Washington ordered his men to continue forward in an effort to bait the British onto the northern plateau. His plan was successful, allowing a second force to sever potential British reinforcements from reaching the southern plateau. Upon realizing their now-tenuous situation, the isolated British began to withdraw as American reinforcements arrived. Washington's men engaged the British, and Knowlton was killed during that fight.
After about two hours of battle, British forces were running low on ammunition and isolated from their supply lines, forcing them to withdraw. Eventually, the British received reinforcements, negating Washington's temporary advantage and forcing him to withdraw his men. Allthough unable to fully press his advantage, this event marked the first American victory in the New York Campaign-a series of battles and skirmishes that saw the British quickly take control of North America's leading port city. The victory at Harlem Heights bought time for the rest of Washington's army to make a more orderly withdrawal from New York so they could fortify Fort Washington and Fort Lee. As a result, Washington's army was able to offer a stronger defense when the two armies met again at the Battle of White Plains.