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George Washington Returns To Longfellow House

National Park News

The Revolutionary War returned to Cambridge, Massachusetts, on July 14th as soldiers quarreled amongst themselves, a traitor was discovered in their midst, and George Washington himself took command of the fledgling Continental Army at Longfellow House–Washington’s Headquarters NHS.

The day-long series of events coincided with the anniversary of George Washington moving into the Georgian mansion on Brattle Street, now overseen by the National Park Service. Over 700 people attended the event, which was organized and enacted by volunteers. Visitors were invited to play 18th century games, chat with the various militiamen, listen to the regiment’s fifer and drummer, witness a mock court martial, and decipher evidence that a traitor was in their midst.

The main event featured the arrival of General Washington (portrayed by Bill Rose) who took command of the army from Artemas Ward (Joe Doyle). He also chatted with John Adams (Tom Macy) and various officers about the state of the army and the burgeoning revolution. Evidence was presented that proved Dr. Benjamin Church (Mike LePage) was feeding information to the enemy.

Nearly 50 reenactors in period clothing braved the scorching heat and humidity to make the day a success. The National Park Service was especially grateful to Henry Cooke and Frank Chamberlain, who served as liaisons with the various regiments, including the 2nd Massachusetts, the 10th Massachusetts (Ephraim Jackson’s Company of Newton), the Lexington Train Band, and the Danvers Alarm Company. The site was also indebted for the assistance from Jim Hollister, historic weapons supervisor at Minute Man NHP.

The event was also part of Cambridge Discovery Days, an annual event celebrating local history and organized by the Historic Cambridge Collaborative.

Longfellow House–Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site was home to America’s most popular 19th century poet and scholar, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and his family from 1837-1950. The historic 1759 colonial mansion was also General George Washington’s first major headquarters during the American Revolution. The house and its collections were a gift to the nation from Longfellow’s descendents in 1972. Its extensive collections and grounds represent more than 250 years of America’s history and literature.


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