As the national rebellion began, Newburgh organized a Committee of Safety, which governed the community for the duration of the war. Hundreds of troops were encamped here, especially near the end of the war. The war caused the region to burgeon, especially with the addition many settlers fleeing the British-occupied New York City.
A strategic spot for the defense of the young nation, Newburgh has been called the "birthplace of the republic." General Washington not only guided the war from here but kept the dream of a republic alive by quelling a military rebellion and probable martial law and refusing to accept a crown as America's first king.It was in Newburgh that peace was declared and its terms decided. Washington made his headquarters in the last year and a half of the war at the home of the Hasbrouck family, which in 1850 became the first building bought by a state to be preserved as historic site.
It was also while based in Newburgh that Washington first awarded the Badge of Merit, later known as the Purple Heart.