Brief Historical OverviewAfter marching across CT in 1781 June the 4,000 men of the French Expeditionary Force (FEF) camped in the Ardsley / Dobbs Ferry / Hartsdale NY, area near the campsites of the Continental Army. For six weeks the allies explored the strength of British defenses around New York City. Then, siezing an opportunity to use French naval support to trap and defeat a smaller British army in Virginia, the allied armies changed plans, marched south, and captured the army under Cornwallis in Yorktown VA.
The Continental forces returned to NY immediately after the victory. The French came north nine months later, staying briefly in NY before moving east through CT and RI to Boston, where they embarked for the Caribbean Islands.
Consider the economic benefit to New York from housing and provisioning 5,500 French troops for six weeks, then follow their footsteps west and south to New Jersey.
A Note about "Official" W3R Routes
NPS Historic Map for NY-NJ [TIFF file]
NPS draft tour maps for all states
|AUTO ROUTE TO FOLLOW THE FRENCH ARMY:||Goal GPS in WGS84|
|Start your auto tour in Bedford NY or see the end of the CT tour to read how to get here from the Connecticut border.||N41.20633°, W73.64665°|
|Go right on Rt 172. When it hits Rt 117 go right to Mt Kisco and turn left onto Rt 133. Follow this to turn left and merge with Rt 100, then follow Rt 100 south. It will join Rt 9A and become a divided highway until Hawthorne. Find Rt 100 there and follow its twists and turns as it goes south past Washington's Headquarters Museum near Valhalla and the White Plains National Battlefield Site, past Camp 14 where the French camped for six weeks to Hartsdale, where Rochambeau had his headquarters. .||N41.02955°, W73.78956°|
|From Hartsdale we follow the route of French unit B. Take Rt 100 back north as it twists and turns past Hawthorne and Millwood and over Pines Bridge, then take Rt 118 left and follow it north when it goes right after a mile. After several miles Rt 118 intersects Rt 202 in Yorktown Heights.||N41.27688°, W73.78397°|
|Take Rt 202 left on Croton Ave to Furnace Dock Rd, then west (right) on this to Rt 9A and north (right) on this to Trolley Road. Take that left (west), and it becomes Kings Ferry Road into Verplank.||N41.25255°, W73.95971°|
|Take the ferry across the Hudson to Stoney Point. From Stoney Point take Rt 202/9W south to West Haverstraw.||N41.20963°, W73.98526°|
|Shortly thereafter take Rt 202 west and follow that all the way to Suffern NY, near the NJ border.||N41.11466°, W74.15380|
|AUTO ROUTE TO FOLLOW THE CONTINENTAL ARMY:||Goal GPS in WGS84|
|From Dobbs Ferry (N41.01547°, W73.86931°) follow Rt 9 north to where it merges with Rt 9A at Crotonville, then follow Rt 9A (off the divided highway) to Trolley Road. Take that left (west), and it becomes Kings Ferry Road into Verplank.||N41.25255°, W73.95971°|
|Take the ferry across the Hudson to Stoney Point. From Stoney Point take Rt 202/9W south to Palisades NY near the NJ border.||N41.01110°, W73.91349°|
|The route north re-traced essentially the French Army path in reverse.|
Pearls along the Necklace -- Nearby Revolutionary-Era Sites
-- The Village Historian of Dobbs Ferry includes a pictorial account of the 1781 encampment of the allied American and French armies in Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Hartsdale, and Edgemont NY.
-- The Hudson River Valley Association has a guidebook section with descriptions of some of the sites in the list below.
-- Yorktown Heights Area: While encamped near New York City Rochambeau was quartered at the Odell farm (still standing and used as a museum) in Hartsdale NY. Washington's headquarters were where the Ardsley High School now stands. Maj. Gen. Chastellux stayed at a house in Scarsdale NY (still standing). [submitted by Scott Tompkins]
The W3R®-NHT, HRVNHA and the Hudson River Valley Greenway, and a design team from the National Park Service Harpers Ferry Center have selected fifteen sites of historical significance to the story of the NHT. The sites now being developed further are as follows:
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