On Saturday, February 17, 2018, from 10 am to 4 pm, and Monday, February 19, from 10 am to 4 pm on Presidents’ weekend, re-enactors will bring to life the Continental Army’s final winter encampment at the New Windsor Cantonment, with musket and cannon firings, medical demonstrations and other aspects of daily life.
Discontent filled the encampment at New Windsor during the winter of 1782-83 as the men bitterly reflected upon their ill-treatment by an ungrateful nation. Heavily armed and angry, the disgruntled officers and soldiers of the Continental Army were the biggest threat to the future of the country. Continue reading
The New Windsor Cantonment will host the presentation Dogs, Candles & Brass Doorknobs: Nighttime in the 18th Century, on Saturday, September 30th at 7 pm.
More than two hundred years ago, sunset was a time of foreboding darkness in which the most insidious creatures came out to do their worst. The tamed retreated to their abodes to wait the liberating first morning light. Attendees can learn what role ghosts, specters, apparitions, criminals and other denizens of the night played in the lives of these people. Continue reading
The New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site and National Temple Hill Association will present a night of Revolutionary War military drills, musket firings and other period activities on Saturday August 5, from 7 to 9:30 pm.
The authentically-constructed log huts were commissioned by the Town of New Windsor, New York during the Bicentennial of the American Revolution to highlight their historic property, encompassing a large portion of the 1782-83 final winter encampment of the northern Continental Army. This property is currently managed by the National Temple Hill Association on behalf of the Town of New Windsor. Primarily responsible for the preservation of a large portion of this encampment site, the National Temple Hill Association also operates the mid-18th century stone house owned by James Edmonston that was used for a short time as a headquarters by Major General Horatio Gates. Continue reading
Nighttime in the past was different than today-far darker and more hazardous. In the Middle Ages night was seen as a sort of anti-time, the very negative of day, when all things bad happened and only people with evil intent were found on the street.
All this began to change in the 18th century. Street lighting in big cities became more common and medieval curfews were abandoned. Less a source of fear than in the past people were more likely to see beauty in a starry sky and to seek out nightly entertainment instead of hiding behind locked doors. Yet the 18th century was still very much a period of transition. Continue reading
Depending on where you are or who you talk to, the third Monday in February represents either Presidents’ Day or Washington’s Birthday. At three Revolutionary War historic sites in the Hudson Valley, the day is part of a three-day celebration of George Washington.
The Friends of the State Historic Sites of the Hudson Highlands (FSHSHH) have created an inclusive schedule to the array of activities taking place at Washington’s Headquarters, Knox’s Headquarters, and the New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Sites on February 14th, 15th, and 16th. Each day offers something new. Continue reading
General Washington knew exactly what he was about, in the summer of 1781, by trying to convince the British and his own soldiers that he would attack New York City. Unbeknownst to all but trusted officials, he had agreed to move with the French Army south to Virginia.
In Virginia, a French naval force from the Caribbean would join them to complete the encirclement of the British Army at Yorktown. The soldiers of the 2nd and 3rd Continental Artillery Regiments, encamped at New Windsor, NY since the previous November, spent their time assembling and training on heavy siege artillery. Without the heavy guns to batter down the fortifications of British General Cornwallis’ Army at Yorktown, the decisive victory achieved there would not have been possible. Continue reading
New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site will host a weekend of Revolutionary War military firing demonstrations and period activities on Saturday April 26 and Sunday April 27, presented by the Brigade of the American Revolution, an international organization dedicated to recreating the life and times of the common soldier of the War for Independence, 1775-1783.
A battle demonstration takes place at 2:00 PM each day with colorfully uniformed soldiers firing muskets, a cannon and maneuvering to the music of fifes and drums. The soldiers will also set up tents, prepare cooking fires and demonstrate other aspects of 18th century life. Continue reading
Knox’s Headquarters in Newburgh and the New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site will be offering a full schedule of activities for the Presidents’ weekend. New Windsor Cantonment was the final encampment of the northern Continental Army, in 1782-83. Here over 7,000 soldiers and 500 family members endured the winter and prepared for a renewal of the fighting in the spring. Instead peace was proclaimed and after 8 long years of war they returned home.
Knox’s Headquarters, the elegant 1754 combination English and Dutch style home, of the prosperous merchant miller John Ellison, was one of the longest occupied military headquarters of the Revolutionary War. Continental Army Generals, Nathanael Greene, Henry Knox and Horatio Gates used the house as headquarters, during various periods between 1779-1783. Continue reading
Recently, I was appointed a THVIP with Teaching the Hudson Valley. The role of a THVIP is to “find new and better ways to help reach Hudson Valley children and young people with place-based education,” both in and out of the classroom.
I’ve been thinking about some of the great historical sites around Orange and Ulster counties. A personal favorite, and not just because I once worked there, is the New Windsor Cantonment. Continue reading
Saturday, August 11 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM, at the re-created huts, administered by the Last Encampment of the Continental Army, on the west side of Route 300 and on the north side of Causeway Road, at the New Windsor Cantonment & Knox’s Headquarters State Historic Sites in Vails Gate, NY (Orange County), interact with soldiers and their family members as they prepare, in the late spring of 1783, for the end of the encampment.
After 8 years of war, most of the army was finally be allowed to go home, but some soldiers had to remain under arms until the British evacuated New York City. There was tension in the air. Knowing that their time was short, soldiers lashed out at their officers. One, they hung in effigy. Causing further resentment, the soldiers would not receive their long overdue pay, only certificates for three months pay, redeemable in six months.
Tour the encampment grounds by the glow of tin lanterns. See military drills and musket firings, maybe even join-in a demonstration with wooden muskets. Following the capture of British forces by the allied armies of France and America, at Yorktown, Virginia, in the fall of 1781, the northern Continental Army returned to the Hudson Highlands. The destruction of the principal British field army in the south broke England’s will to continue the struggle. In the fall of 1782, near New Windsor, 7,500 Continental Army soldiers built a city of 600 log huts near New Windsor. Along with some of their family members, they braved the winter and kept a wary eye on the 12,000 British troops in New York City, just 60 miles away.
The event is co-sponsored by the National Temple Hill Association and New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site. The National Temple Hill Association administers the Last Encampment of the Continental Army for the Town of New Windsor and owns the historic Edmonston House. New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site is part of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission.