"yorktown virginia" Top 5 Page for this destination Yorktown by doug48

Yorktown Travel Guide: 86 reviews and 248 photos


yorktown was founded on the york river in 1691 by thomas ballard and joseph ring. up to the start of the revolutionary war yorktown was a prosperious port town for shipping tabacco. around 1750 during the height of yorktown's prosperity there were around 300 buildings and homes in the town. yorktown was the site of two major battles in american history, the siege of yorktown during the revolutionary war and the battle of yorktown during the civil war. today there are several existant historic buildings downtown and the yorktown battlefield. for those interested in american history yorktown is a very worth while place to visit in eastern virginia.

one of the most significant events in american history is the battle of yorktown also known as the siege of yorktown in 1781. the battle was fought between the british forces of lord cornwallis and the combined forces of american general george washington and french forces commanded by the comte de rochambeau. prior to the siege cornwallis constructed a chain of seven redoubts around the town of yorktown. on september 28 th 1781 general washington led his army out of williamsburg in the direction of yorktown. on september 29 th washington moved his army closer to yorktown and there was fighting between american riflemen and hessian jagers. later that day cornwallis moved his defenses closer to yorktown and washington occuppied the british outer line of defense. between september 30 th and october 5 th there was sporatic fighting between both sides. by october 9 th american and french forces had set up their artillery positions in preparation for the siege. on october 14 th american forces under the command of alexander hamilton and french forces under the command of colonel wilhelm von zweibrucken captured british redoubts 9 and 10. with the capture of redoubts 9 and 10 the american and french forces could bombard yorktown from three directions. by october 17 th cornwallis considered the british situation hopeless and prepared to surrender. the articles of capitulation were signed on october 19 th ending the last major land battle of the revolutionary war.

in 1862 yorktown was again involved in a "siege" during the civil war. yorktown was defended by confederate generals joseph johnston and john b. magruder. union general george mc clellan's army of the potomac attacked yorktown from his base at fort monroe near hampton roads. on april 4 th 1862 the union army pushed through magruder's initial line of defense but the following day encountered his more effective warwick line. mc clellan was a victim of faulty intelligence and estimated that the confederates had 40,000 troops on the defensive line and that johnston had 60,000 troops in reserve. magruder, an amateur actor before the war, exacerbated mc clellan's confusion by moving infantry and artillery in a manner to make the defenders seem a much larger force than their actual numbers. to the amazement of the confederates and the dismay of president lincoln mc clellan choose not to attack the confederate line but to transfer heavy siege guns to lay siege on yorktown. this massive deployment of artillery took almost a month to complete. by may 4 th general johnston knew that the impending bombardment would be difficult to withstand so he moved his forces west toward williamsburg. the siege of yorktown, which never happened, led to the battle of williamsburg.

  • Last visit to Yorktown: Apr 2011
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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