Yorktown Victory Celebration
October 17-18, 2015
Commemorative Weekend Events at Yorktown Victory Center, Yorktown Battlefield & Historic Yorktown
The 234th anniversary of America’s decisive Revolutionary War victory at Yorktown will be marked with a variety of engaging hands-on military interpretive programs and tours on Saturday and Sunday, October 17 and 18, at the Yorktown Victory Center and Yorktown Battlefield. A patriotic parade and commemorative ceremony will be held on Monday, October 19 – Yorktown Day – in historic Yorktown and at Yorktown Battlefield.
Yorktown Day marks the anniversary of the American-French victory in 1781 over the British. In 1781, following a nine-day bombardment, British forces in Yorktown under General Charles Cornwallis requested a cease-fire and then surrendered more than 8,000 soldiers and sailors to the combined American and French armies commanded by General George Washington. This was the last major military action of the American Revolution, effectively securing independence for the American colonies following a six-and-a-half-year military struggle.
Yorktown Victory Center Revolutionary War Programs – October 17-18
The Yorktown Victory Center, a state-operated museum of the American Revolution, will feature military re-enactors, musket and artillery demonstrations, and hands-on interpretive programs at re-creations of a Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm during its annual “Yorktown Victory Celebration.”
Visitors to the Continental Army encampment can experience Revolutionary War military life firsthand by enrolling in “A School for the Soldier,” offering opportunities to drill with wooden muskets and learn about soldiers’ provisions and sleeping quarters. Visitors can learn the steps leading up to firing an artillery piece during daily demonstrations followed by its firing. Programs on espionage and military discipline will be held daily.
At the re-created farm, “The Price of Liberty” will examine the sacrifices of Americans who declared independence from Great Britain – from signers of the Declaration of Independence to farmers, women and enslaved people. Farm visitors can observe methods of open-hearth cooking and see textile and spinning demonstrations. Visitors also can learn about the transition from farmer to soldier as they train as members of the citizen militia.
For a $10 fee in addition to general admission, visitors can register for “Enlist,” a one-hour program that allow participants to sign enlistment papers, march and drill with wooden muskets, identify uniforms of allies and enemies, build living quarters and defensive earthworks, learn about espionage, roll and keep a musket cartridge, see artillery firing and receive advance “pay” and orders from General George Washington.
Admission is $9.75 for adults and $5.50 for ages 6 through 12. Children under six are admitted free. Save 20 percent with a combination ticket to Jamestown Settlement, a museum of 17th-century Virginia.
The Yorktown Victory Center, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, located on Route 1020 (GPS address: 200 Water Street), five miles from Interstate 64, Exit 247. For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4838.
Anniversary Programs at Yorktown Battlefield – October 17-18
The National Park Service at Yorktown Battlefield, site of the climactic 1781 siege, will offer a variety of tours and talks on Saturday and Sunday, October 17 and 18, highlighting the 1781 siege of Yorktown.
Throughout the weekend, Park Rangers will offer walking tours of Yorktown Battlefield, and the Nelson House, home of Thomas Nelson, Jr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and the Moore House, where surrender negotiations took place, will be open for touring.
These programs begin at the Yorktown Battlefield Visitor Center, located at 1000 Colonial Parkway at the eastern end of the Colonial Parkway, 12 miles from Williamsburg. Admission on Saturday, October 17, is $7.00 per adult and under age 16 admitted free. On October 19, admission to Yorktown Battlefield will be free as part of the Yorktown Day celebration. Interagency Passes, including lifetime senior and access passes, are honored. For more information, call (757) 898-2410 or visit www.nps.gov/colo.
Yorktown Day – October 19
The modern day observance traces its roots to 1922, when the Daughters of the American Revolution began an annual wreath-laying ceremony, which set the tradition upon which the current Yorktown Day is based. Today, the Yorktown Day Association, comprised of 13 civic, patriotic and government organizations, coordinates the traditional commemorative events.
In addition to Sunday morning wreath-laying ceremonies, the Custom House will be open and the annual Yorktown Women’s Club Brunswick stew lunch will be held at Grace Episcopal Church. The Yorktown Day parade will follow Yorktown’s Main Street and pass in front of the Yorktown Victory Monument, erected in 1881 to commemorate the military victory a century before.
Patriotic exercises at the Yorktown Victory Monument will feature a colorful backdrop of flags including the American and French national colors, the flags of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, five United States territories, and the flags of the 13 Yorktown Day Association members. At the conclusion of the Patriotic Exercises, a wreath was placed on the Yorktown Victory Monument in memory of those who fought and died during the siege of Yorktown in 1781.
Visiting Historic Yorktown
Yorktown visitors can take the free Yorktown Trolley to attractions throughout Yorktown, including Yorktown Battlefield Visitor Center and the Yorktown Victory Center, between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. In addition to weekend commemorative events, Yorktown visitors can enjoy schooners Alliance and Serenity at the Riverwalk Landing piers. For more information on historic Yorktown, call (757) 890-3500 or visit www.visityorktown.org.