Thursday, August 10, 2017

Yorktown: The Surrender Spot

Are you watching the series Turn: Washington's Spies?
If you are this is not a spoiler, the British surrendered at Yorktown.
If you are not watching you have time to catch up, the season final is Saturday.
Take a trip to Yorktown, VA you can see the landscape.

Second Continental Artillery Regiment

Great American Battery

First Allied Siege Line
Flag of Surrender

Alexander Hamilton


This so much reminds me of the beginning of the end of the Civil War, on the road where the south laid down their weapons at Appomattox, Virginia.

Yorktown Victory Monument


X. On October 29, 1781, Congress made a resolution to erect a monument to this great victory. It took almost one hundred years for that act of Congress to come to fruition. The cornerstone was laid October 18, 1881.  

IX. The design was to be subject to the approval of a committee of thirteen Representatives and thirteen Senators. The artists commissioned for the purpose by the Secretary of War were Mr. R.M. Hunt (Chairman) and Mr. J.Q.A. Ward (Architect) of New York and Mr. Henry Van Brunt (Sculptor) of Boston.

VIII. Architecturally it was planned and constructed in three parts with a base ('with its stylobate and its pediments"), a sculptured podium (in the form of a drum), and a column.

VII. Severe damage occurred when lightning struck the original "Liberty" in 1942.  Sculptor Oskar J. W. Hansen was commission to create the replacement "Liberty" of 1956. Liberty was struck by lightning again in 1990 with damage that has been repaired to hands and torso and an upgraded lightning rod was installed.

VI. It is within the line of defense of Cornwallis.

 V. Atop the shaft is the sculptured figure of "Liberty herself" -- attesting to the existence of the nation as "a proof of the possibility of a government of the people, by the people, for the people."

 IV. The column which springs from the podium, is a "symbol of the greatness and prosperity of the nation after a century of various experience, when thirty-eight free and independent states are shining together in a mighty constellation." There is a star for each state which was in the Union at the time the monument was designed. On the field of the shaft and among the stars, as reminder of the past, is the "shield of Yorktown covering the branch of peace."

III. The podium is a "symbol of the birth of freedom."
It carries the sculptur of thirteen "female figures" hand in hand in a solemn dance to denote the unity of the thirteen colonies. Beneath their feet is the inscription "One country, one constitution, one destiny
II. The pediments just over the inscriptions carry:
A. Emblems of nationality.
B. Emblems of war.
C. Emblems of the alliance.
D. Emblems of peace.

"The base is thus devoted to the historical statement."

I. The base carries an inscription on each of its four sides:
A. One dedicates the monument as a memorial of victory.
B. A second presents a succinct narrative of the Siege.
C. A third commemorares the treaty of alliance with France.
D. The fourth tells of the resulting treaty of peace with England


Read the History of the Siege at the National Park Service website.

Some of the houses in the town of Yorktown you may see on the television Turn in the background or referenced.

 The Moore House

I propose a cessation of hostilities for twenty four hours, and that two officers may be appointed by each side to meet at Mr. Moore's house, to settle for the surrender of the posts of York and Gloucester.

General Charles Lord Cornwallis to General George Washington
October 17, 1781.

Town Map 

West/Dudley Digges House
circa 1760

Original site occupied 1692
Present dwelling circa 1760

Nelson House
home of Thomas Nelson Jr.
signer of the Declaration of Independence
circa 1730 

circa 1730

Lightfoot/Somerwell House
Office of Va. State Representative
Rob Wittman 2016

Burcher Cottage
not a witness to colonial times or even the civil war 
but neighbor to the many that were and neighbors talk.
currently "On the Hill Gallery".

Swan Tavern
original opened for business 1722

Charles Cox House
land deed 1706

sold to Thomas Nelson in 1729

Old Customs House
built prior to 1733
original Richard Ambler's large brick storehouse
now used as a DAR Chapter House

In honor of Comte De Grasse Admiral of the French Fleet whose landing of troops and blockade of the Chesapeake Bay were decisive factors leading to the surrender of the British Forces at Yorktown, October 19, 1781. This tablet was erected by the Sons of the American Revolution, 1931.

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