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Yorktown National Battlefield Memorial (Where Gumbo Was #263)


Congratulations to George G. and PortMoresby for correctly guessing that Gumbo had spent this week visiting the National Battlefield Memorial at Yorktown Virginia.

 witw 263-04Fleur de Lis at the Grand French Battery Line

witw 263-05The defensive earthen works at The Grand French Battery

In 1781, the seventh year of the war for American Independence, British General Lord Cornwallis brought his army to Yorktown Virginia. His goal was to build a naval base on the York River, which empties into the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. Cornwallis had an army of 9000 troops, and they created a base around the outskirts of the town. This included building earthen lines of defense and 10 redoubts around the town. 

 witw 263-11Redoubt No. 10

The Americans realized that they could deal a massive loss to the British if they could defeat Cornwallis and force a surrender. General Washington, with 11,000 troops and Maj. Lafayette with over 8000 French troops joined together and laid siege to the British. In addition to having a greater number of soldiers, The French also brought 29 warships to the Chesapeake Bay. This prevented the British navy, which had sailed from New York City, from reinforcing Cornwallis. In fact, the battle of Yorktown was the largest naval battle of the Revolutionary War.

 witw 263-18The French Cemetery

The siege lasted three weeks. When the British requested to surrender, negotiations were held at the Moore House, one of the few buildings still standing after the artillery fire from both sides. Three days of meeting were held to determine the terms of surrender. On October 19, 1781, The British army surrendered in a field near the Moore House.

 witw 263-12The Moore House

witw 263-13Inside the "room where it happened" set up for surrender negotiations

Yorktown was the last major battle of the war, although it was almost two years until the Treaty of Paris was signed, bringing the Revolutionary War to a formal end.

 witw 263-17The Surrender Field

Yorktown National Cemetery – In 1862, Yorktown was again laid siege to, this time by the Union Army, during the Civil War. A cemetery was created by the Union Army and by the end of the war it contained the remains of 660 northern soldiers. Today there are over 200 graves.

 witw 263-06The Superintendent's Cottage

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Victory Monument – The Yorktown Victory Monument, commemorating the surrender of the British Army, was designed by Richard Morris Hunt, and installed in 1884. The statue of Victory at the top of the monument was installed in 1957, replacing a figure of Liberty that was destroyed by lightning in 1942.

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Come back tomorrow to see where Gumbo goes next.


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