Last Encampment of the Continental Army
1782 General Washington came to Newburgh, NY to what would be his final Headquarters at the Hasbrouck
House. With the British Army still in New York City,
he wanted the Northern Army close by in the event hostilities
erupted again. New Windsor was chosen due to its proximity.
Here the Continental Army would build its fourth and
final winter cantonment.
In October 1782, the troops began to arrive and set
up tents, while they began building their huts. This
encampment or cantonment covered 1600 acres and quartered
6000-8000 men, women and children from New York, New
Jersey, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maryland. Here
this army built a log city of over 700 huts for the
soldiers and many other out buildings, guardhouses,
blacksmith shops, stable, kitchens and a hospital. In
addition, a long building called the "Temple"
was constructed. It was proposed by Rev. Israel Evans,
Chaplain to the Army, that a structure be built for
workshop services; hence, this structure was built.
In an effort to preserve this encampment,
the Town of New Windsor acquired a 167 plus acre tract
consisting of much of the former hut sites. Since 1936,
the Town of New Windsor and the membership of the National
Temple Hill Association have strived to ensure the preservation
of this- the final winter encampment.
Recent archeological investigations
have uncovered some of this log city of immense size,
and you are invited to walk about these grounds and
enjoy their natural beauty and wildlife.
"As it is expected the
troops will have sufficient time to cover themselves
commodiously before the setting in of the winter. The
General directs that regularity, convenience and even
some degree of elegance should be attended to in the
construction of their hutts; the plan and dimensions
of which will be furnished by the Quarter Master General
as soon as the positions for the several corps shall
be fixed upon. Any hutts that shall be guilt irregularly
in violation of this order will be demolished."
--Writings of Washington, vol. 25, pg, 203
North of Vails Gate Intersection.
A section of the actual campground (1782-83) is preserved
along with two new enlisted men's huts. A visitor's
center is available for general information. Walk the
Grand Rounds and see the huts of the Massachusetts Regiments.
Explore the new Freedom Appreciation Trail. Self guided
walks along the Nature Trail, a part of the 167 acres.
New nature tower.
Hours: open every day for walks during
daylight hours. FREE to the public. Picnic areas. Open
Tuesday thru Sunday from 10 to 5 mid April thru October.