Yorktown Battlefield, Yorktown, Virginia
The Yorktown Battlefield marks the end of the American Revolutionary War, though skirmishes continued for another couple of years. This last great battle involved over 25,000 French army and naval forces, 21,000 British forces as well as 9,000 American soldiers. British general Lord Charles Cornwallis established a naval base at the colonial tobacco port in the 7th year of the Revolutionary War.
Much of the town of 2,000 was destroyed in the ensuing siege by the French and American forces. The resulting surrender by Cornwallis changed history not only for America but the world as well, as America’s new democracy provided inspiration to people the world over who yearned for freedom from colonial powers or tyrants.
As the British troops marched out of town during the surrender, their bands reputedly played “The world turned upside down” and after the surrender, French and American officers hosted the British officers at a dinner.
Today, grass covered earthen military ramparts remain along with wooden wheeled artillery cannons and fascinating interpretive museums. The National Park Service has programs ranging from Park Ranger guided walking tours to artillery demonstrations.
A tour of the battlefield can include visits to the British Royal Welch Fusiliers Redoubt; the Yorktown National Cemetery – (Civil War), the French Memorial; the Yorktown Victory Monument- an 1881 sculpture commemorating the 1781 French and American Victory; and nearby, the restored historic Yorktown village itself that was occupied and heavily fortified by the British during the battle.
Signs are located at each point of interest along the tour.
Two Self-Guided Tours begin here including the 7-mile Battlefield Tour Road and the 9-Mile Encampment Road. The 7-Mile Tour will let you visit British and Allied earthworks and siege lines as well as Overlook Surrender Field where 8,300 British soldiers laid down their arms. The 9-Mile Tour located Washington’s and other encampments as well as connecting to the Newport News trail system with its jogging, biking and hiking trails.
Colonial National Historical Park
P.O. Box 210, Yorktown, VA 23690
Visitor Information: (757) 898-2410 | Fax: (757) 898-6346