November 25, 1783 — Today marks the day that British troops departed from New York Town on Manhattan Island at the end of the American Revolutionary War.
Gen. George Washington triumphantly led the Continental Army from his former headquarters, north of the City, across the Harlem River south down Manhattan through The Battery at the foot of Broadway.
The last shot of the war was reportedly fired on this day — by a British gunner at jeering crowds gathered on Staten Island as his ship passed through New York Harbor. The shot fell well short of its target.
Words of Wisdom
Washington's triumphal entry into [Manhattan] was delayed as the last Union flags that still flew were torn down. British soldiers went to the pains of flying a Union flag in Battery Park and greasing the flagpole. (The spiteful lubrication was intended to make removing the flag exceptionally difficult and all but ensured that it would still be in view as their ships departed.) But as soon as British vessels raised sail, patriots did their all to remove it and replace it with the Stars and Stripes. Wooden cleats were quickly cut and nailed into the pole.