West Point

Continental Army

Take a closer look at a group of soldiers in the foreground of the painting. Also notice the lines of tents in the distance with the Hudson Highlands in the background. 

Image courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 

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Rugged Ground

The troops that camped on Constitution Island in the fall of 1782 included sappers and miners, a specialized group of soldiers that repaired the island’s fortifications. One young member of the corps, Joseph Plumb Martin, remembered that the “ruggedness of the ground” forced the troops to pitch their tents in an irregular manner.

Learn more about Joseph Plumb Martin
Continental Army

This group of sergeants and corporals, identified by their epaulettes, appear to be waiting for their next orders. In 1782, most of the soldiers stationed at West Point were from Massachusetts and Connecticut. Deborah Sampson, a woman who disguised herself as a man and served in the 4th Massachusetts Regiment, was stationed at West Point in 1782.

Take a closer
Road to Fishkill

More tents are visible along the road leading north to Fishkill, New York. Seven miles from West Point, Fishkill served as a Continental Army supply depot for much of the war. Craftsmen in the town sewed uniforms, repaired firearms, rolled cartridges, and made leather gear for soldiers.

L’Enfant’s Method

Pierre Charles L’Enfant never completed this watercolor. The unfinished portion of the panorama, however, provides clues as to how L’Enfant painted the scene. The pencil and ink sketching seen here shows how L’Enfant first drew the panorama and then overpainted his sketches with watercolors.

Learn more about Pierre Charles L’Enfant