Jesse Root autograph
Jesse Root (December 28, 1736 – March 29, 1822) was an American minister and lawyer from Coventry, Connecticut. During the American Revolution he served on the Connecticut Council of Safety and in the Connecticut militia. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress for Connecticut from 1778 until 1782, and sat as chief justice of the state's Supreme Court from 1796 to 1807 as well as a state court judge. He also served in the Connecticut House of Representatives and served in the Connecticut Constitutional Convention
Defeated at the Battle of Long Island, General George Washington withdrew his army to Manhattan on August 29, 1776. Hesitating, General Sir William Howe did not pursue the Americans until September 15. Forcing their way ashore at Kip's Bay, British forces compelled Washington to abandon New York City and retreat north to Harlem Heights
Early in the morning of September 15, British warships took positions on Kip’s Bay to provide protection for a flotilla of flat-bottomed boats that ferried 4,000 British soliers to Manhattan. American forces under Colonel William Douglas put up meager resistance before breaking and running. Washington observed the disarray from a hilltop vantage point, then rushed on horseback into the fray in an attempt to reform the Patriot lines. His cries of encouragement failed to have the desired effect and, increasingly angry, he swatted fleeing soldiers with the flat side of his sword. It was later noted that both privates and colonels were running from the battle and Washington treated both with “democratic indiscrimination.” The commander’s aides finally grabbed the reins of his horse and pulled him from the field in an effort to avoid his capture.
The first American victory of the New York Campaign, the Battle of Harlem Heights saw Washington's army sustain around 30 killed and 100 wounded while inflicting casualties on the British numbering 92-390. Though the victory bolstered morale, it cost Washington a gifted officer in Knowlton. With the Americans holding a strong position, Howe elected to move by water with part of his command to Throg's Neck and then on to Pell's Point. With Howe operating to the east, Washington was forced to abandon his position on northern Manhattan for fear of being cut off. Leaving strong garrisons at Fort Washington on Manhattan and Fort Lee in New Jersey, Washington withdrew to a defensive position at White Plains. On October 28, the armies clashed again at the Battle of White Plains.