On March 15, 1783, a group of some 100 officers of the Continental Army were gathered in the Temple of Virtue, a meeting hall built in their winter encampment near New Windsor, NY (a reconstruction is pictured above). They were there to “consider the late letter from our Representative in Philadelphia” read an unsigned note that circulated around the army’s camp and “what measure (if any) should be adopted, to obtain that redress of grievances, which they seem to have solicited in vain.”
This was the crisis moment of what historians have taken to calling the Newburgh Conspiracy. But what was it? Who was conspiring, if anyone, and what were their goals? And was the American Revolution really in jeopardy at this moment?
These and other question are addressed by David Head in his new book A Crisis of Peace: George Washington, the Newburgh Conspiracy, and the Fate of the American Revolution. David Head is Professor of History at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. This is his fourth book.