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  • Writer's pictureMandy-Gentry

Yorktown - Virginia

Colonial Parkway

Yorktown was just a short 20 minute drive down the Colonial Parkway from Williamsburg. The beautiful Colonial Parkway drive creates the historic triangle, connecting Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown.

Yorktown was the site of the epic Battle of Yorktown in 1781, which essentially brought an end to the Revolutionary War. General George Washington, with a commanding force of 17,000 French and Continental troops, surrounded Lord Cornwallis and his 9,000-man British army. After three weeks of non-stop bombardment, Cornwallis surrendered.

Once again, this area of the country is SO rich in history that I can't even begin to touch on it all. You can tour both the lands where the Battle of Yorktown took place and Historic Yorktown (which is just like a smaller version of Williamsburg but without the historians.)

It was incredibly moving and SO fascinating to be on this land, in the trenches, see the cannons, read the stories, and imagine the gunshots and smoke.

Yorktown Victory Monument

First & Second Siege Lines

Continental troops dug a series of parallel trenches that allowed allied forces to move closer to British lines in Yorktown. On October 9th, Washington began his bombardment on the British army. To prevent Cornwallis from making repairs, they continued the assault day and night. On October 11th, Washington ordered new siege lines to be dug 400 yards closer to the British lines, which allowed the siege of two British redoubts (fort systems) and access to the York River.

The Chesapeake Bay

The battefield looks out on the York River, which flows into Chesapeake Bay. In the Battle of the Capes in September 1781, the French fleet, commanded by Admiral de Grasse, engaged and drove off a British fleet attempting to help the British Army at Yorktown. This left Cornwallis isolated. The French fleet stood guard at the entrance of the bay as Washington and his troops moved in.

The Moore House

On October 18, 1781, Lord Cornwallis and General Washington each sent two representatives to meet at the Moore House to negotiate terms of the British surrender face-to-face. The "Articles of Capitulation" were completed with 14 provisions within the day.

The Surrender Field

On October 19, 1781, British troops marched from Yorktown with their muskets reversed and surrendered in this field. American troops lined one side of the road and allied French troops lined the other. Cornwallis claimed to be sick and sent his second in command instead. The British band played "The World Turned Upside Down" as the British troops came to the spot where they each laid down their weapons.

Exploring the American Lines

Historic Yorktown

Charming, lovely, intriguing, abundant in history - We really enjoyed our time strolling the streets of Historic Yorktown. I'd visit again in a heartbeat! There's even a little beach front along the banks of the York River. Also, there is an American Revolution museum that we did not get a chance to visit this time, but it is suppose to be amazing.

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