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"Evacuation Day", 1783 Its Many Stirring Events: with recollections of Capt. John Van Arsdale   By:

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"EVACUATION DAY,"

1783,

[Illustration: Sergeant Van Arsdale Tearing Down the British Flag. ]

WITH RECOLLECTIONS OF CAPT. JOHN VAN ARSDALE OF THE VETERAN CORPS OF ARTILLERY,

BY JAMES RIKER.

50 CENTS.

"EVACUATION DAY,"

1783,

ITS

MANY STIRRING EVENTS:

WITH

RECOLLECTIONS

OF

CAPT. JOHN VAN ARSDALE

OF THE VETERAN CORPS OF ARTILLERY,

BY WHOSE EFFORTS ON THAT DAY

THE ENEMY WERE CIRCUMVENTED,

AND

THE AMERICAN FLAG SUCCESSFULLY RAISED ON THE BATTERY.

WITH ILLUSTRATIVE NOTES.

BY

JAMES RIKER,

Author of the Annals of Newtown, and History of Harlem; Life Member of the New York Historical Society, Etc.

PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR.

NEW YORK

1883.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1883, by

JAMES RIKER,

In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.

CRICHTON & CO., PRINTERS, 221 225 Fulton St., N. Y.

EVACUATION DAY.

CHAPTER I.

Our memorable revolution, so prolific of grand and glorious themes, presents none more thrilling than is afforded by the closing scene in that stupendous struggle which gave birth to our free and noble Republic. New York City will have the honor of celebrating, on the 25th of November, the hundredth anniversary of this event, the most signal in its history; and which will add the last golden link to the chain of Revolutionary Centennials. A century ago, on "Evacuation Day," so called in our local calendar, the wrecks of those proud armies, sent hither by the mother country to enforce her darling scheme of "taxation without representation," withdrew from our war scarred city, with the honors of defeat thick upon them, but leaving our patriotic fathers happy in the enjoyment of their independence, so gloriously won in a seven years' conflict.

With the expiring century has also disappeared the host of brave actors in that eventful drama! Memory, if responsive, may bring up the venerable forms of the "Old Seventy Sixers," as they still lingered among us two score years ago; and perchance recall with what soul stirring pathos they oft rehearsed "the times that tried men's souls." But they have fallen, fallen before the last great enemy, till not one is left to repeat the story of their campaigns, their sufferings, or their triumphs. But shall their memories perish, or their glorious deeds pass into oblivion? Heaven forbid! Rather let us treasure them in our heart of hearts, and speak their praises to our children; thus may we keep unimpaired our love of country, and kindle the patriotism of those who come after us. To day they shall live again, in the event we celebrate. And what event can more strongly appeal to the popular gratitude than that which brought our city a happy deliverance from a foreign power, gave welcome relief to our patriot sires, who had fought for their country or suffered exile, and marked the close of a struggle which conferred the priceless blessings of peace and liberty, and a government which knows no sovereign but the people only. Our aim shall be, not so much to impress the reader with the moral grandeur of that day, or with its historic significance as bearing upon the subsequent growth and prosperity of our great metropolis; but the rather to present a popular account of what occurred at or in connection with the evacuation; and also to satisfy a curiosity often expressed to know something more of a former citizen, much esteemed in his time, whose name, from an incident which then took place, is inseparably associated with the scenes of Evacuation Day.

At the period referred to, a century ago, the City of New York contained a population of less than twenty thousand souls, who mostly resided below Wall Street, above which the city was not compactly built; while northward of the City Hall Park, then known as the Fields, the Commons, or the Green, were little more than scattered farm houses and rural seats. The seven years' occupation by the enemy had reduced the town to a most abject condition; many of the church edifices having been desecrated and applied to profane uses; the dwellings, which their owners had vacated on the approach of the enemy, being occupied by the refugee loyalists, and officers and attach├ęs of the British army, were despoiled and dilapidated; while a large area of the City, ravaged by fires, still lay in ruins!

The news of peace with Great Britain, which was officially published at New York on April 8th, 1783, was hailed with delight by every friend of his country... Continue reading book >>




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