Hastings-on-Hudson in Westchester County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Washington's Continental Army
"It was a motley group—Yankees, Irishmen, Buckskins [frontiersmen] and what not." —Private Joseph Plumb Martin
General Washington was determined to instill discipline, feed his troops, and train them to face the experienced and battle-hardened British Army. By 1778 Washington commanded 17,000 soldiers in the Continental Army. In August he formed a Light Infantry Corps under the command of General Charles Scott. These units were designed to be small, agile strike forces to probe the enemy's defenses, disrupt supply lines, and conduct reconnaissance, waging what today might be called "guerrilla warfare." Dragoons, soldiers trained to fight with swords from horseback, were crucial combatants at the Battle of Edgar's Lane as well.
The Continental Army—an unruly group assembled from all 13 states—was ethnically as well as regionally diverse. In the words of Joseph Plumb Martin, who fought at the Battle of Edgar's Lane:
"The regiment that I belonged to was made up of about one half New-Englanders and the remainder were chiefly Pennsylvanians, two sets of people
Black men, whether free or enslaved, were barred from military service in the Continental Army until February 23, 1778. Some were promised their freedom if they enlisted, as was the case with the 1st Rhode Island Regiment. Many more joined the British Army when Virginia Crown Governor Lord Dunmore also promised freedom to enslaved men from the South. While both promises fell far short, many Black soldiers fought bravely on both sides.
Native Americans such as local heroes Sachem Daniel Nimham of the Munsee Nation and the Indian Company also fought and died for the Patriot cause. Some estimates say that up to 15% of the Continental Army was made up of men of color at different points during the war.
During the dreadful winter of 1777-78 at Valley Forge, Washington trained these diverse and battered troops with the help of Prussian military officer Baron von Steuben. A unified military force capable of facing the British Army emerged.
Life Mask of George Washington, Jean-Antoine Houdon, 1785
A rare surviving military flag of the Revolutionary War, representing the 2nd Continental Light Dragoons, was captured by British officer Banastre Tarleton at Pound Ridge in 1779. The regiment was commanded by Colonel Elisha Sheldon for whom Sheldon Place in Hastings is named.
Major Henry Lee III, "Light-Horse Harry" Lee
Portrait of prominent Virginian Henry Lee, promoted to Major at 22 and given command of a corps under Colonel Butler (later known as "Lee's Legion"), whose cavalry was at the center of the Battle of Edgar's Lane. Also known to history as the father of Robert E. Lee.
Lieutenant Colonel Richard Butler
Portrait of Colonel Richard Butler, described by Joseph Plumb Martin, who served under him at the Battle of Edgar's Lane, as "a brave officer, but a fiery, austere hothead. I have more than once or twice seen him with a 'black eye,' and have seen other officers that he had honored with the same badge."
Soldiers at the Siege of Yorktown, Jean-Baptiste-Antoine DeVerger, 1781
Watercolor of various soldiers of the Continental Army, including a rare depiction of a Black soldier from the 1st Rhode Island Regiment. Known as "the Black regiment," it was largely made up of formerly enslaved men.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Native Americans • Patriots & Patriotism • War, US Revolutionary. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #01 George Washington series list. A significant historical date for this entry is February 23, 1778.
Location. 40° 59.884′ N, 73° 52.902′ W. Marker is in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, in Westchester County. Marker is at the intersection of Warburton Avenue and Broadway (U.S. 9), on the right when traveling south on Warburton Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 623 Warburton Ave, Hastings on Hudson NY 10706, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Hessians: Hired by the King (here, next to this marker); The Battle of Edgar's Lane (here, next to this marker); After the Battle (here, next to this marker); Seven Years of Fear: Hastings and the Neutral Ground (here, next to this marker); The American Revolution in 1778 (here, next to this marker); The Skirmish of Edgar's Lane (a few steps from this marker); Community Gardens in Zinsser Park / Los Jardines Comunitarios en el Parque Zinsser (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Battle of Edgar's Lane (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hastings-on-Hudson.
Credits. This page was last revised on March 12, 2022. It was originally submitted on March 12, 2022, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 107 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on March 12, 2022, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.