Surrounded on all sides now by housing developments and in certain areas completely built over, the Continental Army winter encampment, at New Windsor, in 1782-83, was, during its short existence, the second largest city in New York State.
Sunday March 4, at 2:00 PM, there will be a presentation on General Washington’s main army of over 7,000 soldiers and 500 family members who encamped at New Windsor that winter at the New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site.
Soldiers at New Windsor fashioned approximately 600 buildings, arrayed in rows, replicating battlefield formations. Though a large gathering, the effects upon the vicinity were fleeting. The army moved on in June 1783, leaving only a wife, abandoned by her ne’er do well husband, with two young children and quartermasters responsible for disposing of the encampment. Surplus army equipment, as well as nearly all of the log structures, were sold at public auction. Following the Revolutionary War, farmers cleared the land- making stonewalls out of the collapsed fieldstone chimneys of the huts. By the mid-19th century, except to the most discerning eye, all traces of the Continental Army had vanished.
Participants will learn about the historical significance of the New Windsor Cantonment and the struggle to preserve and interpret the final winter encampment of the northern Continental Army. At the time, the soldiers at New Windsor, and a few thousand more in the vicinity of West Point, were the only force standing between the people of New York and New England and 12,000 British troops in New York City, just 60 miles away.
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.