Colonial

National Historical Park -

Yorktown

About the Park

Colonial National Historical Park consists of multiple sites in southeast Virginia. The principal components of the park are Jamestown, Yorktown Battlefield, and Colonial Parkway, which connects the two sites. This page discusses Yorktown; an overview of Jamestown is here.

Yorktown Battlefield is the site of the last major battle between the United States and Great Britain during the Revolutionary War.

 

Things to do:

  • The Visitor Center has a small museum and film.

  • The battlefield. There are two self-guided auto-tours available, the Battlefield Tour and the larger Allied Encampment Tour. Many of the more interesting things to see are on the Battlefield tour, which includes:​​

    • The Grand French Battery

    • Redoubts 9 and 10

    • The Moore House. Open seasonally.

    • Surrender Field

  • The Town of Yorktown. You can walk from the Yorktown Visitor Center into the center of town along Main Street. There you can see the Yorktown Victory Monument and tour the Nelson House (open seasonally), home of one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Other Things to See:

  • The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. The museum briefly covers the entire revolutionary war. Outside there's a living history component with a recreation of a soldier's encampment, rifle and artillery demonstrations, and a colonial farm.

Colonial NHP Yorktown NPS Site

American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

Discussion Topics

  • George Washington and Alexander Hamilton parted ways earlier in the war due to an incident that left both of them feeling slighted by the other. In spite of this, Washington still allowed Hamilton to take command of the attack on Redoubt 10. In an era where petty grievances frequently affected military decisions, this was unusually magnanimous. What do you think it says about Washington's character? Is there anyone in your past that you feel hurt by that you could reconcile with? 

  • Thomas Nelson assisted Washington during the siege of Yorktown. He also happened to own a nice home in Yorktown. He encouraged Washington's men to aim for his own home because he thought Cornwallis might be in it. There were many during the revolutionary war who wanted America's freedom, but put their own interests first. What does it say about Nelson's character that he was willing to sacrifice his own home for the cause? 
     

  • The victory at Yorktown was a cause for great celebration, but it was also a moment of great sorrow for George and Martha Washington. During the siege of Yorktown, Washington was joined by Martha's only living child, John "Jackie" Custis. Sadly, Jackie died of a disease that had spread in the camp. Have you ever had an experience that left you both happy and sad at the same time? How do you hold onto one feeling without dismissing the other?

Maps

Map of Siege of Yorktown