Despite being so-called “neutral ground” for part of the American Revolution, Westchester sure experienced its share of suffering. Dr. James Thacher, a regimental surgeon and chief chronicler of the war, observed a land that was once “rich and fertile” and stated, “It now has the marks of a country in ruins.”
Following the 1776 battles of Pelham (“Pell’s Point”) and White Plains, American forces based north of Peekskill and British troops headquartered in New York City both pillaged the countryside between the two camps. Raids by Loyalist militia continued through the late 1770s and into the new decade, with perhaps the most devastating action occurring in May 1781 at Pines Bridge, where the majority African American First Rhode Island Regiment was attacked and its commander, Colonel Christopher Greene, mortally wounded.
In addition, General George Washington was in Westchester when he brought American and French armies together for the first time, and it was here that he came up with a strategy to win the war.
Several sites with links to the Revolutionary War are scattered throughout Westchester. Here are five of note.
Historic Bush-Lyon Homestead (Port Chester)
Believed to have been the frequent headquarters for General Israel Putnam, who distinguished himself during the Battle of Bunker Hill. (Closed for renovations)
Jacob Purdy House (White Plains)
George Washington’s headquarters and base during the Battle of White Plains.
Saint Paul’s Church
National Historic Site
Restored colonial church that was used as a wartime hospital.
Sparta Cemetery (Ossining)
Two-acre gravesite for the village’s early settlers and veterans from the Revolutionary War to WWII.
Thomas Paine Cottage (New Rochelle)
Former home of Thomas Paine, called “the father of the American Revolution” due to his many influential patriotic pamphlets circulated before the war began.