New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site
||This article relies entirely upon a single source, the National Register Information System (NRIS) database or one of its mirrors. Articles based solely on the NRIS may contain errors. (November 2013)|
New Windsor Cantonment
Reconstructions of the Temple and another building.
|Location||Temple Hill Rd., Vails Gate, NY|
|Governing body||State (Palisades Interstate Park Commission)|
|NRHP Reference #||72000898|
|Added to NRHP||July 31, 1972|
The New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site, also known as New Windsor Cantonment, is located along NY 300 a mile north of Vails Gate in Orange County's Town of New Windsor. The site features reconstruction buildings of the final encampment of the Continental Army.
Between June 1782 and October 1783 7,000 troops were boarded here in 600 log huts, over 1,600 acres (650 ha). Although the Siege of Yorktown had ended most hostilities the year before, the British still occupied New York City and other ports, and George Washington believed that there was still strong sentiment in Britain for restarting the war and taking the colonies back. Thus it was necessary to keep the army here, within striking distance of New York and next to the vital Hudson River, until all the British forces were withdrawn. On April 19, 1783, Washington issued a cease fire order, officially ending the war for the Army.
They were still uncertain times, however, as the Newburgh Conspiracy, where Washington persuaded his officers not to march on the Continental Congress and demand back pay at gunpoint, would demonstrate. The Temple, where he made his famous speech revealing his vision problems for the first time, is among the reconstructed buildings.
After the war, the vacated huts were sold. Some of the stone walls on the site may be made from stones that came from the fireplaces of the original buildings. In 1936 the town acquired 167 acres (68 ha) of the original site, which it runs on the opposite side of Route 300 as the Last Encampment, and along with the National Temple Hill Association has kept it up as a monument. The Temple itself and its vicinity are owned by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation but operated by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission.