For the seven years of the Revolutionary War, New York City was in British hands. But when the war ended, in September of 1783, with the Treaty of Paris, the British had still not left. On November 20, 1783, George Washington entered Harlem, New York. The last of the British troops left our shores on November 25th. A celebration took place on that day for more than a century. Evacuation Day marks the final act of the war. The last shot of the conflict was fired by one of the 20,000 retreating British off Staten Island as they sailed home.
The British greased the flagpole that flew their ensign; John Van Arsdale became the hero of the day when he donned cleats to climb it to fly the Stars and Stripes.