Evacuation Day 25 November 1783
by Gale Thomas Howe-Cornwell
"The End of the War" Howard Pyle's late 19th
century drawing of the Continental Army marching into New York
When the British lowered the Grand Union flag of their 13 Colonies at Fort George in New York City, 215 years ago,
General Washington proclaimed that the new flag of the United States of America be raised, to end the American
Revolution. Congress in its' wisdom had retained the original 13 Red and White stripes with the British Union Jack replaced
by a field of Blue containing 13 White Stars. The fighting had ended with the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown in
Virginia, on 19 October 1781 but it took over 2+ years for the last British soldier to leave our shores. Washington had
not returned to New York since his retreat in 1776. Now he would attend a Public Dinner at Fraunces Tavern on Pearl
Street where he would propose 13 Toasts of Hot Butter'd Rum.'
The 13 Official Toasts: To the United States of America, To His Most Christian Majesty Louis XVI of France; To the
United Netherlands; To the King of Sweden; To the American Army; To the Fleet and Armies of France which have served
in America; To the memory of those heroes who have fallen for our freedom; May our country be grateful to her
military children; May justice support what courage has gained; To the indicators of the rights of mankind in every
quarter of the globe, May America be an asylum to the persecuted of the Earth; May a close union of states guard the
temple they have erected to Liberty; May the remembrances of the day be a lesson to princes.
Let all of us drink a toast to Washingtons' 13 Official Toasts. However, I do not recommend Hot Butter'd Rum unless
visiting Fraunces Tavern. Amen!