British Evacuate New York

In mid-August 1783, Sir Guy Carleton received orders from London for the evacuation of New York City.

He told the President of the Continental Congress that he was proceeding with the withdraw of refugees, freed slaves and military personnel as fast as possible, but it was not possible to give an exact date because the number of refugees entering the city had increased dramatically. More than 29,000 Loyalist refugees were evacuated from the city. The British also evacuated former slaves and did not return them to their enslavers as the Treaty of Paris had required them to do.

Carleton gave a final evacuation date of noon on November 25. Entry into the city by George Washington was delayed until after a British flag had been removed. A Union Flag was raised on a flagpole in the Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan and the pole was allegedly greased. After a number of men attempted to tear down the British color - a symbol of tyranny for contemporary American Patriots - a veteran, John Van Arsdale, was able to ascend the pole with the use of climbing cleats used to scale masts on ships, remove the flag, and replace it with the Stars and Stripes before the British fleet had sailed out of sight. General George Washington led the Continental Army in a triumphal march down Broadway to The Battery immediately afterward.

Sir Guy Carleton, the governor Andrew Elliot, and some other former British officials left the city on December 4. Washington left the city shortly after the British departure.

n 1783 Washington, Governor Clinton, and Sir Guy Carleton held a conference at Dobbs Ferry, and made arrangements for the British troops to evacuate the city on November 25. On that morning the American troops under General Knox, who had come down from \Vest Point and encamped at Harlem, marched to the "Bowery Lane," and halted at the present junction of Third Avenue and the Bowery. There they remained until about 1 P.M., the British claiming the right of possession until meridian. At that hour the British had embarked at Whitehall, and before 3 PM. General Knox took formal possession of the city and of Fort George, amid the acclamations of thousands of citizens and of the roar of artillery at the Battery. Washington repaired to his quarters at Fraunce's Tavern, and there, during the afternoon, Governor Clinton gave a public dinner to the officers of the army. In the evening the town was brilliantly illuminated, rockets shot up from many private dwellings, and bonfires blazed at every corner. The British, on leaving, had nailed their flag to the staff in Fort George, and slushed the pole; but John Van Arsdale, a young sailor, soon took it down, and put the stars and stripes in its place. At sunset on that clear, frosty day the last vessel of the retiring British transports disappeared beyond the Narrows.