Thursday, July 7, 2011

Visiting Virginia Beach? Yorktown is worth a Day Trip.


If you are visiting Virginia Beach or the surrounding Hampton Roads, Virginia area you might want to take a short trip over to Yorktown and visit the Yorktown Battlefield, the site where the American Revolution was decidedly won.

Yorktown Battlefield known as the Colonial National Historic Park is within a short drive from many Hampton Roads areas including Virginia Beach Norfolk, Newport News, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk. It’s no surprise that Yorktown turned out to be the location of the seminal battle for America, since Hampton Roads is home to the original settling posts of England’s early settlers, including Jamestown. The origin of the name "Hampton Roads" is some 400 years old and is a descriptive term referring to the deep natural waterways (roads) of the James River, Elizabeth River, and Nansemond Rivers that lead direct to Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic and then across to England. In 1620, fourteen years after Jamestown was settled, settlers already established the first shipyard in America at Sewell's Point in Norfolk. Yorktown was a major city by the 1700’s and was the locus of a thriving shipbuilding industry, the British Navy and commercial trade.

During the Revolutionary War (and even up to the time of the Civil War) the area and its ports were important strategic locations from which naval power could be projected along the inhabited Eastern Seaboard. Even today, Hampton Roads retains its significance as one the United States' most important military and industrial defense areas.

So, returning to the Battle of Yorktown, it is no surprise that it was a prime candidate for a Revolutionary Battle to be fought - the other being New York.

Visiting Yorktown Battle Field
Yorktown consists of a quaint city that retains its historical character and the Yorktown Battle Field which is located on its outskirts. The Yorktown Battle Field Area is a large open field with various berms which remain visible along with redoubts. There is also the Moore House, the site of surrender negotiations between General Washington and General Lafayette and the British General, Lord Cornwallis and Surrender Field, each worth visiting. What makes Yorktown really worth the visit are the tours put on by the Park Rangers. They will bring the battle to life and are walking history books. Animated and full of passion, they provide great insight into the battle of Yorktown and explaining the situation leading up to the battle, the armaments in use, the strategy and tactics used by the American and French allies, and those of the British. You will learn that contrary to Hollywood depictions, the battle was an artillery duel and battle of attrition. Infantry fighting was limited to storming two British held redoubts that proved pivotal in capturing key ground that enabled the allied artillery to pound the British defenses into submission. Perhaps ordained from above, you will learn about a series of most unfortunate events and sheer bad luck that conspired against the British at every turn.

A most pleasant and beautiful place; it is worth a visit for every American wishing to reconnect with America’s founding. You will embrace and appreciate the heroism and sacrifice of our early leaders and patriot statesmen. Men of action, they risked all for an idea and bestowed upon us a most generous blessing of liberty.

For more information on the Yorktown Battlefield, visit the National Park Service site at: http://www.nps.gov/yonb/index.htm.

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