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North Castle Daily News

Polite Open Discourse

November 15, 2014
Stories about the perils and accomplishments of our town residents include those of our government officials. Many of the topics that appear on are controversial. We have allowed the public to comment on certain stories, adding to the civil discourse. All comments will be considered, but reserves the right to not publish comments that are personal attacks. Simply put, comment on the content, not the person writing it. Comments seen here may not reflect the views of 

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Michelle Boyle

Restoration of Washington Headquarters Caught in Politics

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1. Ed Woodyard | July 11, 2015 at 10:56 AM EDT

I would like to offer a few things to add to your piece, as follows:

The comments referencing the similar destruction of historic sites by the Taliban appeared in May and June in the LoHud Exchange piece \George Washington is having a nightmare\ by Jason Sapan in which Mr. Sapan called the \wanton cultural destruction\ of the Miller House as comparable to the blowing up of the 2000-year-old Buddha of Banyam by the Taliban. (

Also, there is an introductory phrase in your piece that I believe needs to be amended: Although there is a distinct difference between malicious destruction and persistent, willful neglect, the aim of the perpetrators is still the same: the eradication of a cultural and historical monument. One method is to use bombs and explosives; the other is to allow time and weather to do the deed. But the intention is the same, regardless of method: get rid of it.

In addition, I take issue with those who think my presentation that evening belongs on a Broadway stage. I have three direct ancestors who fought at the Battle of White Plains. One was James Woodyard whom I mentioned in my remarks who, at the age of 53, walked (as did his 60-year-old brother Henry Woodyard and 31-year-old nephew Jesse Woodyard) from Charles County, Maryland as part of the 26th Maryland flying camp, under the command of his next door neighbor General William Smallwood, after whom a street on Miller Hill in North White Plains is named. He survived the battle and later crossed the Delaware with Washington in his famous Christmas Day surprise attack on Trenton.

My second ancestor at White Plains was Washington's aide-de-camp Benjamin Lemasters, a 20-year-old from Morgantown, Virginia who served him as his confidential assistant and who was undoubtedly with him in the Miller House. He too survived the battle and crossed the Delaware with Washington; promoted to sergeant, he also served Washington during the brutal winter of 1777-1778 at Valley Forge.

My third ancestor at the Battle of White Plains was a 22-year-old Minuteman from Amherst, Massachusetts named Oliver Smith who did not survive the battle. His death was recorded that day -- and he quite possibly could have died on the grounds of the Miller House since it served as a field hospital during the battle.

Those facts alone about my personal involvement with the Miller House are above reproach and my emotions involving this historic treasure likewise cannot be called into question.

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