The 2018 Road, Day 26: A Yorktown Meander, Part 2-The Grounds of Surrender

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June 20, 2018, Yorktown-  

Having seen the coastline along which the final major battle of the American War for Independence played out, I turned to the equally critical interior locales of the struggle.

Yorktown Battlefield is the end point of Colonial National Historic Park, just as Jamestown represents the beginning.

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There are several displays of interest inside the Visitor Center, including one of George Washington’s tents.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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From there, the auto route of the park leads to Yorktown National Cemetery and the Grand French Battery.  Whilst  I was here, a few boys were engaged in Hide and Seek, along the redoubts.

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The scene of the cemetery itself was more subdued.

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A bit north of the park, on the way to modern Yorktown, is Yorktown Victory Monument.

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Doubling back towards town, just a bit, I caught this glimpse of Main Street.

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I am always glad to see the intense forest growth in the Tidewater area.  Some groves are impressive, in their height.

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Redoubts 9 and 10 were scenes of brief battles, with the French capturing the first and the Americans, the second.  The British ceasefire occurred three days later.

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These American artillery pieces were placed between the two redoubts, making the task of capture much easier.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

These sharpened stones bore no significance, but they captured my attention.

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Next on the route was Augustine Moore House, where the British surrender was negotiated, on October 18, 1781.

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The York River flows just east of Moore House.

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Here is the Surrender Field, where Cornwallis’ army laid down their arms.

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This is the Untouched Redoubt, abandoned by the British on September 29, 1781.  The Allied forces arrived the next day, and left the position as it was.

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With this loop tour, one gets a well-rounded view of the final major clash of our nation’s first struggle towards respect in the family of nations.  There would be much to be done, internally and externally, before we would reach a dominant position as an economic and military power.  I wonder what it will take, to reach similar prominence, spiritually.

 

 

 

 

The 2018 Road, Day 26: A Yorktown Meander, Part 1- Shore and Town

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June 20, 2018Yorktown, VA-

I had this flight of fancy, at one point this week, about “doing” the Hampton Roads area, in three days.  That is not how I’m wired, though, and it came as no surprise that Jamestown took the better part of a day and Yorktown, pretty much all of the following day.  After a lovely breakfast at Capitol Pancake House, I took my leave of Williamsburg, and headed to the place where the British Army found itself outmaneuvered by a Colonial force that was trained by the Prussian General von Steuben and bolstered by the French, under Marquis de Lafayette. Yorktown has a wealth of both coastal and woodland sites that figured in the deciding battle of the American War for Independence.

I spent about an hour taking in the coastal section of Yorktown, with plenty of company at the beach and in the shops.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Coleman Bridge spans the York River, going to Gloucester Point, which was one of General Cornwallis’ “fall back” camps.

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Yorktown has two small gardens, near the riverside.

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This garden honours the sacrifices made by African-Americans in colonial Yorktown.

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General Cornwallis had his troops hide in this cave, as the joint American and French forces advanced on Yorktown, by land and by sea.

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This statue depicts the surrender of General Cornwallis to General Washington.

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I headed a bit west, to the Poor Potter, site of the factory operated by William Rogers, an expert artisan, who operated colonial Virginia’s largest pottery operation, between 1720 and his death, in 1739.

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Here is a view of the actual factory. One may see shards of pottery, through the windows to the right.

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Yorktown is very much a modern city, and York County Courthouse had plenty of visitors this morning.

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I headed over to the Battlefield and its mementos of the American, British and French contributions to Yorktown’s prominence.  In Part 2, the focus will be on the auto tour of these far flung sites.

 

 

 

Sixty-Six, for Sixty-Six, Part LVIII: Return to Down East, Part 3- The Heritage of Agamenticus

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July 16, 2017, York, ME-

My penchant for delving into the past, of any given community in which I find myself, is fairly standard by now.  As a native New Englander, I will always look at the reasons for people’s settlements.  Maine began as a county of the colony, and later, of the Commonwealth, of Massachusetts.  Most initial settlement in the region was, naturally, along the coast.  The Penacook Abenaki people, who predated Europeans here, called their settlement Agamenticus.  There is no specific definition given, for that name- but it refers to what is now known as the York River.

In 1624, Sir Fernando Gorges, representing the British Crown, established a settlement here and made it the administrative center for the District of Maine.  He called it Gorgeana.  Upon his death, the Massachusetts Bay Colony laid claim to Maine, and the town was renamed York.

I set out, this afternoon, to visit the three museums, over a 2 1/2 hour period.  Upon the advice of the chief curator of Old York, I first went to Old Gaol (jail), as it would close first.

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It was, as one might expect, a rather unwelcoming place.  The jailer lived in the facility, and was also a weaver.  His loom and his sleeping quarters were in one room, on the first floor.

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The miscreants, of course, did not have such comfortable digs.

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“Have a seat”  also meant something different, back then, when addressed to, say, the town drunk.

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The punishments of the day were a fair bit more severe than what we might exact for a similar offense, today.  Note that there were two ways of writing the letter ‘s’.a

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The walkway between cells was not intended for easy passage.

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I would then, as now, preferred to observe the laws of the land.

Having been convinced of the earnestness of justice in Old York, I headed to Emerson- Wilcox House, which is an example of a residence which was leased from the First Parish Congregationalist Church of York, by one town merchant, Edward Emerson, a granduncle of Ralph Waldo Emerson, in 1766, for 999 years.  After Mr. Emerson died, his son inherited the house, but was unable to maintain himself financially, and died penniless.  The surviving women remained in the house, which was purchased by the town magistrate and constable, David Wilcox, hence Emerson-Wilcox House.  Mr. Wilcox expanded the home, out of necessity, so there are two period styles of architecture in the home:  Georgian and Federal.  Photography is not permitted inside the home, but here are some views of the exterior.

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After a friendly and informative guided tour of the house, I passed by the Old Burial Ground,SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

and browsed the Remick Collection of York memorabilia, which include original bed hangings from one of the first homes in York.  Again, there was no photography permtted inside the collection, but here is a look at the outside.

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The adjoining Jeffords Tavern, however, is photo-friendly, and gives a view of the casual side of colonial life.  Maine was nowhere near as Puritanical as Massachusetts Bay Colony, being more concerned with maritime commerce, from its inception.  There were several churches, which were mostly concerned with keeping the Sabbath and ownership of land.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Jeffords Tavern.

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You can see that not all the furniture is from the Georgian Period.  The modern fare is for the convenience of researchers and other visitors.

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Lastly, here is the Old York Schoolhouse, now-but not then- placed adjacent to Jeffords Tavern.

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York has a plethora of places of interest, many of which are natural preserves.  In the next post, the last in this series, Hartley-Mason Preserve, and York Harbor, are the focus.