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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
New York in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Evacuation Day

 
 
Evacuation Day Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, October 1, 2021
1. Evacuation Day Marker
Inscription.   On November 25, 1783 at 1:00PM, the last British Flag flying in the newly independent American states, near this site at Fort George, was removed by John Van Arsdale who climbed the flag pole which had been greased by the British, removed their flag and replaced it with the Stars and Stripes formally ending the American Revolution.

General George Washington led the ceremonies that historic day. Since that historic occasion the British have become our strongest ally.

This plaque, presented November 25, 2015, is a gift from the
Veteran Corps of Artillery-State of New York
Colonel Stephen J. Ryan, Commandant

Founded November 25, 1790 in honor of our 225th Anniversary this very day. Captain John Van Arsdale was one of the VCA founders.
 
Erected 2015 by Veterans Corps of Artillery-State of New York.
 
Topics. This memorial is listed in these topic lists: Forts and CastlesFraternal or Sororal OrganizationsWar, US Revolutionary. A significant historical date for this entry is November 25, 1783.
 
Location. 40° 42.319′ N, 74° 
Evacuation Day Marker on Flagpole image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, October 1, 2021
2. Evacuation Day Marker on Flagpole
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0.807′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New York County. Memorial is on Broadway just north of Beaver Street, in the median. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 26 Broadway, New York NY 10004, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Peregrine Falcons in New York City (a few steps from this marker); 175th Anniversary of Greek Independence (a few steps from this marker); August 27, 1926 (a few steps from this marker); Francis Makemie (a few steps from this marker); July 2, 1926 (within shouting distance of this marker); June 13, 1927 (within shouting distance of this marker); November 11, 1927 (within shouting distance of this marker); 26 Broadway (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. This marker has replaced the linked marker.
 
Additional commentary.
1. Caption Found on Illustration No. 3.
At noon, on the 25th of November, 1783, General Washington entered the City of New York by the Bowery, then the only road from Harlem, while, at the same time, the British evacuated the city, and entering the ships that lay anchored in the harbor, unfurled their sails, and slowly sailed down the bay. The American Militia, under the command of General Knox, immediately took possession of the Fort, and
Evacuation of New York by the British, November 25, 1783. image. Click for full size.
Hand-colored wood engraving published by the Pictorial War Record via U.S. Library of Congress, November 30, 1883
3. Evacuation of New York by the British, November 25, 1783.
the Stars and Stripes, for the first time, after a seven years’ foreign occupation, were unfurled from its walls, a triumphant salute was fired by the corps of Artillery, and New York was again in possession of her citizens.

The British, departing by the provisions of an honorable treaty, employed the last moments of their presence in the city in the commission of a base and unmanly outrage. Unreeling the halyards of the flag-staff at Fort George, they knocked off the cleats and greased the pole, to prevent the hoisting of the American colors. They then evacuated the Fort, sure that the Stars and Stripes would not be hoisted until they were far out of sight of their folds.

The discovery of this act excited general indignation. David Van Arsdale, a sailor boy, attempted at once to climb the bare pole, but it was too slippery, and he failed in the attempt. Upon this, some of the bystanders ran precipitately to Goelet’s Hardware store, in Hanover Square, and procuring hammers, nails and other necessary tools, set to work, some to saw, some to split, and others to bore new cleats for the flag-staff.

Armed with these, the sailor boy tied the halyards around his waist, nailing the cleats above him right and left, ascended, reefed the halyards, and hoisted the flag to its place ; and, as the American colors reached the top of the mast, a salute of thirteen
Artist's Depiction of American Sailor David Van Arsdale Hoisting the American Colors image. Click for full size.
Hand-colored wood engraving published by the Pictorial War Record via U.S. Library of Congress
4. Artist's Depiction of American Sailor David Van Arsdale Hoisting the American Colors
This is a close up enlargement from illustration No. 3.
guns rung its echoes in the ears of the discomfited troops, not yet out of the hearing of the triumphant shouts of the Sons of Freedom.

—Issued at the office of PICTORAL WAR RECORD, 12 Chambers Street, New York.
    — Submitted November 20, 2021.

2. Evacuation Day versus Thanksgiving
The American Revolution ended with the Treaty of Paris in September, 1783. This allowed the British time to organize their withdrawal which was set for noon in New York City, with Washington waiting just outside of the city. The signal for his entry was the lowering of the British Flag at modern day Battery Park.

Evacuation Day was celebrated as an American holiday, complete with greased pole climbing until the Civil War when President Lincoln called for Thanksgiving to be held on the last Thursday of November. The closeness of the two days to each other diminished Evacuation Day’s celebrations.
    — Submitted November 25, 2021.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 25, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 3, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 184 times since then. It was the Marker of the Week November 21, 2021. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 3, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.   3, 4. submitted on November 20, 2021, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.

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