On several occasions during the Revolutionary War, Major General Henry Knox, Commander of the America artillery, established his military headquarters at John Ellison's 1754 Georgian-style house in Vails Gate. From October 1782 until the spring of 1783, as 7,000 soldiers and 500 "camp followers" were establishing winter quarters at the New Windsor Cantonment, and General Washington was lodged at Jonathan Hasbrouck's house in Newburgh, New York, Major General Horatio Gates occupied the elegant home from which he commanded the cantonment. Here the army awaited the end of the Revolutionary War that became effective when Washington issued the cease fire orders on April 19, 1783.
For most of the 18th and into the 19th century, the Ellison family had important commercial dealings in milling and trade. From their mill, flour was shipped down the Hudson River to New York City and the West Indies. At present, remains of the mill, with traces of the underground raceway may be visited. Explore how the Ellisons and other families of the mid-Hudson Valley lived 200 years ago.
Knox's Headquarters is located at 289 Forge Hill Road at the intersection of Forge Hill Road and Blooming Grove Turnpike (Route 94) in Vails Gate, NY, just one mile from the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor and New Windsor Cantonment.
The historic site is open Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day from Wednesday to Sunday. Wednesday to Saturday tours are held on the hour from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. On Sundays, tours are held on the hour from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Tour, school and camp groups are welcome by advance reservation only. Dates, times, hours of operations and admission fees are subject to change.
House Tours, 2016 Season:
May 23 - Sept 6
Wednesdays - Saturdays, 10am-5pm; Sundays, 1pm - 5pm
In season, tour times are available by calling (845) 561-1765 ext. 22.
Through the Ranks: A Visit to Knox's Headquarters and New Windsor Cantonment, the Final Winter Encampment of Washington's Army 1782-83
We invite you to step back in time, to the 1782-83 encampment of General George Washington's Continental Army! Your visit begins at Knox's Headquarters, where army officers resided as guests of the prosperous Ellison family. Next, you will travel to the New Windsor Cantonment, where over 7,000 soldiers and 500 of their family members lived during the final winter of the Revolutionary War.
You will tour the elegant 1754 Ellison country mansion, furnished to reflect the prosperity of John and Catherine Ellison who lived in it during the Revolutionary War. Certain rooms in the house were used by Continental Artillery commander General Henry Knox and later by commandant of the New Windsor Cantonment General Horatio Gates. Students will also learn about commerce in the Hudson Valley through the milling operations of the Ellison family and their extensive trade with the Caribbean and Europe.
At the New Windsor Cantonment, the focus is on the daily life of the soldiers and civilians who were part of the Northern Continental Army at New Windsor in 1782 -83. Specific topics include shelter, food, clothing, health concerns, discipline and military training. Students will see demonstrations of blacksmithing, wood-hewing and the firing of a musket.
By visiting both sites, your students will experience the Continental Army "through the ranks" from powerful generals to humble privates. Your students will return to the classroom with a comprehensive view of military and civilian life in the Hudson Valley during the Revolution.
The sites are only two miles apart. The tour begins at Knox's Headquarters at 10:00 AM. Following the tour at approximately 11:15 AM, the students board their bus and move to the New Windsor Cantonment. Students eat their lunch in our picnic grounds or in our building in case of inclement weather. The tour of the New Windsor Cantonment runs from 11:45 AM to 1:30 PM. Times are flexible. The cost includes both sites and is only $3.00 for every member of the group including teachers and chaperones.
Revolutionary War historians, dressed in period clothing, perform military drill and firing demonstrations at 2:00 PM. Tours of the 1754 Ellison house throughout the day. The program runs from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
Celebrate the 4th at two sites hallowed by the soldiers who won our independence. At Knox's Headquarters see a small cannon fired at 1:00 PM & 4:00 PM. At the New Windsor Cantonment see military firing demonstrations at 2:00 PM.
Come help us celebrate Henry Knox's birthday by talking about his favorite subject artillery. From 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM, Revolutionary War cannon firings every half hour highlight this program about the 1780-81 artillery encampment at New Windsor.
From 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM tour the grounds by night if you dare. In the spirit of 18th century literature costumed interpreters from the New Windsor Cantonment and Knox's Headquarters State Historic Sites submit for your approval a haunting tale. The eerie night-cloaked grounds of the historic Knox's Headquarters, the 1754 Ellison home, serve as a stage for this macabre presentation about strange happenings. Call (845) 561-1765 X22 to make reservations.
From 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM tour by candlelight the elegant 1754 Ellison mansion ornamented with costumed staff and 18th century holiday decorations.