The British are coming! The British are coming!
Today when I hear this, it usually means we have guests coming in from across the pond.
But back in colonial days, we would have grabbed the silver and the milk cow and run for the hills. The British has been soundly defeated at the Battle of Saratoga by Washington’s Continental Army and they were mad as hornets. What better site for their revenge than the newly created New York State Capital, Kingston?
On a Fall October day in 1777, soldiers from British-captured New York City, sailed up the Hudson River to retaliate. Landing at Kingston Point, the red coats marched along the Rondout Creek and up to the Stockade area (now known as Uptown Kingston), burning houses along the way. And since the colonial militia was off fighting elsewhere (such as the Battle of Saratoga), only a few brave locals were left to repel the invading British soldiers.
In just a few hours, the angry redcoats burned down over 300 buildings. Luckily, most of the townsfolk had already left before the invasion. It was a dramatic moment in the American Revolutionary War.
In a few more weeks, Kingston will celebrate this biennial event marking the 240th anniversary of the battle with its 20th anniversary reenactment on the weekend of October 13, 14 and 15. Highlighted by a dramatic British invasion at Kingston Point Park along the Hudson River, red coated British Troops, colonial militiamen and historically garbed townspeople will present three full days of free activities.
What other city in New York State, let alone the United States, celebrates their burning down? Come and explore today’s bigger and better Kingston, with its three distinct districts. Tour the British military camps and watch 18th century company drills. Take advantage of the various historic presentations and lectures at the Senate House Museum, the Persen House, and the Hudson River Maritime Museum. Hear first-hand accounts by the long-dead at the Old Dutch Church Cemetery. Dance to live 18th century music at a costume Ball held at Kingston City Hall. Cheer on the Colonial militia, who though outnumbered and defeated, lived on to rebuild.
The Burning of Kingston is weekend-long celebration that draws thousands of visitors to Kingston NY. For
more details and full schedule of events: www.burningofkingston.com