When the war ended exactly is confusing. It kind of petered out after Yorktown into small raids. In November of 1782 the British agreed to American Independence and made a preliminary accord with America. In January of '83 they signed the preliminary peace treaty, with France and Spain, On April 14th, the Governor of New Jersey issued a Proclamation that ended formal hostilities. The British were still in New York City. Not until November 23rd, 1783 were they to leave the City.

To most historians, Washington riding into New York City with the remainder of the army (most had been furloughed) is the end of the war. At Fraunces Tavern, Washington took leave of his officers, asking each to come and take his hand. It was an emotional moment for them all- a bittersweet parting, the breaking of a fellowship.

Governor Livingston had this Proclamation printed and distributed to the County Sheriffs, who posted it- and probably read it aloud, so that the people would know of the successful conclusion of the war.



Trenton, April 14. 1783


William Livingston, ESQUIRE, Governor, Captain-General and Commander in Chief in and over the State of New-Jersey, and the Territories thereunto belonging, Chancellor and Ordinary in the same.


WHEREAS the United States of America, in Congress assembled, by their proclamation, (declaring the cessation of arms, as well by sea as by land, agreed upon between the United States of America and His Britannick Majesty, and enjoining the observance thereof) bearing date the eleventh day of this present month of April, have declared and made known in the words following, to wit,
WHEREAS provisional articles were signed at Paris on the thirtieth day of November last, between the Ministers Plenipotentiary of the United States of America for treating of peace, and the Minister Plenipotentiary of His Britannick Majesty, to be inserted in and to constitute the treaty of peace proposed to be concluded between the United States of America and His Britannick Majesty, when terms of peace should be agreed upon between their Most Christian and Britannick Majesties: And whereas preliminaries for restoring peace between their Most Christian and Britannick Majesties were signed at Versailles, on the twentieth day of January last, by the Ministers of their Most Christian and Britannick Majesties: And whereas preliminaries for restoring peace between the said king of Great-Britain and the King of Spain were also signed at Versailles, on the same twentieth day of January last.

BY which said preliminary articles it hath been agreed, that as soon as the same were ratified, hostilites between the said Kings, their kingdoms, states and subjects, should cease in all parts of the world; and it was farther agreed, that all vessels and effects that might be taken in the channel and in the north seas, after the space of 12 days from the ratification of the said preliminary articles, should be restored; that the term should be one month from the channel and north seas as far as the Canary islands inclusively, whether in the Ocean or the Mediterranean; two months from the said Canary islands as far as the equinoctial line or equator; and lastly, four months in all other parts of the world, without any exception or more particular description of time or place: And whereas it was declared by the Minister Plenipotentiary of the King of Great-Britain, in thc name and by the express order of the King his Master, on the said twentieth day of January last, that the said United States of America, their subjects and their possessions shall be comprised in the above mentioned suspension of arms at the same epochs, and in the same manner, as the three Crowns above mentioned, their subjects and possessions respectively; upon condition that on the part, and in the name of the United States of America, a similar declaration shall be delivered, expresslv declaring their assent to the said suspension of arms, and containing an assurance of the most perfect reciprocity on their part: And whereas the Ministers Plenipotentiary of these United States, did, on the same twentieth day of January, in the name and by the authority of the said United States, accept the said declaration; and declare, that the said states should cause all hostilites to cease against His Britannick majesty, his subjects and his possessions, at the terms and epochs agreed upon between his said Majesty the King of Great-Britain, His Majesty the King of France, and His Majesty the King of Spain, so, and in the same manner, as had been agreed upon
between those three Crowns, and to produce the same effects: And whereas the ratifications of the said preliminary articles between their Most Christian and Britannick Majesties were exchanged by their Ministers on the third day of February last, and between His Britannick Majesty and the King of Spain on the ninth day of February last: And whereas it is Our Will and Pleasure, that the cessation of hostilities between the United States of America and His Britannick Majesty, should bc conformable to the epochs fixed between their most Christian and Britannick Majesties:

WE have thought fit to make known thc same to the citizens of these states, and we hereby strictly charge and command all our officers, both by sea and land, and others, subjects to these United States, to forbear all acts of hostility, either by sea or by land, against his Britannick Majesty or his subjects, from and after the respective times agreed upon between their Most Christian and Britannick Majesties as aforesaid.

AND we do further require all Governors and others, the executive powers of thesc United States respectively, to cause this our proclamation to he made publick, to the end that the same be duly observed within their several jurisdictions:

AS by the said proclamation may appear. I DO THEREFORE, in pursuance thereof, cause thc said proclamation to bc made publick in this state, to the end that it may be duly observed within the same; and the sheriffs of the several counties in this state are hereby required to cause this proclamation to be made publick in their respective bailiwicks in due form of law, as soon as may be.

Given under my hand and seal at arms in Trenton, the fourteenth day of April, in the year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-three, and of the Sovereignty and Independence of America the seventh.




By His Excellency's Command

Bowes Reed






John Trumble picture -on the Capital Building website:

General George Washington resigned his commission as Commander-in-Chief of the Army to the Congress, which was then meeting at the Maryland State House in Annapolis, on December 23, 1783. This action was of great significance in establishing civilian rather than military rule, leading to democracy rather than potential dictatorship. Washington is depicted with two aides-de-camp as he addresses the president of the Congress, Thomas Mifflin, and others such as Elbridge Gerry, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and James Madison. Mrs. Washington and her three grandchildren are shown watching from the gallery, although they were not in fact present at the event.


One of the Most amasing acts of the war: Washington, Commander in Chief of the army, retires his commission to return to private life. The many great things done by this man to acheive LIBERTY for the people has this to be marked first- when called he served, when the need ended, he surrendered his power. With Washington's resignation, the war was really over, the army disbanded, and civil power in command.



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New Jersey during the Revolution

list of Site pages

I recommend also Captain John Outwater's Co. of Bergen county Militia web page.


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