When the Siege at Yorktown concluded 232 years ago with Lord Cornwallis’ surrender, General Washington recognized the impact of the American success by commissioning a statue to commemorate the battle. But did anyone think that all those years later Americans would still be visiting the site?
Perhaps. Perhaps not. But here we are in 2013, and we still go there, year after year, and for good reason. As I mentioned in the Jamestown update, it’s one thing to hear about the battle, and another to see where it happened.
Today, my cousin and I visited Yorktown, and it is still clear as day some of the conditions the American and French troops had to endure as they closed in on the British. Lots and lots of earthwork done to create a battlefield that perhaps neither truly knew would be the final one up until then last couple days.
We also visited the Yorktown Victory Center which, interestingly, turned out to be more about the Revolutionary War as a whole than just Yorktown. Still, it was interesting to hear some first hand accounts not just from supporters of the war, but also opponents and neutral parties.
And it wasn’t a sugarcoated, idealized set of galleries, either, as there were plenty of plenty of stories from Loyalists who didn’t fare so well, slaves who joined the Union army, only to have their backs turned on them afterward, and more.
Both the battlefield and Victory Center (which is in the process of being expanded) should be top choices of places to visit if you’re ever in Williamsburg.