The home of James Edmonston in New Windsor has stood for over 250 years. Rescued in the 1960s by the National Temple Hill Association, the house by that point was a junkyard showroom filled with old car parts. It is now restored, near the New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site.
When General Horatio Gates was assigned the Edmonston home as winter quarters for 1782-83, he wrote General George Washington: “Your Excellency’s Dog kennel at Mount Vernon, is as good a Quarter as that I am now in.” Eyeing the larger and far more refined Ellison House, he expected to be billeted at that nearby property. To please Gates, the senior ranking major general in the Continental Army, Quartermaster General Colonel Timothy Pickering had to evict Surgeon General John Cochran from the Ellison house. Angered by his removal, Cochran challenged the beleaguered Pickering to a duel.
Despite his utter defeat and shameful flight from the battlefield of Camden, South Carolina, in 1780, Gates remained as arrogant as ever. An intriguer and schemer, he used friends in Congress to wrest the command of the army that would eventually defeat and capture a British army at Saratoga, in 1777.
Many of his contemporaries and later historians believed that the victory was the result of the efforts of the man he replaced – Philip Schuyler. He was implicated in a plot with the same Congressional partisans who helped him supersede Schuyler to supplant Washington as commander-in-chief. While at the Ellison house he was involved in a conspiracy in March 1783, which threatened the very freedoms the country had fought to achieve.
On November 11th, from 4 to 6 pm the public is invited to visit this Revolutionary War headquarters and meet a General Horatio Gates reenactor. This is a cooperative program of the National Temple Hill Association and the New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site. Admission is free.
Edmonston House is located at 1042 Route 94 in New Windsor. For more information, call (845) 561-1765 ext. 22.