Richard Caldwell.

A true history of the acquisition of Washington's headquarters at Newburgh, by the state of New York (Volume 1) online

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— AND —


Corner Water and First Streets,

:5rEWBlTRC;H, ir. y.

Witliiii three luiiiiiteiji' walk oi'all clepotiti and steaiu-

boat laudiiigs aud on direct route to

Wa.s]ii]ig-ton^M llea IT^TII. 3 P. M.

The close proxiiuity to all urgh, as well
as the resolution of the Trustees of that village on the
subject :

Newburgh, May 8, 1850.
Andrew J. Caldwell, Esq. :

Dear Sir :— -It affords me great pleasure to be enabled to
lay your correspondence with Gov. Fish before the Commit-
tee on Washington's Headquarters, and subsequently, before
our Board of Trustees. The action of the latter body upon
the subject you will find enclosed, together with the j^apers
sent me. I remain very respectfully yours, etc.,


The above Committee was prol)nl)ly the one appointed to
make arrangements for and take charge of the dedication
ceremonies, July 4th, 1850.

the correspondence.

At a special meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Vil-
lage of Newburgh, held at the United States Hotel, on

How Acquired. 13

Wednesday, April 24tli, 1850, the following resolutions
were unanimously adopted :

Kesolved, That on behalf of the citizens of ]Slewl)urgh,
and the pul)lic generally, the thanks of this Board l^e
tendered to Andrew J. Caldwell, Es(i., Commissioner of
Loans, for his early and efficient exertions to obtain the pas-
sage of the act by the Legislatui'e to retain tlie title to the
grounds know^n as Washington's Headquarters, and making
them forever public grounds, and tliat his correspondence
with Gov. Fish upon the subject l)e entered upon the minutes
of the Board, and that a copy of this resolution Ije for-
warded to Mr. Caldw ell.


Newbm-gh, May 8, 1850. Clerk.


Salisbury Mills, Orange County, 1st Oct., 1849.

Sir — T beg leave to bring to your notice a transaction in
Avhich I have been concerned, in the discharge of official
duty, and which I venture to presume will not be considered
unw^orthy the Chief Magistrate of the State of New York.

The Commissioners of the United States Deposit Fund
of the Comity of Orange, in pursuance of law, have exposed
to public sale the premises in the Village of Newbiu'gh, con-
taining the old stone house known as " Washington's Head-
quarters," and have bid in the same on ])elialf of the State.

The place consecrated by so many interesting associations
has become the property of the State, and in the ordinary
course is to V)e sold by the Commissioners of the Land Office,
for the l)enefit of the United States Deposit Fund. I need
not remind you sir, that the old stone house was the resi-
dence of Washington's family for the last two years of the
war ; that there he received the news of peace, there he dis-
Ijanded the iVi-my of the Revolution, and ^vhen that army,
goaded almost to desperation in view of their wTongs as set
forth in the famous " Newl)urgh Letters," were preparing to
enforce theii- claims at the point of the bayonet, then and

14 Washington's Headquartees.

there it was lie achieved the crowning glory of his military
career, issued his imcomparable address to the army, soothed
the angry passions of the excited soldiery, averted the
theatened storm, and thus once more saved the Republic. I
venture sir, to submit to you whether it would l)e credital^le
for the State of New York to sell this venerable and
hallowed spot which has now come into its possession, or
whether on the other hand it would not be more to the
honor of the State, and in accordance with public sentiment,
to hand it down to posterity as a monument to the memory
of its former revered and illustrious occupant, and an endur-
ing memorial of the interesting transactions of which it ^vas
the scene. Should the authorities of the State concur in
these views, it would not be difficult to devise a plan, l)y
which, under sanction of law, the preservation of the prem-
ises as a public ground might l)e effectually secured. It
must be borne in mind that these premises have cost the
State nothing, and if the competent authorities should see
fit to transfer the charge to any ])ublic body, for pu]:)lic uses,
there can be no doubt that the United States would release
forever their interest in the Deposit Fund to that amount.
In taking this liberty, I feel the greater confidence, in that
the appeal is to one whose name and family are so intimately
connected with the times, and transactions to which it refers.
I have the honor to ])e. Sir

Your most ol/t servant,


GOV. fish's reply :

New York, Oct. 6th, 1849.
Andrew J. Caldwell, Esq.,

Salisbury Mills, Orange County.
Sir : — I am this day favored with your letter of 1st inst.
(forwarded to me from Allmny) referring to the sale, by the
Commissioners in your County for loaning certain monies of
the IT. S., of the old House known as " Washington's Head-
quarters." I concm' entirely in the views which you have


[Engraved by Leon Barritt, Middletown, N. Y., from a photograph taken in 1875.]

16 WasiiinctTojst's Headquarters.

expressed of tlie propriety of securing!: this liallowed spot for
some i)iil>lic o1)ject snital)le and appropriate to its history,
and I should i>e most happy to give any aid within the
sphere of my duties, which will ensure this end. It will
give me pleasure to hear from you on the sul)ject as to any
memorial which may l)e made by the citizens in the neigh-
borhood. Witli very great regards,

Your ob't servant,


There was other correspondence l>etween Gov. Fish and
Mr. Caldwell, and other parties, in relation to the best coiu'se
to take to secure the property, which cannot now be found.
From a memorandum in Mr. Caldwell's hand-writing, found
among his papers, it is shown that on August 2(3, 1859, "a
bundle " of letters were sent to a gentleman residing in New-
burgh accompanied by a letter in which he says " I wish it
understood that I do not ^vish my name brought forward
prominently in your work, and not more than the history of
the case requu-es."


On page 324, Proceedings of Board Super\dsors on Thurs-
day, Nov. 22, 1849, appears the following:

"Andrew J. Caldwell, Esq., appeared before the Board
and stated that certain premises in Ne^vljurgh had been sold
by the Loan Commissioners and l^ought in by them for the
State ; said premises are known by the name of Washington's
Head Quai-ters. And also by request read a cori'espondence
between himself and the Governor of the State on the subject
of preserving the said premises for a pul^lic ground. And
he also asked the co-operation of the Board in accomplishing
that subject. On motion of Mr. Fullerton it was resolved
that a Committee of three be ai)pointed to take the subject
in consideration, and report to the Board. Whereupon,

How Acquired. I'i^ ,

Daniel Fullerton, O. S. Hathaway and L. M. Ferris were
appointed said Committee. It was on motion, Resolved that
the Chau'man of the Board l>e added to the Committee."

On page 335, Proceedings Board Supervisors, on Wednes-
day, Nov. 28th, of same year, is fomid as follows:


To the Legislatm-e of the State of New York. The under-
signed the Board of Supervisors of the County of Orange
Respectfully represent :

That a portion of the monies deposited by the United
States ^vith the State of New York were loaned under the
direction of the said State on security of certain premises
known as Washington's Head Quarters, located in the vil-
lao-e of Newl)urgh in the said County of Orange. And that
on default of payment the said premises have been sold and
bought in for and on ])ehalf of the State.

That it is now the duty of the Loan Office of the said
County under the existing law to dispose of said premises,
and to restore the proceeds thereof to the fund from whence
the same was derived.

That the stone building now standing on the said premises
is on the Bank of the Hudson River in full view of the
multitudes daily passing or. its waters from all parts of the
world and that* it still remains unimpaired as when it was
honored l)y the residence of AYashington and LaFayette.^

That the said mansion was the head-quarters of Washing-
ton for the last two years of the Revolutionary War, and
\vas the last he occupied in the character of Commander-
in-Chief, and was also the scene of his most glorious triumphs
over the fearful designs of tlie celebrated " Newburgh Let-
ters," and wliere he. closed a military career unexampled in
the history of the world.

That the people of Orange County could not witness with-
out the deepest mortification the demolition or desecration
of an edifice, endeared to tliem and to their fellow citizens

18 Washington's Headquarters.

throughout tlie Union by so many Patiiotic associations and
so intimately connected witli the History of the Revohition.
While Forts Montgomery and Putnam, in its immediate
neighV^orhood, aj'e mouldering in decay, your petitioners
desire that this venerable edifice may he spared, and every
possible exertion used to preserve and maintain it inviolate
under the ov/nership and protection of the Empire State.

Your Memorialists tlierefore in the name and in behalf of
the People of the County of Orange Respectfully pray that
your Honorable body will cause to be repaid to the United
States Dei)osit Fund the amount that appears from the last
annual re])ort of the Commissioners of Loans of the County
of Orange to have been loaned upon the said premises and
retain the title of the same in the Govei'nment of this State,
and that you will furthei* provide l)y necessary laws for its
preservation for all time to come.

And your petitioners will ever pray.

David H. Moffatt, Chairman, Blof)ming Grove.

Daniel Fullerton, Minisink.

LiNDLY Mt'^rry FePvRis, Moutgomer}'.

William V. B. Armstrong, Warwick.

Odell S. Hathaway, Newburgh.

A. P. Thompson, Mount Hope.

Daniel Swartwout, Deerpark.

R. M. Vail, Goshen.

William Jackson, Hamptonl)urgh.

Morgan Shuit, Monroe.

Hezekiah H. Moffatt, Chester.

John Denniston, Cornwall.

Abram Vail, Jr., Wailkill.

Augustus Thompson, Crawford.

The towns are not appended to the names as they appear
on the record ; they have been affixed by the author, to indi-
cate where they belonged. All are dead it is ]>elieved l)ut
the Superx^sor from Mt. Hope, A. P. Thompson, now
Cashier of the Port Jervis National Bank.

It will Ije noticed that there are l)ut fourteen towns repre.

How Acquired. 19

sented, J. 11. Dickson, tbe Supervisor of the only other
town in the county, not l)eing present.

The Committee to whom the foregoing suT)ject of Wash-
ington's Headquarters was referred, reported the foregoing
petition, wliich was unanimously adopted and signed by all
the members of the Board.

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Online LibraryRichard CaldwellA true history of the acquisition of Washington's headquarters at Newburgh, by the state of New York (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 4)