The Fourth of July is a hallowed day across the nation and especially in Dobbs Ferry, where several key events helped influence our country's fight for independence.
"As it happens the American component of the 1781 encampment began on July 4," said Richard Borkow, the Dobbs Ferry village historian.
July 4, 1781 was the fifth anniversary of Independence Day, but it was more of a military standoff as the United States had yet to capture a decisive victory on the battle field. Independence was still more of a goal than a true reality, according to Borkow.
That same day was the first day of encampment in Dobbs Ferry and what is now Ardsley for the 4,500 American troops commanded by General George Washington. Borkow said soldiers were more than aware of the magnitude of the day, using passwords such as "Independence," "glorious" and "America."
Borkow said Dobbs Ferry was chosen by Washington for its relatively close proximity to Manhattan, which was occupied by the British at the time.
Washington eventually abandoned the plan to attack the British in Manhattan and decided, in August, to launch an attack on British General Cornwallis in Virginia. Again, Dobbs Ferry became an integral location as the Americans and their French allies were assembled for a march near the intersection of Ashford Avenue and Broadway. This march is considered to be a key to winning the war for the United States.
On Aug. 7, Dobbs Ferry and the Historical Society will honor this historic march, which Borkow referred to as the most important military movement of the war.
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