One-third of the Revolutionary War's battles were fought in New York State, and George Washington said that whoever held the Hudson River and New York City controlled "the safety of America." It's fair to say that American Independence would never have been realized without the Empire State.
From Fort Ticonderoga's strategic position, the Crown Point State Historic Site, to Fort Stanwix or the Saratoga National Historic Park - visitors will be able to walk through and imagine the scenes that took place over 200 years ago.
Below are ideas to help you get started on your Revolutionary War Path Through History!
- 250 years of history are preserved at the William Floyd Estate in Mastic Beach . William Floyd, a Revolutionary War general and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born here in 1734. The 25-room "Old Mastic House," the 12 outbuildings, the family cemetery and 613 acres of forest, fields, marsh and trails illuminate the layers of history of the eight generations of Floyds who managed the property and adapted it to their changing needs between 1718 and 1976. Interpretive programs include guided tours of the house and cemetery.
- Built on Staten Island around 1680, the stately Conference House was the site of a peace conference which attempted to end the Revolutionary War. Today, the house, a National and New York City Landmark, is the only remaining pre-Revolutionary War manor house in New York City. A visit to the Conference House allows visitors a glimpse of the pre-populated landscape of New York City, with period furnishings and costumed interpreters giving a look at what life was like during the years in which our nation was shaped.
- During the Battle of Brooklyn in August 1776, Old Stone House located in the heart of Park Slope was used as an artillery position by an estimated 2,000 British and hired Hessian soldiers who fired on the Americans, who were already fleeing from the east to the safety of Washington's encampment on Brooklyn Heights. Located now in a 1699 Dutch farmhouse reconstructed in 1933, the Old Stone House tells the story of the battle, the first major engagement of the Continental Army after the Declaration of Independence, and the largest battle of the entire war.
- Fraunces Tavern Museum in lower Manhattan was built in 1719. In the years leading up to the Revolution the popular tavern served as a gathering place for radicals who resisted British oppression. It was here in 1783 that Washington gave his farewell address to the officers of the Continental Army. The tavern was restored to its colonial era appearance during the early 20th century-a project that illustrates an early historic preservation effort in America. The museum interprets the settlement, growth and development of New York City as well as its role in the nation's fight for independence.
- Perched on a commanding rise with spectacular vistas, the Morris-Jumel Mansion in upper Manhattan was built as a country retreat for Roger and Mary Jumel in 1765. In the fall of 1776, the mansion was seized by the Continental Army and served as headquarters for George Washington during the Battle of Harlem Heights. British and Hessian commanders occupied the house after Washington's retreat from New York. In the summer of 1790, Washington returned and dined here with the members of his cabinet. A museum for more than a century, the mansion features restored period rooms with each room revealing a specific aspect of its colorful history. A wide range of exciting and interactive events, including interpretations of the mansion's role during the Revolution, take place throughout the year.
- Hamilton Grange National Monument in Harlem preserves the home of founding father, Revolutionary War hero, co-author of the Federalist Papers and first Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. His Federal-style home has historically furnished rooms, as well as a visitor's center with exhibits and a film.
- The oldest building in the Bronx, built in 1748 to house a prominent New York family, the Van Cortlandt House is New York City's first historic house museum, and offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of the people who lived and worked on the property, including slaves. During the Revolutionary War, the house's location gave it a strategic position in the conflict. The house and plantation were occupied by Colonial and British armies in turn. General George Washington is known to have stayed in the house at least twice, as did British General Sir William Howe.
- The US Military Academy at West Point is America's oldest military school and the nation's oldest continuously occupied military post. General Washington called West Point the "key to America" during the Revolutionary War due to its strategic position on the Hudson River. In 1778, engineers for the Continental Army designed fortifications to stop British ships attempting to sail upriver, and an iron chain was stretched across the Hudson River. Touring the 16,000-acre complex today, visitors will see the historic fortifications, plus what is considered to be the oldest and largest public collection of military artifacts in the Western Hemisphere.
- Nestled in the rolling Westchester countryside in the Hamlet of Katonah is the John Jay Homestead Historic Site, 62 acres encompassing the home and farm of John Jay (1745-1829), one of America's Founding Fathers. Jay co-authored the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Revolutionary War, and the Federalist Papers, which aided ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Today, the home and land include lovingly-tended formal gardens, magnificent woodland walks, rolling meadows and a cluster of 19th century farm buildings, including an 1820's schoolhouse and a 1830s barn.
- Did you know that New York State's first capital was Kingston? At the Senate House State Historic Site discover how, amidst the turmoil of a British military invasion in the fall of 1777, the elected representatives of rebellious New Yorkers met in Kingston to form a new state government. While there, New York's first Senate met in the simple stone house of a local merchant. A month later, the government was forced to flee when the British torched the city. Today, the building and grounds are open to the public as a museum exhibiting a wide range of artwork, documents and historical objects.
- Visit the nation's first publicly owned historic site, Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site in Newburgh, and tour the rooms where American history was made. General Washington established his headquarters at Jonathan and Tryntje Hasbrouck's fieldstone farmhouse from 1782 to 1783, when he issued an order for a "cessation of hostilities" from the house. In the critical months he spent here, he made some of his most important contributions to shaping the American republic. Inside the farmhouse, visitors see Washington's office and the original tables and chairs of the general's aides de camp. Across the lawn, a museum showcases items such as Medals of Honor, locks of Washington's hair, and Martha Washington's pocket watch.
John Jay Homestead Historic Site
US Military Academy
Senate House State Historic Site
Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site
Find other exciting attractions in the Hudson Valley region and Catskill region
- Learn about American General Phillip Schuyler and his role in America's war for independence at the Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site in Albany. The Georgian structure was built on a bluff overlooking the Hudson River, and throughout the Schuyler family occupancy from 1763-1804, it was the site of military strategizing, political hobnobbing, elegant social affairs and an active family life. Enjoy a guided tour of the mansion as well as an exhibit focusing on Philip Schuyler's life.
- The Bennington Battlefield State Historic Site in Hoosick Falls (hudsonrivervalley.com) is where New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts militia under General John Stark rebuffed a British attempt led by Colonel Friedrich Baum to capture American stores on August 16, 1777. The American victory cut off supplies to British General John Burgoyne as he made his push toward Albany and set the stage for his subsequent surrender at Saratoga. Today, the battlefield contains interpretive panels and monuments commemorating the American victory.
- On Oct. 7, 1777, three weeks after losing the opening Battle of Saratoga, American Major General Horatio Gates shocked the world by defeating British General Burgoyne at Bemis Heights in the second Battle of Saratoga. The victory renewed patriots' hopes for independence and convinced the French to openly join the American cause. It has been heralded as the turning point in the Revolutionary War and one of the 15 greatest battles in world history. The battlefield, located in Stillwater, is now known as the Saratoga National Historical Park. See exhibits at the Visitor Center and tour the battlefield itself. Free guided tours of the restored country house of General Philip Schuyler, located approximately seven miles north of the Battlefield, are also available, and the Saratoga Monument - a 155-foot obelisk commemorating the American victory - is also a must-see.
- Rogers Island was the location for one of the largest British fortifications in North America, serving as the staging ground for the British and provincial troops who would eventually drive the French northward into French Canada. Although the fort itself was in ruins during the Revolutionary War, Fort Edward remained strategically located on the Great Military Warpath and troops garrisoned in the remaining barracks on the island. In 1777, they were forced to flee when General John Burgoyne's army passed through en route to Saratoga. Today, exhibits at the Rogers Island Visitors Center in Fort Edward tell the story of the Fort Edward area from the earliest Native Americans through the Revolutionary War.
- At the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold both realized that the British Fort Ticonderoga in Ticonderoga made an easy target for the American rebels. With a small band of Green Mountain Boys, they captured the fort only three weeks after Lexington and Concord, making it America's first victory in the Revolution. Today, visitors can tour this historic site which includes: the restored fort; museum galleries that are home to one of America's largest collections of 18th-century military material culture; a research library; and approximately 2,000 acres of beautiful land overlooking Lake Champlain. Daily artillery demonstrations and frequent reenactments help to make history come alive at this "key to the continent." <
- In 1759, the abandoned French Fort St. Frederic in Crown Point was taken over by the British, who immediately began construction of an extremely ambitious fortification complex. In 1775, at the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, the rebellious colonists captured the fort and secured sorely needed cannons and heavy ordnance. Crown Point was occupied by General John Burgoyne's army in 1777 and remained under British control until the end of the war. Today at Crown Point State Historic Site, visitors can explore the ruins of the original 18th-century structures and tour the newly renovated museum which includes an award-winning multimedia orientation program.
- The Old Stone Fort Museum Complex in Schoharie was the site of a Revolutionary War battle in 1780 and today celebrates and preserves the rich, historic legacy of the Schoharie Valley. In addition to Revolutionary War exhibits, the complex is also home to exhibits spotlighting the Civil War; colonial and Native American life; archaeology, paleontology and geology; industrial/transportation history; and more.
- The village of Fort Plain was originally named for an important military outpost in the Revolutionary War. After the Battle of Oriskany in 1777 the Mohawk Valley was virtually defenseless. During the fall and spring of 1779, Fort Plain was rebuilt into a strong military outpost. Today, the Fort Plain Museum & Historical Park features a Greek Revival building housing exhibits spanning the history of the middle Mohawk Valley, primarily focusing on pre-Colonial, Revolutionary War, Erie Canal, and local community history. Outdoor exhibits include the original fort and blockhouse sites.
- The 1750 fortified home of fur-trader Johannes Klock, located east of St. Johnsville, is a Colonial settlement of the French and Indian period. In 1780, an encounter near the home between Albany County militia and a British-supported expedition of Indians and Loyalists came to be known as "The Battle of Klock's Field." Despite significant losses, the Loyalists continued to raid the Mohawk Valley and destroyed many farms. Today, the Fort Klock Historic Restoration is a National Historic Landmark, which includes a 1790s Dutch barn, blacksmith shop, and an 1825 schoolhouse.
- In Little Falls, the Herkimer Home State Historic Site was once the home of General Nicholas Herkimer and where, in 1777, he mustered and marched the militia for the siege of Fort Stanwix when they were ambushed at Oriska which became known at the Battle of Oriskany. Visitors today marvel at the grandness of this 1764 Georgian-style mansion that once stood on the colonial frontier. The unspoiled landscape, including the Herkimer family burial ground, is remarkably unchanged from the 18th century.
- Baron von Steuben, whose valuable wartime services have been described as being second in importance only to those of George Washington, was known as the "Drillmaster of the American Revolution." After the war, Congress granted him a life annuity and New York State deeded him a large parcel of land in appreciation for his wartime contributions. He summered on his land in a two-room log house until his death in November 1794. Today, he is honored at the Steuben Memorial State Historic Site in Oriskany, which includes von Steuben's memorial tomb and 1937-reconstructed log cabin.
- In Rome, Fort Stanwix National Monument is a tribute to the fort known as "the fort that never surrendered." In August 1777, the fort successfully repelled a prolonged siege by British, German, Loyalist, Canadian and American Indian troops and warriors. The failed siege combined with the battles at Oriskany, Bennington and Saratoga thwarted a coordinated effort by the British in 1777 to take the northern colonies, and led to American alliances with France and the Netherlands. Join a park ranger on a 45-minute walking tour of the grounds where the fort once stood and learn about the bloody conflicts which ignited as nations fought for control of the rich resources of North America.
Fort Klock Historic Restoration
Fort Plain Museum & Historical Park
Fort Stanwix National Monument
Herkimer Home State Historic Site
Old Stone Fort Museum Complex
Steuben Memorial State Historic Site
Find other exciting attractions in the Central New York region.
- In August of 1779, the peace and tranquility of the forested hill in what is now Newtown Battlefield State Park in Elmira was broken by the boom of cannons, the crack of musket fire and the yells of Iroquois warriors. The battle of Newtown was the decisive clash in one of the largest offensive campaigns of the American Revolution. This expedition, known as the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign, had been regarded as punishment by the Continental Army to several tribes among the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy who had sided with the British in the war and had attacked frontier settlements. A stone monument was dedicated at the top of the hill on the centennial of the battle, and today, a granite monument erected in 1912 adorns this scenic 330-acre park commemorating General Sullivan's victory over the Seneca and British forces.
- The westernmost battle of the Revolutionary War in New York State took place in Groveland when a scout group was ambushed by Loyalists and their Seneca Indian allies. Today, the battle is commemorated with interpretive signage at the Revolutionary War Ambuscade Park.