Why is the Siege so Important to American History?
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In 1780, the war shifted South. A bloody campaign in the Carolinas led Cornwallis’ army to Virginia in May 1781. Though Washington still hoped to recapture NYC, Lafayette encouraged him to besiege Yorktown instead. The resulting surrender crippled the British and spurred peace negotiations, ending the war for independence.
Understanding the Yorktown Landscape
The Yorktown landscape is rich with historical significance, from the ground you walk on to the buildings that still stand
in honor of the past.
While the tour covers a number of the historical houses, there are a variety of other things to see as well. Here is a little information about what treasures the landscape holds and what else can be seen in the Yorktown area. Come walk with us to experience history for yourself and learn about how the little area of Yorktown made such a huge impact on the freedoms we still enjoy today.
Yorktown was more than just a battleground, it was a trading hub too.
In 1691, Major Lawrence Smith surveyed 50 acres on the bluffs overlooking the York River, on land purchased from Colonel Benjamin Reade (great-grandfather of George Washington) and divided into 82 lots. Yorktown trustees assigned lots, and the owner was required to build within 1 year or forfeit the lot.
Situated on a deepwater port, the town thrived from the export of tobacco and import of foreign goods. Famous Virginia families such as the Digges and the Nelsons contributed to the success of Yorktown.
Victory Walking Tours will be officially opening on
April 26, 2019!
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The Turning Coleman Bridge
Grace Church Graveyard
Washington, Lafayette, & DeGrasse Statue
Quotes of the Time
Here is a glimpse of the great minds that influenced not just the foundation of our great nation, but also changed the world!
Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hamilton
VA Governor Brigadier General Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Major General Henry Knox
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Interesting Terms From The Time
The English language has changed a lot over the years. Take a look at these terms used commonly in the Revolutionary War time period but are no longer well-known of today!
Also nearby is the Tobacco Road, an important road for traders.
From 1691 through the mid-18th century, Yorktown was a bustling hive, financed primarily by the exportation of tobacco. No roads opened from the town on the bluffs down to "Under the Hill" in those days, therefore this well-worn road was the primary means of carrying goods to and from the waterfront to be shipped or received.
Not far away is another such means, the Great Valley, at the head of which Scotch Tom Nelson placed his mercantile stores. While the road is NOT featured on our route, it is both nearby and interesting to see.
10 days after the surrender at Yorktown, a jubilant Continental Congress passed a measure to erect a monument to the French and American troops who had claimed such an amazing victory. For the next century, Yorktown residents and those interested in the Revolutionary War continued to plead for the monument.
On October 18th, 1881 the cornerstone was laid at last, and within 3 years it was completed to the specifications originally laid out. Though the statue of liberty atop the monument has been struck twice lightning and repaired, the monument stills stands as a testament to a nearly miraculous victory.
This impressive monument was raised in honor of Victory!
When the English arrived in Virginia, the river was called the Paumunk Flu, for the Pamunkey - one of the six original tribes of the Powhatan Confederacy, and the tribe to which Powhatan himself belonged.
The river was later renamed the Charles and in 1642, the York. Branching over the Virginia Peninsula from the Chesapeake Bay, the York River has a rich history of shipping, trade, and transportation. This river has seen some incredible historical events, and the discovery of her depths continues today!
The York River is rich with its own history dating back to the Powhatan.
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Influential Figures of the Time
Here are a few of the influential figures who were important to not only the Revolutionary War, but to the area and its rich history as a whole. A few of these important people of the Revolutionary War will be covered in our walking tours.