It’s true! General Washington used Morris-Jumel Mansion (MJM) as his headquarters during the fall of 1776. It was during this period that the General’s troops forced a British retreat at the Revolutionary War Battle of Harlem Heights
The house was built eleven years before the revolution, in 1765, by British Colonel Roger Morris and his American wife, Mary Philipse. The breezy hilltop location proved an ideal location for the family’s summer home. Known as Mount Morris, this northern Manhattan estate stretched from the Harlem to the Hudson Rivers and covered more than 130 acres. Because they were loyal to the crown, the Morrises were eventually forced to return to England.
During the war, the hilltop location of the Mansion was valued for more than its cool summer breezes. With views of the Harlem River, the Bronx, and Long Island Sound to the east, New York City and the harbor to the south, and the Hudson River and Jersey Palisades to the west, Mount Morris proved to be a strategic military headquarters. Shortly after the Battle of Harlem Heights, Washington and his troops left the Mansion and, for a time, it was occupied by British and Hessian forces.
President Washington returned to the Mansion on July 10, 1790, and dined with members of his cabinet. Guests at the table included two future Presidents of the United States: Vice President John Adams and Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson. Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and Secretary of War Henry Knox also attended.
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