From this page, using the Search by Site & Map option, you can search for sites/pages relating to Colonial and Early America including historic sites, markers, re-enactor groups, etc. If the site represents a mappable location you can also view that location on a map along with other nearby sites and markers.
If you're not sure what to search for click any of the following historic cities to view a map of their colonial and early American sites: Alexandria,VA, Annapolis, MD, Boston, MA, Charleston, SC, New Castle, DE, Newport, RI, New York, NY, Philadelphia, PA, Plymouth, MA, St. Augustine, FL, Williamsburg, VA
Historic & History Trails of Colonial & Early America
Thomas Jefferson Us President 1801-1809
Thomas Jefferson Reading His Rough Draft of the Declaration of Independence to Ben Franklin, c.1776
Longfellow National Historic Site
On July 2, 1775, just a few weeks after the hard-fought Battle of Bunker Hill, General Washington arrived in Cambridge, MA, establishing his headquarters at what is now known as the Longfellow House. Prior to becoming Washington’s headquarters, the 1759 house served as the home of British Major John Vassall and later as a hospital following the battles of Lexington and Concord. It’s believed that General Washington first took command of the new Continental Army at nearby Cambridge Common. Washington remained at the house through the end of the Siege of Boston in early April of 1776.
New London, CT
Washington stayed here overnight on April 9, 1776 as he traveled between Boston and New York. The mansion was built by French Acadians fleeing British oppression, using granite from a nearby ledge. It served as the Connecticut Naval War Office during the war and survived the burning of New London by Benedict Arnold in 1781.
New York, NY
For a month in the fall of 1776, Washington used the mansion as his temporary headquarters after his army suffered defeat at the Battle of Long Island. The mansion, believed to be the oldest building in Manhattan, has had many other brushes with history. In 1790, Washington hosted his cabinet here, complete with two future presidents.
Van Cortlandt House
This house was occupied by both Washington and the British at different points in the war. Washington used it as his headquarters in October 1776 prior to the battle of White Plains. When he retreated, a British general took possession of it, and it remained behind British lines for much of the war. Washington stopped briefly at the house in November, 1783 on his way to engage British forces then on the retreat. Considered the oldest building in the Bronx, it also housed the French commanders Rochambeau and Lafayette during the war.
Washington arrived here by crossing the Delaware after defeat in New York. From here, December 8th - 14th, 1776, he regrouped and planned a daring early-morning raid against the Hessians in Trenton. On a more macabre note, two British spies spent their final nights here in the home’s basement before being hanged.
The Barracks housed dozens of Hessian soldiers in Trenton. Washington, in his famous December 26, 1776 icy crossing of the Delaware River, attacked the Barracks and much of the rest of Trenton in a daring early-morning raid, killing 22 combatants and capturing over 900. The building was then used as a barracks for Revolutionary troops and as a hospital in 1777.
Morristown National Historic Park
Because of transportation problems, Washington was forced to halt his army in nearby Jacob’s Hollow in the winter of 1779. He took up residence in this mansion from January to May, 1779, joined by his wife, Martha. Strategically, it was a good spot, located close enough to New York to keep tabs on the British, but with safe access to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. But his men were starving and nearby residents were bitter at the soldiers for bringing smallpox to the area.
During and after the Battle of Short Hills, George Washington planned with his officers here on June 25-27, 1777.
This farmhouse, believed to have been built by John Wey in 1711, was used as a headquarters by General Washington from July 18th through July 31st, 1777 and from June 21st through the 22nd, 1778.
Washington stayed here beginning in August 23, 1777 until the final days for the Battle of Brandywine. It is one of the few historic homes used by commanders of both the British Army and the Continental Army, as British General Howe later used it as a headquarters during the Battle of Germantown. Legend has it that a servant named Dinah saved the house from being burned by two British soldiers; she stopped a British officer and claiming the two soldiers were deserters. Washington returned to Stenton on July 8, 1787 on his way to the Constitutional Convention.
Washington visited this iron forge several times during the war, with the first occurring in July 1777. It was partly the supply of iron in the area that made Morristown an attractive encampment in 1779, although little iron was made at Ringwood because most of the workers were off to the war. However, the shuttered foundry allowed its owner, Robert Erskine, to work as the chief cartographer for the war effort.
This stone structure was where Washington contemplated over an agonizing cat-and-mouse game between his forces and the British. Intending to camp the Continental army in New Jersey, Washington received a dispatch from John Hancock that the British royal fleet, with 17,000 troops on board, was sighted some 50 miles off the Delaware Capes. Washington stopped here from August 10th to August 23, 1777 until he knew the fleet’s intended target. It was here that the 19-year old Marquis de Lafayette first joined the cause.
Home to a family of Quaker pacifists, this house nevertheless was chosen as the site for a war council on September 6, 1777. It was just three days after the Battle of Cooch’s Bridge, and Washington was preparing for what would become the Battle of Brandywine.
Washington and his army encamped here from September 22nd to September 26, 1777 after the defeat at Brandywine. He chose the site because it was well-positioned to block the British from attacking a Continental arms depot in nearby Reading. While here, he stayed in the home of Col. Frederick Antes. Meanwhile, his hungry army ate up everything in sight, much to the chagrin of the locals.
Peter Wentz Farmstead Society
Washington camped in this farmstead while trying in vain to keep the British from taking Philadelphia in the fall of 1777. He used the German-architecture farmstead as his headquarters in October during his defeat in the Battle of Germantown, but he also received news while staying here of the surrender at Saratoga of British forces under the command of General John Burgoyne. Legend has it that when the Continental army learned of the surrender, cannons were fired in salute so close to homes that windows shattered.
During the Battle of Germantown in October 4, 1777, British forces took refuge in the stone walls of Cliveden, home of a loyalist named Benjamin Chew. The British were able to repulse Washington and the Continental Army, at one point even by bayoneting charging soldiers through the windows. Washington was forced to retreat and the British took Philadelphia. This was the last major campaign before the long winter at Valley Forge.
Valley Forge National Historic Park
Valley Forge, PA
This was the quarters of Washington and his army during the winter of 1777-1778. Logistics made large-scale winter campaigns impossible, but the army was close enough to harass British forces in Philadelphia and far enough away to prevent a sneak attack. While hunger and disease were challenges, the camp featured well-built log cabins laid out in grid roads. It is here that the army, wizened by recent battle experience, trained to become a cohesive fighting force.
John Kane House
Originally owned by merchant John Kane, this property consisted of "...a large and commodious dwelling house, containing ten rooms, a large Storehouse 65 feet distant from the dwelling house, with a stone building of one story between, which joined each” and there were “a barn, barracks, stables, corn&-house, shed, smoke-house, dairy, etc.”
While sympathetic of the revolution during its early years, Kane later switched allegiances by moving "into the British lines with two of his sons."
Ironically, following the British evacuation of Philadelphia and the Battle of Monmouth Washington would use the house as his headquarters from September 12th through November 23rd of 1778.
Webb Deane Stevens Museum
Here in 1781 Washington began to coordinate for the Battle of Yorktown. While spending five nights in the home of Joseph Webb, Washington met with the Comte de Rochambeau to plan for the French army’s role in the decisive Yorktown campaign. The museum features three period houses in a row; the Webb house was built in 1751.
From October 9th through the 19th, 1781, the combined force of the Continental Army and the French Army defeated a large force of British soldiers here. Some 7,000 British troops were forced to surrender. Washington fired the first shot of the American artillery at 5:00 p.m. on October 9th. It would prove to be the deciding battle of the Revolution, as it provoked a wavering of will among the British public to continue the war.
This was Washington’s final headquarters during the Revolutionary War from late August to early November, 1783. Here he wrote his Farewell Orders to the Armies, which praised the troops and announced his retirement, and received word that the Treaty of Paris had been signed.
New York, NY
On December 4, 1783, just days after the last British troop left the soil of the former colonies, Washington bid goodbye to his officers here. He and many of the officers openly wept throughout the occasion. He had been urged to take control of government and establish a dictatorship, but in this simple leave-taking he helped usher in the principle of civilian rule for the young country. The officers accompanied him down Whitehall Wharf for a barge to begin his journey to Philadelphia, where he would resign his commission.