The unattractive truth was that the arrival of the provisional treaty ending the war in April 1783 made the Continental Army superfluous, and the sooner it disappeared, the better. Congress eventually voted to provide full pay for five years for officers in lieu of half pay for life, but doing so was a purely rhetorical exercise, since there was no money in the federal coffers to pay anyone. Even that meaningless commitment generated widespread criticism, especially in New England, where returning officers were greeted with newspaper editorials describing them as blood-beaked vultures feeding at the public trough. At least in retrospect, the dissolution of the Continental Army in the spring of 1783 was one of the most poignant scenes in American history, as the men who had stayed the course and won the war were ushered off without pay, with paper pensions and only grudging recognition of their service.
Philadelphia, PA — Founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin and John Bartram to promote
Useful Knowledge.Philosophical Hall (1789) is now a museum featuring art, scientific instruments, rare books, original manuscripts, natural history specimens, and curiosities.
NJ — 26 December 1776 (Second Battle of Trenton, 2 January 1777).
Richmond, VA — Built in 1790, this Federal-style house was where the great Chief Justice lived for 45 years; during the war he was a first lieutenant; includes family furnishings and memorabilia.
Trenton, NJ — A 155-foot granite column that commemorates the 1776 Battle of Trenton; accessible by means of an elevator with good views of the capital of New Jersey.
The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783—1789 (2015)