YORKTOWN, Va., September 25, 2019 — The 238th anniversary of America’s decisive Revolutionary War victory at Yorktown will be marked on Saturday and Sunday, October 19 and 20. Patriotic ceremonies and a parade on Yorktown Day – October 19 – kickoff a weekend of artillery demonstrations and hands-on interpretive programs at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, open house tours at Yorktown Battlefield and special events in Historic Yorktown.
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.
AMERICAN REVOLUTION MUSEUM AT YORKTOWN – OCTOBER 19 & 20
Revolutionary War Programs, Artillery Firings and Immersive Exhibits
The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown will present a variety of hands-on experiences and artillery firings as part of its annual “Yorktown Victory Celebration” event. Stories of citizens and soldiers of the American Revolution unfold at the expansive history museum through immersive films, exhibition galleries and outdoor re-creations of a Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm.
Visitors can interact with Revolutionary War re-enactors, take part in interpretive demonstrations, and experience the “Siege of Yorktown” experiential theater. Visitors also can take in the ongoing “Forgotten Soldier: African Americans in the Revolutionary War” special exhibition. Outdoors in the Continental Army encampment, discover aspects of military life, from enlistment, troop supplies and medical care to flintlock musket and artillery demonstrations. On the Revolution-era farm, lend a hand with period cooking and take part in processing plant fibers for cloth.
The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, is located on Route 1020 in Yorktown. Special events are included with museum admission: $15.00 for adults, $7.50 for ages 6-12, and free for children under 6. Residents of York County, James City County and the City of Williamsburg, including William & Mary students, receive complimentary admission with proof of residency. “Yorktown Victory Celebration” activities are presented in part by the York County Arts Commission. For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll free or (757) 253-4838, or visit jyfmuseums.org.
YORKTOWN BATTLEFIELD – OCTOBER 19 & 20
Anniversary Programs Feature Tours and Open Houses to Historic Sites
The Colonial National Historical Park at Yorktown Battlefield, site of the climactic 1781 siege, will offer open houses of historic Yorktown homes on Saturday and Sunday, October 19 and 20, in commemoration of the defeat of Lord Cornwallis to the combined forces of Generals Washington and Rochambeau.
The Nelson House, home of Thomas Nelson, Jr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence, will be open 1-4:30 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Sunday. The Moore House, where surrender negotiations took place, will be open 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday and 1-4:30 p.m. Sunday.
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. For more information, including times for programs and demonstrations, call (757) 898-2410 or visit nps.gov/colo.
YORKTOWN DAY – OCTOBER 19
Colonial National Historical Park Annual Commemorative Event
The modern-day observance of Yorktown Day 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, Yorktown Day commemorative events are co-sponsored by the Yorktown Day Association, comprised of 13 civic, patriotic and government organizations, and the National Park Service, Colonial National Historical Park.
In addition to morning wreath-laying ceremonies, the official Yorktown Day Parade begins at 10:30 a.m. The route will follow Yorktown’s Main Street and pass in front of the Monument to Alliance and Victory, erected in 1881 to commemorate the military victory a century before. Included in the 36 parade units are representatives of all branches of the U.S. military, fifes and drums corps – including The U.S. Army Old Guard Fifes & Drums Corps – JROTC and NJROTC units, and patriotic organizations.
Patriotic exercises will commence at the Monument to Alliance and Victory at 11:15 a.m. with the annual parade of flags that includes the 3rd Infantry Color Guard and flags of the 13 Yorktown Day Association members. At the conclusion of the patriotic exercises, a wreath will be placed on the monument in memory of those who fought and died during the siege of Yorktown in 1781.
The Old Guard Fifes & Drums Corps will perform at 12:45 p.m. at the Yorktown Battlefield Visitor Center, and Revolutionary War guided tours by Living History Associates will be offered at 1:45, 3 and 4 p.m. Additionally, the British Royal Artillery will be conducting programs that include live firings of a replica, British cannon, similar to some of the field cannon the British used at Yorktown and will be offered at 12:15, 1:15, 2:15 and 3:15 p.m.
On October 19, admission to Yorktown Battlefield will be free as part of the Yorktown Day observance. For more information, call (757) 898-2410 or visit nps.gov/colo.
VISITING HISTORIC YORKTOWN
Visitors can take the free Yorktown Trolley to attractions throughout Yorktown, including Yorktown Battlefield Visitor Center and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily through October 30. Due to numerous street closures for the Yorktown Day Parade and Commemorative Ceremonies on Saturday, October 19, the Trolley will run from the Battlefield Visitor Center to the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown from 10 a.m. to roughly 1 p.m., on a modified route. It will resume its regular stops once the parade has ended and traffic has cleared out of town, with service running until 5 p.m.
Throughout the weekend, Yorktown visitors can enjoy the schooner Alliance at the Riverwalk Landing piers, the “Yorktown Day Market” on October 19, 8 a.m.-3 p.m., and the Waterman’s Museum “Maritime Heritage Festival” on October 19 and 20, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The York County Historical Museum also will have a special exhibit on the U.S.S. Yorktown aircraft carrier on Friday, October 18, to Sunday, October 20, including special remarks from the commissioning commander Captain Anderson at 1 p.m. Friday, and display items from the vessel at 10 a.m.-3:15 p.m. Saturday and 1-3:15 p.m. Sunday.
On Main Street, visit Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters in the historic Cole Digges House, and enjoy local art at the Burcher Cottage. To learn more about Historic Yorktown events and programs, call (757) 898-3500 or visit visityorktown.org.