the nation was split apart, with the first clash of Union and Confederate troops on April 12, 1861. The Civil War Sesquicentennial began in 2011, the 150th anniversary year of the fall of Fort Sumter, and continues to 2015, when the war ended with the surrender at Appomattox. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Williamsburg.
Located in the region where America’s first permanent English colony was established in 1607, the decisive victory of the American Revolution was achieved in 1781, and the Peninsula Campaign of the Civil War took place in 1862, Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center provide critical 17th- and 18th-century historical context for the next stages of American history.
The origins of the Civil War can be traced back to the 1619 arrival of the first documented Africans in Virginia. The evolution of slavery in 17th-century Virginia is explored in the Jamestown Settlement galleries. Public expressions of antislavery sentiment began to appear in the early 18th century, and talk of liberty during the American Revolution inspired many African Americans like Jehu Grant, profiled in the Yorktown Victory Center’s Witnesses to Revolution Gallery. Grant, who escaped from his master to join the Continental Army, later wrote in an application for a military pension, “When I saw the people all engaged for the support of freedom, I could not but like such a thing.” Slavery was finally prohibited throughout the United States with the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution in December 1865, eight months after the end of the Civil War.
|Jehu Grant, profiled in a Yorktown Victory Center exhibit, escaped from his master to join the Continental Army.
Numerous events marking the 150th anniversary of the Civil War are taking place in the Jamestown-Williamsburg-Yorktown “Historic Triangle,” scene of the Peninsula Campaign’s Battle of Williamsburg, and throughout Virginia, where more battles were fought than in any other state.
Civil War Resources
Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission
Civil War in Williamsburg, Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance
Yorktown National Cemetery
Newport News Tourism Development
Hampton Convention & Visitor Bureau