Thursday, December 4, 2014



New York City (JFK+50) 231 years ago today, December 4, 1783, General George Washington bade farewell to the officers of the Continental Army at Fraunces Tavern* here in New York City.

With the ending of the Revolutionary War, the General had decided to resign his commission and return to private life.  

The event was held in the Long Room of the Tavern and after embracing each of his officers one by one, General Washington said...

"With a heart full of love and gratitude, I now take leave of you.  I most devoutly wish that your latter days may be prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable."**

While the General's military duties were over, his service to his country was not. He would return to New York City in April 1789 to be sworn in as the first President of the United States.

Washington's Farewell to His Officers
Engraving by Phillibrown from the
painting by Alonzo Chappel (1866)
National Archives Image

*Fraunces Tavern, located at 54 Pearl Street, served as headquarters for General George Washington during the Revolution.  It was also one of the meeting places for New York's Sons of Liberty.  After the Revolution, it became home to the Departments of Foreign Affairs, War and Treasury.

The original house was built in 17119 by Etienne "Stephen" DeLancey who used imported yellow bricks from the Dutch Republic.  In 1762, the house was purchased by Samuel Fraunces who converted it into a tavern.

Today the house is home of the Fraunces Tavern Museum.

**Quote taken from the account of Colonel Benjamin Tallmadge written in 1830.