Defending West Point: The Revolutionary War in the Hudson River Valley – 1777 to 1783

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Wednesday, May 2 (7:00pm) – Saturday, May 5, 2018 (5:00pm)

Tour Leaders: James Kirby Martin, Lt. Col. Sean Scully and Bruce Venter

HQ: Fishkill, NY

Conference Registration: $495 

West Point was a major fortified installation during the American Revolution. Its purpose was to prevent the British from controlling the Hudson River and dividing New England from the rest of the country. Benedict Arnold’s plot to sell West Point in 1780 is undoubtedly the most famous story associated with New York’s lower Hudson River Valley region. But many other events occurred during the period 1777 thru 1783 in this area.
Our first day will be spent on the grounds of the United States Military Academy at West Point where we will visit Fort Putnam (pictured above), a fortification built in 1778 to support Fort Clinton (formerly called Fort Arnold) on the point. We will also visit Redoubt No. 4, a key defensive position built 300 feet above Fort Putnam. “The possession of the Hill appears to me essential to the preservation of the whole post and our main effort ought to be directed to keeping the enemy off of it…” George Washington wrote in July 1779, vindicating Tadeusz Kosciuszko’s decision to place a redoubt on Rocky Hill. We will also see the remains of Fort Clinton near the river. In the afternoon we’ll board a boat to travel to Constitution Island, another link in the Patriot defenses of the Hudson River. Constitution Island was the earliest Revolutionary War fortification in the Hudson Valley. Taken briefly by the British in 1777, the island was re-occupied by American forces in 1778, serving as an integral part of the Patriot strategic position.

On the second day our first stop will be Fort Montgomery, the site of British general Sir Henry Clinton’s successful attack on American forces in 1777. From Fort Montgomery, we will travel to the Stony Point battlefield, where General “Mad Anthony” Wayne staged his surprise nighttime attack on an unsuspecting British garrison in July 1779.

Lunch will be at the historic ’76 House in Tappan, where British Major John Andre, Arnold’s youthful co-conspirator, was held prisoner before being hanged on orders from General Washington. After lunch you’ll see the Dutch church where Andre’s trial was held and the site of his execution as well as Washington’s headquarters at the DeWint House.

On our final day our first stop will be Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh, where the general spent over sixteen months between 1782 and 1783 after defeating Cornwallis at Yorktown. The Hasbrouck House was the first publicly operated historic site in the United States, opening 1850. It was here that the first Purple Heart, the Badge of Military Merit was awarded. Next, we’ll visit the fieldstone headquarters of Washington’s beloved artillerist, Henry Knox at Vails Gate, which retains much of its wartime appearance. Nearby Knox’s headquarters is the Edmundson House, Horatio Gates’ headquarters, the general who may have perpetrated the Newburgh Conspiracy. The New Windsor Cantonment, our next stop was the final encampment of the American army before it was disbanded after the Treaty of Paris. A recreation of army life in 1782-83 is captured on the gentle hillsides of New Windsor. It was here that Washington withstood a mutinous attempt by some disgruntled officers known as the Newburgh Conspiracy. A graying, bespectacled general offered his moving Newburgh Address in the Temple of Virtue at New Windsor, an action which further exemplified his leadership as the father of our country.

Adjacent to the New Windsor Cantonment is the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, a unique, state-of-the art facility we will include in our tour. The Purple Heart Hall of Honor preserves the extraordinary stories of ordinary Americans who sacrificed in blood for our nation and is a must-see museum.

What’s included: motor coach transportation, three lunches, beverage and snack breaks, a map and materials package, all admissions and gratuities, and the services of three experienced tour guides. Tour participants are responsible for transportation to the headquarters hotel, and securing a room reservation, if necessary. Dinner is on your own. Tour goes out rain or shine. Please see our policy page for information about cancellations.

IMPORTANT: To be admitted to the USMA at West Point, you must have a valid form of identification: a valid driver’s license or valid passport.

Hotel: We have arranged with the headquarters hotel for a group rate of $119.00 per night plus tax (double or single occupancy) which includes a buffet breakfast. Please call the Courtyard Fishkill, 17 Westage Drive, Fishkill, NY 12524 at 845-897-2400 and ask for the America’s History LLC group rate. This rate is guaranteed until April 4, 2018. Please make your reservations soon.

Our Tour Leaders/Historians:

Dr. James Kirby Martin has taught at the University of Houston since 1980, where he served as Department Chair and is currently the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen University Professor of History. Jim is the author or editor of more than twelve books, including the award-winning, Benedict Arnold, Revolutionary Hero: An American Warrior Reconsidered. Last year he was the General Mark Clark Visiting Professor at The Citadel. During the 2017-18 academic year Jim is a visiting professor of military history at West Point. He has led several tours for America’s History, LLC focusing on Benedict Arnold.

Lt. Col. Sean Sculley was commissioned as an Armor Officer in 1999 and has served in Korea, Iraq and at several U.S. posts. He is now West Point’s Academy Professor and Chief of the American History Division following the completion of his Ph.D. in American History at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He also serves as an OR for the USMA Sailing Club.

Dr. Bruce M. Venter is president of America’s History, LLC and an experienced leader of Revolutionary War tours. He is the author of The Battle of Hubbardton: The Rear Action That Saved America. His article entitled “Behind Enemy Lines: Americans Attack Burgoyne’s Supply Line” appeared in Patriots of the American Revolution magazine. He also serves as 1st Vice President of the American Revolution Round Table of Richmond, Virginia.

Register Online

Tour Registration – $495.00

 Register by phone, e-mail or postal mail:

  • Phone: 1-703-785-4373
  • Email us at:
  • Postal mail: America’s History LLC, P. O. Box 1076, Goochland, VA 23063

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