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Morrisania, New York

Morrisania, New York

MORRISANIA, NEW YORK. Actions at. Located in what now is the South Bronx, Morrisania was the ancestral home of the Morris family. It first experienced the war by being on the British route of advance to White Plains during the New York Campaign. Thereafter it became a key point in the British defensive lines and a frequent camp location for Loyalist forces. The three most serious skirmishes there occurred on 5 August 1779, 22 January 1781, and 4 March 1782. Only the second of these is mentioned in most accounts of the war. In a bold raid that pushed more than three miles within the British lines, Lieutenant Colonel William Hull of Parsons's Connecticut Brigade attacked the quarters of the Third Battalion of De Lancey's Loyalist Brigade. He burned barracks and the ponton bridge over the Harlem River, destroyed a great store of forage, and at the price of twenty-five casualties withdrew with fifty-two prisoners, some horses, and some cattle. At daybreak on 23 January, Lieutenant Colonel James De Lancey and his Refugee troops contested the rebels' retreat as far as Williams's bridge, which was defended on the far side by Patriot troops. The Refugees then fell back.

In the maneuvers of July 1781 preceding the Yorktown Campaign, the duc de Lauzun proposed another attack on De Lancey's battalion, but when the element of surprise was compromised the plan was canceled.

SEE ALSO Morris, Gouverneur; Morris, Lewis; Yorktown Campaign.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Crary, Catherine S. "Guerrilla Activities of James De Lancey's Cowboys in Westchester County: Conventional Warfare or Self-Interested Freebooting?" In The Loyalist Americans: A Focus on Greater New York. Edited by Robert A. East and Jacob Judd. Tarrytown, N.Y.: Sleepy Hollow Restorations, 1975.

Hufeland, Otto. Westchester County during the American Revolution, 1775–1783. Harrison, N.Y.: Harbor Hill Books, 1974.

                           revised by Robert K. Wright Jr.

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