New Windsor Cantonment Celebrates Memorial Day

Costumed interpreters Sean Winchell and Matt Thorenz stand guard at the reconstructed Temple of Virtue at New Windsor Cantonment. Photo by M.A. Ebner

Ceremony, concert and re-enactments take place May 27

In honor of America’s soldiers and their families on Memorial Day weekend, Monday May 27, at 2 p.m., site staff, in 18th-century dress, will perform a ceremony to honor our nation’s veterans at the site cemetery. At 2:15 p.m., historic balladeer Linda Russell will perform traditional American patriotic music in the Temple Building.

New Windsor Cantonment was an encampment of more than 7,000 Continental Army soldiers and some of their families over the winter of 1782-83. Eighty-one years ago, one of the first public ceremonies to award the Purple Heart military decoration was held on Memorial Day, in 1932, at the old campground at New Windsor. Over 100 veterans of the First World War received the medal.

From 1 to 4:30 p.m. visitors will see soldiers performing musket drills, blacksmithing and other activities performed at the original encampment. Following the concert, soldiers will fire their muskets and a cannon on the “Grand Parade,” the very field where George Washington’s announcement of impending peace was first read to the Army over 200 years ago.

A former National Park Service historian and a performing artist with many recordings, Russell specializes in music that tells the stories of the common people of American history. Using a variety of period-style instruments, she performs songs of love and loss, of brave deeds done on the battlefield and home front. Playing songs from the Revolutionary War-era as a starting point, Russell follows American music and history right up through the present day. The concert is indoors, but outdoor activities may be delayed in case of inclement weather.


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