New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site is where the Continental Army under General George Washington spent the last winter and spring of the Revolutionary War. In October 1782, General Washington moved his northern army to New Windsor to establish winter quarters. Some 7,500 soldiers and 500 women and children civilian refugees encamped here. By late December 1782, they had erected nearly 600 log huts into a "cantonment," a military enclave. It was at the New Windsor Cantonment that the cease fire orders were issued by Washington ending the eight-year War of Independence on April 19, 1783.
From mid-April through October visitors will find costumed staff demonstrating musket drills, blacksmithing, military medicine and other 18th century skills, with additional demonstrations in July and August. Buildings include the reconstructed "Temple of Virtue," which served as a chapel and office and the Mountainville Hut, perhaps the only surviving example of original timber construction by the Continental Army. Year round, guests can view two exhibits at the Visitor Center on the stories of the men and women who lived at the 1782-83 cantonment, and on General Henry Knox's New Windsor Artillery Park that stood nearby in 1780-81.
Special events include an encampment by Revolutionary War reenactors each April, Memorial Day and Independence Day activities and a Children's Day of fun activities remembering the 219 children that once lived here. Annual living history programs take place in cooperation with nearby Knox's Headquarters State Historic Site.
New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site is also home to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor. To honor the service of his troops, General Washington chose a select few to receive a small purple cloth Badge of Merit, inspiring creation of the present day Purple Heart medal. In 1932, the new Purple Heart medal was presented to nearly 138 veterans of World War I on these same historic grounds. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is dedicated to preserving the stories of Purple Heart recipients from all branches of service and across generations.
The New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site is co-located with the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor at 374 Temple Hill Road (Route 300) in New Windsor, NY, just three miles south of the intersection of I-87 and I-84. The historic site is closed holidays except Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day. Costumed living history demonstrations are available from mid-April to the end of October, from Wednesday to Saturday, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Sunday from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM. The visitor center is open except for the above mentioned holidays year round Monday - Saturday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Sunday from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM.