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Knox's Headquarters State Historic Site

Frequently overlooked in the great sweep of history as being the central battleground of the American Revolution, the Hudson Valley determined the success or failure of the Colonial States in their quest for independence from Great Britain. Strategically, the Hudson River was the only navigable river into the interior of the continent and its location empowered whoever controlled it to either allow or prevent commerce between the northern Colonies and those in the south. Should the British have been able to gain control of the Hudson, the outcome of the war would surely have been different.

And the British spent great time, effort and resources attempting to gain control of the mighty Hudson River just so they could control the commercial trade routes between north and south. Their first act in the war was to take Manhattan and drive General Washington and his continental troups north chasing them up to White Plains and forcing them across the river. In a massive effort, they then descended south from Canada under the command of Gen. Burguoyne, down through Lake Champlain, down the Hudson battling the colonists at every turn. Finally at Saratoga, Burguoyne lost his momentum and was defeated and captured, bringing the battle over the northern Hudson to a close.

Throughout the war, various fortifications and sites in Orange County were pivotal in the efforts of Washington and his troops to stay the British and prevent them from coming up into the Hudson Valley. Chief among these locations was West Point, site of the major fortifications along the Hudson and commanded by Benedict Arnold. Washington himself spent more time in the Hudson Valley and Orange County than any other location in the colonies during the war years. And as the war drew to a close, it was Orange County that Washington chose as his last staging ground for his troops and his entorage to insure the British didn't attempt a run up the Hudson before the final treaties could be signed.

Orange County is rich in Revolutionary sites ranging from the mundane of camp life for enlisted men right up Washington's final residence prior to his resigning from the Continental Army. As individual places, they do not overwhelm the visitor with their grandeur or the role they played in the struggle for independence. Collectively, they should overwhelm the visitor in significance to their daily lives and how different America would be today were it not for the foresight, diligence and sacrifice made to hold and defend these places in Orange County.

Knox's Headquarters State Historic Site

Officers of the Continental Army were housed in local residences around the New Windsor and Vails Gate area during the final encampment of the Continentals there. As "gentlemen" they expected better accommodations and finer food than were dolled out to the enlisted men. In the area many of these old houses still exist, but remain in private hands and are still private residences. The house that General Knox and several other officers stayed in has become a New York State Park and Historic Site.

Visiting the house is a trip back into the 18th century as the interiors have been restored to an accurate representation of their condition at the time. Guides take you through the house, explaining the houses prior history, who General Knox was as well as the other officers who stayed at the house, what they did and how it all fits together with the massive army encampment at New Windsor and Vails Gate. From Washington's Headquarters, the road, now Route 94, ran down the river and swung inland past the residences of the officers. The road then went further west where the armies themselves could be found encamped on either side.

This house is an example of the officers lives at this time. The guides are very informative and knowledgable on the times and what they meant. They engage the kids in the tour trying to bring their interests to bear on what they are seeing. The furnishings and restorations are accurate and depict the house as it would have been inhabited by General Washington's officers.

Visiting Knox's Headquarters

Memorial Day thru Labor Day Wed.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun. 1-5 p.m. Other times by appointment only.

$3.00 adults, $2.00 NYS senior citizens, $1.00 children 5-12. Groups tours must be scheduled in advance.

Specifics on visiting the Knox's Headquarters State Historic Site were correct at time of publication. We would suggest that you confirm dates and times prior to your visit.
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