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"Hollow Way at Harlem Heights" Topic

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817 hits since 27 Jun 2017
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Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP27 Jun 2017 2:56 p.m. PST

I am building terrain for a Harlem Heights scenario. What would be the best way to represent the Hollow Way? I was thinking of a small valley or gulley, putting it at a lower level. Make it wide enough for one base so units can go down it in march column. Looking for suggestions. Am I on the right track, so to speak?

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP27 Jun 2017 3:36 p.m. PST

Something like this.


Early morning writer27 Jun 2017 9:20 p.m. PST

I think, no, not like your link at all. By my reading, the Hollow Way is a broad expanse of land between two higher elevations of land, one occupied by the Americans and the other by the British. I'm afraid your linked image is much too confined for the Hollow Way at Harlem Heights. At least by my reading. Remember, a main portion of the battle occurred in the Hollow Way. At least one map shows part of the Hollow Way at almost a half mile width. Better to think of it as a rather small, confined valley than a confined path. Hope that helps.

42flanker28 Jun 2017 5:29 a.m. PST

Rallynow, EMW has it right. The Hollow Way was a fairly broad declivity between the Bloomingdale heights and Harlem Heights proper, where Washington had formed up his army to await the British.

There was space for American troops on the north edge to march out and decoy the British light infantry piquets, who came 'scampering' down the opposite slope to a middle point where both sides blazed away in a fairly pointless exchange of musketry at maximum range.

If you are interested in Harlem Heights, you can't do better than read Henry Johnson's thorough and even-handed investigation of the action (even though he refers to the British as 'The Enemy' throughout!):

The link is to his map of the area where the fighing took place, on p.98. There are several others earlier in the book setting the scene.

Bad Painter28 Jun 2017 7:31 a.m. PST

The "Hollow Way" which features so prominently in the accounts of Harlem Heights is quite wide. The NYC Subway in the area is elevated since the hollow dips below the level of the underground tracks on either side of it. I would say that the hollow is about 3/4 of a mile wide, certainly well beyond musket range. It obviously doesn't look like it did back in 1776, but the street view in Google Earth will show you that there is a pronounced "dip" along Broadway between West 130th and West 120th Streets in Manhattan.

Haitiansoldier Inactive Member28 Jun 2017 9:19 a.m. PST

I don't much about Harlem Heights. I have gamed Long Island though, and that was fought only 2 weeks before.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP28 Jun 2017 11:41 a.m. PST

What is throwing me for a loop is the scenario in the BG scenario book, I think its the third book. The book doesn't have a map key that I can find. It represents the Hollow Way with a thin brown line. Which I knew could not be correct. Thanks for the map 42flanker. I just thought that BG map was wrong. That's why I posted the question. I have never fully trusted those BG scenario books.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP28 Jun 2017 11:55 a.m. PST

I don't have the book with me but the text doesn't match the the OB or the map. The reinforcement schedule in the text seems to be at odds with the OB.

42flanker28 Jun 2017 3:15 p.m. PST

What the brown line may be representing is what Johnson refers to as the 'Manhattanville road' (modern 125th Street aprox) a track that ran along the Hollow Way, lesding towards an inlet on the Hudson river.

Here is a picture of the West 125th Street Station viaduct (coincidentally, in the news today) indicating the depth of the valley.

(Scroll down three pictures. Sorry, couldnt post the jpg)


Bad Painter29 Jun 2017 6:46 a.m. PST

This Link might be helpful, or a great time waster,


Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP29 Jun 2017 10:24 a.m. PST

Thanks for all the great links. I think I have enough to put together a plausible scenario. I will post photos to my Flickr account and link to TMP. That way everyone can see how bad my recreation of the battle is. It is scheduled on our club calendar for October. I like to start on these projects early.

42flanker29 Jun 2017 12:03 p.m. PST

Bad painter- it's a ,i>wonderful time waster- I refer to it frequently and it does give a good sense of the scale of country from 105th to 125th over which they fought, with the inlet at the foot of the Hollow Way clearly visible. Best reference points: St John's Cathedral and Grant's Tomb.

42flanker29 Jun 2017 12:07 p.m. PST

Rally, I'd say remember to ignore the upper estimates of British forces actually engaged; at most, eventually, there were elements of two Light Infantry batallions, one strong 'wing'/battalion of the 42nd, the jägers and a couple of guns.

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