New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site
Temple Hill Road, Vails Gate, Orange County, New York
120 acres (of the original 1,600-acres)
From I-87 (Thruway) exit 17 for Newburgh, turn right onto Rt. 17K, then left onto Rt. 300. Follow Rt. 300 south for 3 miles. New Windsor Cantonment is on the left.
From I-84 exit 7S follow Rt. 300 south for 3 miles. New Windsor Cantonment is on the left.
From south on Rt. 9W, follow signs for Storm King Art Center onto County Rt. 107. Turn right onto Rt. 32 north to intersection with Rt. 94 and Rt. 300 at Vails Gate. Follow Route 300 north for 1 mile. New Windsor Cantonment is on the right.
From north on Rt. 9W in Newburgh turn right onto Broadway, then left onto Rt. 32 and follow south to intersection with Rt. 94 and Rt. 300 at Vails Gate. Turn right onto Rt. 300 and follow north for 1 mile. New Windsor Cantonment is on the right.
Waters from Browns Pond flow north and then south (and are joined by waters from Lake Washington) into Silver Stream through Vails Gate Junction past Revolutionary War General Knox's Headquarters and into Moodna Creek (that then flows northeast and east into the Hudson River).
1749 -- the old village, New Windsor Center (named for Windsor, England), was laid out.
1763 -- the town was established; it includes the hamlets of Vails Gate, Little Britain, and Rock Tavern.
Colonial times -- the original village of New Windsor was located along the Hudson River and served as a ferry terminal from Fishkill Landing, now Beacon. The ferry moved north to Newburgh.
1781 (October) -- the Revolutionary War virtually ended with Cornwallis' defeat at Yorktown, but negotiations for a formal peace treaty did not begin immediately.
1782 (October) -- General George Washington moved his 7,000 man army to New Windsor just north of the Hudson Highlands for winter quarters. There were five states that were camped at the Cantonment: New York, New Jersey, Maryland, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. With the troops were 500 women and children. (Also at the encampment was Deborah Sampson (a.k.a., Robert Shurtleff), the first known American woman to impersonate a man so she could join the army.
1782 (December) -- nearly 600 log huts had been erected into a "cantonment," a military enclave. High-ranking officers were quartered in private homes. The Temple Building served as a chapel for the soldiers.
High-ranking officers were quartered in nearby private homes, including Major General Horatio Gates, commandant of the Cantonment, and General St. Clair (both housed in the 1755 Edmonston House); and Major General Henry Knox, Artillery Commander (housed at the Ellison House). Washington made his headquarters in the Jonathan Hasbrouck house (now Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site) six miles away in Newburgh.
1783 (March 10) -- Washington was given a written call for a meeting of general and field officers for March 11. Accompanying the call for the meeting was an anonymous letter circulated among the officers in the camp, a fiery appeal later known as the first Newburgh address, urging the officers that unless their demands were met, they should refuse to disband when the war ended, and that if the war continued they would "retire to some unsettled country" and leave Congress without an army.
1783 (March 11) -- Washington issued General Orders denouncing the "irregular invitation" and the "disorderly proceedings." At the same time he called for a meeting on March 15 of representatives of all the regiments. (Colonel Walter Stewart was the original organizer of the movement. and he received sympathetic support from General Horatio Gates. The anonymous letter was written by Gen. Gates' Aide de Camp Major John Armstrong, Jr.)
1783 (March 15) -- Washington addressed his officers in the original Temple of Virtue to defuse a possible mutiny. He read a prepared statement that denounced the conspiracy and the anonymous letters for implying that the civil authorities were guilty of "premeditated injustice." convincing the army not to protest Congress over money owed them. During the speech, Washington took a letter from his pocket describing the financial problems confronting Congress. Washington had great difficulty in reading the closely-written letter; he paused to put on his glasses; and remarked: "Gentlemen, you must pardon me. I have grown gray in your service and now find my self growing blind." This cause several of the officers to weep. Washington's remarks turned the tide and the potential mutiny was defused.
1783 (April 19) --at the New Windsor Cantonment, Washington issued the cease fire orders ending the eight-year War of Independence.
1783 (June) -- the camp abandoned.
1964-1965 -- the Temple Building was reconstructed.
2000 -- the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor opened. More than 800,000 people have received the Purple Heart, a medal conceived of and authorized by General George Washington during the Revolutionary War.
Facilities and Activities:
Today, staff in reproduction period dress and uniforms demonstrate musket drills, blacksmithing, military medicine and camplife activities. Guests are also welcome to view the exhibits at the Visitor Center and the reconstructed Temple Building.
Seasons/Hours: Mid-April thru Oct., Wed.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m, Sun. 1-5 p.m. Also open Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and Veterans Day.
Admission: $4.00 adults, $3.00 NYS Senior Citizens, $1.00 children 5-12, children under 5 admitted free.
Some tours contain a visit to nearby Knox's headquarters.
The Newburgh Address; http://earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/milestones/newburgh/