New York. May 15, 1929. “Fernandez, Marcelino, Mr. and Mrs.” Large format nitrate negative from the studio of Arnold Genthe. View full size.
Happy Evacuation Day!
On November 25, 1783, the last of the British troops left the US so we could start doing that whole independence thing. The American Revolution had ended years earlier, but on this date, the redcoats left New York peacefully to head back across the pond.
This was once a big holiday in the US, but is not commemorated by history lovers and small bits on blogs and newspapers.
The facts are these:
• George Washington was in town to celebrate.
• A British ship fired on a crowd of angry people on Staten Island. This is called the last shot fired in the war.
• British soldiers left their flag flying over their now dismantled fort. And the flag pole was greased:
"On a closer view it was found that the flag had been nailed to the staff, the halyards taken away, and the pole itself besmeared with grease; obviously to prevent or hinder the removal of the emblem of royalty, and the raising of the Stars and Stripes. Whether to escape the mortification of seeing our flag supplant the British standard, or to annoy and exasperate our people were the stronger impulse, it were hard to say. It was too serious for a joke, however, and the dilemma caused no little confusion."
(Photo: Currier & Ives via the Library of Congress)