On August 23, 1783 General George Washington arrived at Rockingham from Newburgh, New York,
and with his aides and military guard present, settled into what was to become his last military headquarters. His wife, Martha, a small guard of 12 to 24 men, and several personal servants accompanied him. The General would ultimately stay for three and a half months from August until November. Martha Washington stayed until the beginning of October, after which she traveled to Philadelphia before making her way home to Mount Vernon. While in residence, the General entertained many dignitaries, including Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and Thomas Paine. He also attended the Continental Congress, which was held in Princeton, the national capitol at the time. During his stay, General Washington anxiously awaited news of the formal document that would end the Revolutionary War and recognize the independence of the 13 colonies. When Washington received word at Rockingham that the "Treaty of Paris" had been signed on Sept 3, 1783, he composed his "Farewell Orders to the Armies of the United States." In it, he recognized the service of his countrymen and announced his retirement from public life, a deliberate move that sent the message that he did not want to be the fledgling nation's king. Washington did not envision the establishment of a monarchy for his country, and in the end it was decided the new nation would be governed "by the people, for the people."
On October 30, 1783, General Washington's "Farewell Orders" were dispatched from Rockingham to General Henry Knox at Newburgh, New York with instructions it was to be read to the troops on November 2. Congress passed the official proclamation releasing the troops from service as of November 4, 1783. On November 9, Washington ordered his papers and personal possessions sent to Mount Vernon. The following day the General and his aides left Rockingham for West Point and New York City before returning home to Mount Vernon.