New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site

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Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link. Happy President’s Day!

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The Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area  is one of the forty-nine federally recognized National Heritage Areas in the United States. The Hudson Valley NHA is considered a National Park Service affiliate. Through the partnership with the Park Service and other organizations, the Heritage Area includes over one hundred sites spread across ten counties in New York State.

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The New Windsor Cantonment is a reconstruction of the Northern Continental Army’s final military encampment. A Cantonment is housing to keep troops together in one place in order to more easily supply them.

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7000 troops, along with 500 women and children, lived here in 600 log huts from 1782 to 1783. Though most of the fighting had ended with the siege of Yorktown in 1781, the British still occupied New York City. George Washington wanted to keep an army close to NYC in case the British tried to start the war again.

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The troops grew restless while waiting either for peace or to be called to combat, without pay. To keep the men busy, the chaplain had the men construct a large long building for Sunday services called the Temple of Virtue. George Washington confronted the disgruntled soldiers at a meeting in this Temple and, a month later, in April 1783, issued cease-fire orders.

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The original structures were dismantled and auctioned off to pay the Continental Army’s debts. The area became a dairy farm called the Temple Hill Creamery.

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In 1883, for the Centennial celebration of the end of the war, a large stone tower was erected near the site of the original Temple.

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In the 1930s, the National Temple Hill Association formed to preserve the history of the site. They began to acquire the land and reconstruct some of the buildings, and in 1967, they sold it to New York State for one dollar to create the New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site.

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I visited the Cantonment for their President’s Day event. Several volunteers were on the grounds in Revolutionary War Era costumes.

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After touring the small museum, which has displays about life in the Cantonment and a Revolutionary War Artillery Exhibit in the basement, I headed up to the Temple building.

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The volunteers had a nice fire going in the hearth and gave a talk about George Washington. Next, we all went outside for an artillery demonstration.

 

The volunteers demonstrated marching in formation, firing their muskets, a mortar and a small cannon.

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To see my other posts from The Hudson Valley National Heritage Area, please click the links below:

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Location: 374 Temple Hill Road, New Windsor, NY

Designation: National Heritage Area, State Historic site, NRHP

Date designated or established: 1967

Date of my visit: 2/18/2019

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