New Windsor Cantonment
New Windsor Cantonment (1782-1783) - First established in 1782 at the end of the Revolutionary War by General George Washington in Orange County, New York. Served as the last encampment of Washington's Army after the British surrender at Yorktown. Abandoned in 1783.
General George Washington moved his army of 7,000 men to the New Windsor Cantonment after his victory at Yorktown. To house the men over the winter some 700 wooden huts were built, each one holding two squads. The huts and their support structures were laid out in orderly rows by regiment. A 30' by 110' "Temple of Virtue" was built as a meeting place for the command structure. It was from this building that Washington quelled a uprising of officers over non-receipt of pay with his famous speech. This building also saw the creation and award of the Badge of Military Merit to deserving soldiers. This award was the predecessor to the Purple Heart.
Washington stayed at New Windsor until the British had removed their forces from New York, Charleston and Savannah and a preliminary peace treaty had been signed. The troops were then furloughed and the cantonment was dismantled and sold.
Part of New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site Park, Orange County, New York. Reproductions of buildings and a museum offer insight into the period. The "Temple of Virtue" building is reproduced along with a soldiers hut and blacksmith shop. The museum holds artifacts and an artillery museum in the basement.
Visited: 4 May 2012