YORKTOWN Battlefield & Visitor Center

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November 9th, 2002

 Yorktown Battlefield & Visitor Center Yorktown, VA

We went to the battlefield close to Veteran's Day, it was a befitting day trip.  Cost was $5 per person which included: a 20 minute film, a walking tour with a guide, access to the car trip you do on your own, and access to the Information center.  The Information Center isn't much.  It's got a few items, including a couple neat things like Washington's field tent, a small diorama, a partial ship construction which you could go inside of, a children's exhibit where a plaster soldier "talks" while you look at small dioramas and a gift shop.  The car tour you can do without paying, though you won't have a map and might not be able to see inside the Moore House because a guide sits outside on the porch and will tell you about the house.  The Moore House, where the four leading Generals met to sign the surrender, is 90% reconstructed.  I asked about the furnishings and was told all were reproductions and the only piece inside with a connection to the house was a Windsor chair.  The cemetery outside the house I am told, had no connection to the home or the war.  However, the dates were fairly consistent with the time; I suspect a small connection is there somewhere. 

     While walking to the Redoubts, I was impressed with the primitiveness of it all.  You saw basically a triangle of Redoubts and cannon areas with a huge open field in between.  They'd lobby shots back and forth, trying to damage the redoubts enough to send soldiers in. A massive field, surrounded with high grasses for cover and tree-lined areas all around. 

      A graveyard along the route was not part of the Revolutionary war, but rather one of the last little Civil War squirmishes which claimed a lot of dead.  I was really affected here.  Half the graves are marked "unknown US solder-4 unknown US soldiers" .  There was no definition of Union vs. Confederate, though the sign said both sides were buried there.  Instead they were marked US soldier only.

      Roads were closed off and we could not get to the Washington Encampment.  It was said that he ran the battle from there, but at the end, he spent his time at Redoubt 9 or 10 with his soldiers and that was when the surrender was close at hand.  A tobacco port, beautiful views of the river can be seen from the battlefield and the Moore house.  When I talked to the man who guided us in the house, I said it was a beautiful view on gorgeous land and a quaint house with character.  He said they didn't care about that in those days.  All they would have seen was tobacco plants and ships coming and going.  They didn't care about views and were always too busy to care about their land other than that it made money being near the port. Interesting. 

    There were interesting plaques to read.  We know about the French, British and Americans.  But did you know Scotts and Germans fought too?  There was a mention of black slaves fighting... and there's a lot of information along the way for history buffs.

    To visit the Battlefield, wear comfortable shoes and take water with you.  You cannot drink or eat in the buildings.  There is a restroom in the visitors center and a water fountain and out back of the Moore house, but no others.  There are NO places to get food there.  Eat and drink before you go or after you leave.  There are not many trash receptacles.  Be respectful of the grounds.  Though you can do everything free if you wanted to cheat, pay the $5 because they do have a lot of mowing and upkeep there.  I saw a deer and a woodchuck (groundhog) in their natural habitats.  That was really cool and keeping it all clean will enable others to enjoy that as well.  Oh, one curious thing to mention... while walking the battlefields, I noted prickly pear cactus all over the fields!  They were miniatures and embedded laying flat to the ground like they'd be crushed.  I had no idea cactus was anywhere other than Arizona.  Interesting.

    re·doubt   Pronunciation Key  (r-dout) n.

1. A small, often temporary defensive fortification.

2. A reinforcing earthwork or breastwork within a permanent rampart.

3. A protected place of refuge or defense.

 

   

Left to right: Aw, Bambi!  Bambi again, Battlefield, View with Sailboat and Cannon

 

Left to right: Another Cannon, Cannon/Battlefield, Gloucester Bridge, Mortar Cannon, Civil War Era Grave of Unknown Soldiers

 

Left to right:  Another Civil War Grave, Interesting Plaque, Second part of Plaque, Underground storage area, and Washington's Redoubt

 

Left to right: Top of Washington's Redoubt looking down, Bottom of Washington's Redoubt looking up, Moore House plaque, Moore House and View from Moore House

 

Left to right: Scott and Cannons, Scott posing on cannon, Scott's goofy, Beautiful View and a Woodchuck!

 

"When Woodchucks Attack!, Bambi again and "Go Away Woodchuck!"

 

Links of Interest:

Read about Mr. WoodChuck

Read about the Battle of Yorktown

Articles of Capitulation

Read more about the Moore House


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