Tag Archives: New Windsor Cantonment

Continental Army Encampment for Washington’s Birthday


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During the winter of 1782-83, the soldiers of the northern Continental Army anxiously waited, in New Windsor, for news of the peace treaty. Though peace might be announced, Washington still ordered his soldiers to train for battle. On Sunday February 20 from 1:00 to 4:00 PM and Monday February 21, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, on Presidents’ weekend, soldiers will bring to life the Continental Army’s final winter encampment with musket and cannon firings, blacksmithing, medical demonstrations and other aspects of daily life at New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site in Newburgh.

On Sunday at 1:30 & 3:30 PM and Monday at 11:00 AM, 1:30 & 3:30 PM see muskets and cannon fired. Following these firings, children enlist in the Continental Army, drill with wooden muskets and get paid in Continental currency for their service. New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site is co-located with the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor on Route 300, 374 Temple Hill Road, in New Windsor, NY, just three miles south of the intersection of I-87 and I-84. For more information please call (845) 561-1765 ext. 22.

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.

Nearby, Washington’s Headquarters, at 84 Liberty Street, in Newburgh, has a full schedule of activities for the Presidents’ weekend to honor our nation’s founding fathers and the soldiers who fought for our independence. Washington’s Headquarters is open Saturday February 19, Sunday February 20 and Monday February 21 from 12:00 to 4:30 PM each day. For more information please call (845) 562-1195.

Photo: Continental Army Soldiers Michael McGurty, from Montgomery, in front and Grant Miller, from New Windsor, in back, Drill in the Snow.

‘You Are Needed at Headquarters’ at New Windsor Cantonment


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“You Are Needed at Headquarters” a special presentation on the important role of the Continental Army military headquarters in Newburgh and New Windsor, will be held at the New Windsor Cantonment on September 25, 2010. The event includes special tours of the Edmonston House, headquarters for Major General Arthur St. Clair, Knox’s Headquarters State Historic Site and Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site.

Once the British captured New York City, in 1776, the natural defenses of the Hudson Highlands sheltered the Continental Army for the remainder of the war, except for a few weeks, in the fall of 1777. Many of the homes in the valley were used as military headquarters. Typically, the soldiers stayed in tents during mild weather and constructed log huts for the winter. The highest ranking officers vied with each other to stay in the most comfortable houses available. In the sparsely populated Highlands, there were few places large enough to accommodate the generals and their retinue, without being a major burden on the property owner, who often continued living in the house. Learn about the role of these headquarters and the interaction between the army and their often reluctant hosts.

The formal presentation, at the New Windsor Cantonment, from 1:00 to 2:00 PM, will give visitors the background of the American military presence, in the Hudson Valley, during the Revolutionary War. General George Washington made his headquarters at the home of the widow Hasbrouck, south of Newburgh. The modest fieldstone home was used for 16 months, the longest occupation of any headquarters by Washington. Constructed in 1754, the elegant John Ellison house was the military headquarters for Quartermaster General Nathanael Greene and artillery commander General Henry Knox, in 1779. Knox returned in 1780-81 and over the summer of 1782. Appointed commander of the army at New Windsor, in October 1782, General Horatio Gates, victor of the Battle of Saratoga, resided there from November 1782-April 1783. First billeted at the Edmonston House, Gates complained directly to Washington that “your Excellency’s dog kennel at Mount Vernon, is as good a Quarter as that I am now in.” If the Edmonston House was any where near as bad as Gates intimated, it was fortunate that the New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Maryland Detachment commander, at the New Windsor Cantonment, General Arthur St. Clair, the next occupant, spent much of the winter of 1782-83 home on furlough.

From 2:00 to 5:00 PM, visitors are invited to visit Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site on Liberty Street, in Newburgh, New York, Knox’s Headquarters, at the intersection of Route 94 and Forge Hill Road, in Vails Gate and Edmonston House, located on Route 94, west of the Vails Gate intersection with Routes 32 and 300. There is a small fee to tour Washington’s Headquarters and the Edmonston House. For more information please call New Windsor Cantonment at (845) 561-1765 ext. 22. New Windsor Cantonment is co-located with the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor on Route 300 (374 Temple Hill Road) in the Town of New Windsor, four miles east of Stewart Airport. It is three miles from the intersection of I-87 and I-84 in Newburgh, New York.

New Windsor Purple Heart Appreciation Day


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National Purple Heart Hall of Honor and the New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site will celebrate Purple Heart Appreciation Day this Saturday August 7, 2010 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at the New Windsor Cantonment.

228 years ago General George Washington’s orders created the Badge of Military Merit. It was to be a heart shaped piece of Purple cloth, given in recognition of a singular act of merit and was the inspiration for the modern Purple Heart. The award we now call the Purple Heart was created in 1932. Today’s program honors all who have earned the Purple Heart, and commemorates the history behind this award.


The day’s program will include a military time line of America’s soldiers from the 17th through 20th centuries and will also feature Veteran’s Administration and local veteran’s organizations to provide information to veteran’s of the services available to them.

Throughout the day 18th century children’s games will be available.

1:00 p.m: In the Temple of Virtue there will be a short lecture on the history of the Purple Heart

2:00 p.m.:A weapons firing demonstrations that will show weapons across time.

Admission is FREE

For more information please call 845-561-1765

The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor and New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Sites are located at 374 Temple Hill Road (Route 300) in the town of New Windsor, three miles south of I-84 exit 7B and I-87 exit 17. Parking, gift shop, and picnic grounds are located on site. Museum exhibits are open 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday – Saturday and from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM on Sunday.

Event: Last Encampment of the Continental Army


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On Saturday August 14, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM visitors to the New Windsor Cantonment in Orange County can experience by candlelight the recreated dramatic last days of the encampment at New Windsor, before most of the Continental Army returned home after 8 years of war. Costumed historians will interact with visitors as if they were in 1783 at the re-created huts, owned by the Town of New Windsor and administered by the Last Encampment of the Continental Army, on the west side of Route 300 and on the north side of Causeway Road.

After 8 years of war, most of the army was finally 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.

Visitors will here tales of past glories, suffering, and share their hopes and aspirations for an uncertain future and tour the encampment grounds by the glow of tin lanterns and experience the tense days before the army left New Windsor, with the soldiers and civilians who once made their homes in the area.

The “residents” have no knowledge of any events past June 1783, like the fact that their beloved General Washington will one day be the President of the United States, with strong powers enumerated in the 1787 Constitution.

Visitors will meet few, if any, names that they recognize from history, but instead humble souls whose efforts combined with thousands of others, helped forge a nation. This type of presentation, called “first-person living history,” has developed into a very exciting way to make history more meaningful to visitors. This technique is used at Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts and Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia.

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.

Photo: Two Soldiers of the Massachusetts Line, in a Hut, at the Last Encampment of the Continental Army, New Windsor, New York

New Windsor, Knox’s Headquarters Independence Days


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The New Windsor Cantonment and Knox’s Headquarters will present a weekend filled with Revolutionary War activities July 3rd and 4th, 2010. Throughout the celebration, authentically dressed soldiers and civilians will share stories of life from that exciting time. In addition, at the New Windsor Cantonment, there will be cannon and musket firings each day at 2:00 P.M. as well as blacksmithing and children’s activities. At Knox’s Headquarters, visitors may tour the beautiful 1754 Ellison House and watch as a small cannon is fired at 1:30 P.M. and 3:30 P.M. each day.

On the 4th, at 3:00 P.M., New Windsor Cantonment invites the audience to help read the Declaration of Independence, the revolutionary document that inspired the holiday. Following the reading, the 7th Massachusetts Regiment will fire a “feu-de-joie,” a ceremonial firing of muskets in honor of independence.

Knox’s Headquarters, the Ellison House, honors the site’s namesake General Henry Knox, Washington’s Chief of Artillery, with the firing of a 4 1/2 ” bronze coehorn mortar at 1:30 P.M. and 3:30 P.M on Saturday July 3 and Sunday July 4. This mortar, designed to be carried by two men, fired a grenade size exploding ball. John and Catherine Ellison were gracious hosts to three Continental Army generals at different times during the Revolutionary War.

Admission is free.

Both New Windsor Cantonment and Knox’s Headquarters will be open Saturday July 3rd, 10:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M. and Sunday July 4th, 1:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.

For more information, please call New Windsor Cantonment at (845) 561-1765 or Knox’s Headquarters at (845) 561-5498.

New Windsor Cantonment is located with the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor on Route 300 (374 Temple Hill Road) in the Town of New Windsor, four miles east of Stewart Airport. It is three miles from the intersection of I-87 and I-84 in Newburgh, New York. Knox’s Headquarters is located, a mile away from the New Windsor Cantonment, at the intersection of Route 94 and Forge Hill Road in Vails Gate.

Photo: 2nd Continental Artillery Soldiers Load a Replica British Cannon

Highland Adventures of William Thompson Howell


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Friends of the State Historic Sites of the Hudson Highlands’ Annual Meeting features presentation on “The Highland Adventures of William Thompson Howell”

The Friends of the State Historic Sites of the Hudson Highlands (FSHSHH) will gather for their Annual Meeting at the Temple Building at New Windsor Cantonment on Saturday, April 17th at 2pm. Following the brief meeting, this year’s program will include a presentation on “The Highland Adventures of William Thompson Howell.”

FSHSHH, a group of local supporters, meet year-round to benefit the activities of three Revolutionary War historic sites: New Windsor Cantonment, Knox’s Headquarters, and Washington’s Headquarters. FSHSHH works to supplement the educational, public event, and collections needs, and to increase public awareness of each sites’ historical significance. This year’s presentation on “The Highland Adventures of William Thompson Howell,” highlights the author, naturalist, photographer, outdoorsman and preservationist.

New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site is where the Continental Army under General George Washington spent the last winter and spring of the Revolutionary War. In October 1782, General Washington moved his northern army to New Windsor to establish winter quarters. Some 7,500 soldiers and 500 women and children civilian refugees encamped here. By late December 1782, they had erected nearly 600 log huts into a “cantonment,” a military enclave.

Nearby, John Ellison’s Georgian-style house in Vails Gate served at the military headquarters of Major General Henry Knox, Commander of the American artillery in 1780-81, and then as headquarters for General Horatio Gates, commandant of the New Windsor Cantonment in 1782-83. And in Newburgh, during those critical last months of the war, General Washington made some of his most important contributions to shaping the American republic at his headquarters in the Jonathon Hasbrouck House, the first publically owned historic site in the nation.

In addition to the special programs and activities, the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor and the New Windsor Cantonment Visitor Center are open. These buildings feature the history of the New Windsor Cantonment; Behind Every Great Man: The Continental Army in Winter, 1782-83, Revolutionary War artifacts, the exhibit The Last Argument of Kings, Revolutionary War Artillery and the story of the Purple Heart. A picnic grove is available and there is plenty of free parking. The site is open to the public Saturday April 17 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Also be sure to visit Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh, a short drive from the New Windsor Cantonment.

New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site is part of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission. The Palisades Interstate Park Commission administers 27 park, parkways and historic sites for the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation in New York as well as the Palisades Interstate Park and parkway in New Jersey. For more information about New York State parks and historic sites, please visit our website at www.nysparks.com and follow the links for historic sites.

1779 Sullivan-Clinton Expedition Against the Iroquois


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After the 1779 Continental Army Sullivan-Clinton Expedition devastated the land of the Iroquois, the people of the Six Nations would forever remember its author, General George Washington, as the “Town Destroyer.” Sunday September 20, at 1:30 PM, the New Windsor Cantonment on Route 300 (374 Temple Hill) in the Town of New Windsor, will host a multi-media presentation “New York’s Missing Link: The Sullivan-Clinton Campaign, Then and Now.” The lecture by Dr. Robert Spiegelman is free.

From 3:30 – 5:00 PM, visitors can interact with Revolutionary War re-enactors portraying the people involved in this historical event and see them fire muskets and a cannon. Admission is free. For more information please call (845) 561-1765. New Windsor Cantonment is located on Route 300 (374 Temple Hill Road) in the Town of New Windsor, four miles east of Stewart Airport. It is three miles from the intersection of I-87 and I-84 in Newburgh, New York.

In June and July 1779, General George Washington, from his New Windsor, New York Headquarters, gave final orders to General John Sullivan, at Easton, Pennsylvania, and General James Clinton, in the Mohawk Valley, to launch the biggest operation, to date, against Native Peoples in North American history. Because of this expedition and subsequent punitive treaties, most of the Iroquois were uprooted from their homelands, which cleared the way for the Erie Canal and Westward Expansion. Strikingly, though Sullivan/Clinton has the most historical markers in New York, it has been nearly forgotten. Spiegelman’s tour-de-force combines fresh research, dramatic visuals and unique animated maps to answer why. It introduces the Campaign’s dark origins, key players, main events, tragic and victorious aftermaths, and lasting results. Beyond the military operation, he shows its impact on native culture, the land and today’s environment. Back from the “memory hole,” Sullivan/Clinton becomes an essential lens on New York and American history. Agreeing with David McCullough that making history boring is a “crime,” Spiegelman unveils Sullivan/Clinton as high drama with present-day impact. For more, please visit www.sullivanclinton.com

Dr. Robert Spiegelman is the president of Real-View Media. As a sociologist, multimedia artist and writer, Spiegelman presents widely on New York, Iroquois, Irish and environmental themes. The founder of SullivanClinton.com and Derryveagh.com, Spiegelman revisits hidden histories that link past and present, and fosters indigenous values of peace, democracy and nature-in-balance. A college teacher for 12 years, he holds a Doctorate in Sociology from CUNY Graduate Center.

The event is co-sponsored by the recreated, Continental Army, 3rd New York Regiment which served in Clinton’s Brigade during the Sullivan-Clinton Expedition. The living historians are members of 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. The remarkable variety of dress worn by participants provides a living window to the past. Green-coated Loyalists and British regulars in red. Among the Patriot forces, you will find both Continentals and militia, dressed in coats that were blue, gray, brown or whatever color happened to be available at the time. Some had no recognizable uniform at all.

In addition to the special programs and activities, the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor and the New Windsor Cantonment Visitor Center will be open. These buildings feature the story of the Purple Heart, the history of the New Windsor Cantonment, Revolutionary War artifacts and the exhibit The Last Argument of Kings, Revolutionary War Artillery. A picnic grove is available and there is plenty of free parking. Just one mile from the Cantonment is Knox’s Headquarters State Historic Site. Elegantly furnished by John and Catherine Ellison, the 1754 mansion served as headquarters for Revolutionary War Generals Nathanael Greene, Henry Knox, and Horatio Gates. Also be sure to visit Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh, a short drive from the New Windsor Cantonment.