stopped and took a look around.

The Battle of White Plains was between the American Patriots and British forces along with Hessian troops supporting the British.  The events unfolded on October 28, 1776. You might expect to report a resounding American victory, but the facts are that General George Washington was retreating northward from the Battle of Long Island and New York City (which the British had captured) and the British General William Howe saw an opportunity to cut off Washington’s escape route. 

Washington’s troops were outnumbered with the British have 14,000 troops.  The British had enlisted a large group of Hession troops to reinforce their position.  Chatterton’s Hill was the key position in the battle with America’s defenders holding the lines.

Chatterton's Hill

Howe’s battle plan called for attacking Chatteron Hill with the Hessians moving towards it.  Washington ordered Major General Joseph Spencer and 2,500 American troops to block the Hessians.  A battle ensued forcing the Americans to retreat.  Having only a Two-Gun battery, the Americans followed Washington’s orders of “Do the Best You Can.” Losses were higher on the British side with 313 killed and wounded.  The American figures have been estimated from 100-250 killed, wounded or captured.    

The Battle of White Plains

Washington’s troops withdrew into the nearby woods and eventually over the Hudson River.  Howe didn’t pursue Washington as heavy rains set in and he failed to draw Washington out from the American positions. Later Washington was chased across into New Jersey.  On December 26, Washington crossed the Delaware River and surprised the British with the Battle of Trenton ensuing.

Both General Washington and General Howe were Freemasons.


WB Gregory J. Knott is the Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 in St. Joseph (IL) and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL) and Naval Lodge No. 4 in Washington, DC. He’s a member of the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, Eastern Star and is the Charter Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign-Urbana. He is also a member of ANSAR Shrine (IL) and the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. Greg serves on the Board of Directors of The Masonic Society and is a member of the Scottish Rite Research Society and The Philathes Society. Greg is very involved in Boy Scouts—an Eagle Scout himself, he is a member of the National Association of Masonic Scouters

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