Illustration of George Washington reading the Declaration of Independence in New York on July 9th 1776. St. Paul’s Chapel, which still stands, is in the background right. The image by A.R. Waud appeared on July 9th, 1870 in Harper’s Weekly.
On July 9th 1776, George Washington read aloud the Declaration of Independence which had been read first 5 days earlier in Philadelphia. He read it in front of his troops in the area then called the Commons, where today’s City Hall Park is. The spot is commemorated with an inscription on the pavement inside City Hall Park.
Inscription on the pavement in City Hall Park commemorating Washington’s reading of the Declaration of Independence, unfortunately faded badly.
Inspired by Washington’s reading of the Declaration, soldiers and patriots marched down to Bowling Green Park and tore down a statue to King George III, which had been erected only six years earlier to try to improve support for the monarchy in the city. The statue was melted down and used to make bullets used by the Continental Army. Today, a fence surrounds the park what was originally installed to protect the
statue of George. It had crowns on its lampposts which were sawed off by the patriots.
Painting by Johanes Adam Simon Oertel depicting the pulling down of the statue of King George the III at Bowling Green Park. This painting hangs at the New-York Historical Society.
New York City was at the time Rebel territory but would be abandoned by Washington later that year and held by the British for the remainder of the war. Washington would return to New York at the end of the war to officially liberate the city on November 25th, 1783, when the final British troops evacuated the city.