The Revolutionary War in Virginia

French cannon at Yorktown
French cannon at Yorktown
Source: National Park Service, Sidney King Painting

Governor Dunmore led the official British forces in Virginia at the start of the American Revolution. Local residents had appointed guards to watch the brick "magazine" in Williamsburg where the colony's muskets and gunpowder were stored, but on the very windy night of April 20, 1775 they abandoned their posts. Dunmore took advantage of the opportunity. He had 20 sailors and marines from the schooner Magdalen land at Burwell's Ferry, near the modern Kingsmill Resort. They walked four miles to Williamsburg, opened the locked gates of the magazine using keys provided by Lord Dunmore, and started to remove the half-barrels of gunpowder weighing 65 pounds each.

Local residents quickly discovered what was happening, but the sailors and marines had time to load 15 of the 18 half-barrels into a wagon and return safely to the Magdalen.

The governor claimed he was ensuring a slave insurrection could not use the gunpowder, but the colonists recognized he was disarming them. Patrick Henry led militia on an unauthorized march to the capital city; violence was avoided by a face-saving compromise when the royal Receiver General paid for the value of the gunpowder.1

the Magazine in Williamsburg stored gunpowder, which Lord Dunmore removed in April 1775
the Magazine in Williamsburg stored gunpowder, which Lord Dunmore removed in April 1775

Lord Dunmore fled the Governor's Palace and reached safety on the H.M.S. Fowey on June 8, 1775. He sought to spark civil war among the colonists, with the hope that the Loyalists would fight the rebels and allow him to reoccupy the Governor's Palace.

He also sought to weaken the patriots by recruiting their enslaved men to flee to the British lines. Their absence from Virginia plantations would reduce the ability of the rebellious Americans to labor needed to construct fortifications, or to produce food and supplies needed by the Virginia militia. Governor Dunmore issued a proclamation in 1775 offering freedom to black men who would fight for the British, and formed the Ethiopian Regiment with 800-2,000 formerly enslaved Virginians.

Dunmore's strategy failed in part because the Loyalists were threatened seriously by rebels who lived nearby. Dunmore created a base of operations at Norfolk after he fled Williamsburg, but he destroyed the city on January 1 and sailed out to the Chesapeake Bay after he lost control of the Great Bridge crossing over the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River.

He abandoned his base at Gwynn's Island after it was attacked on July 9, 1776. Dunmore sailed to St. George's Island, in Maryland at the mouth of the Potomac River. Maryland militia slipped onto the island and destroyed the well, along with some of his water casks. HMS Fowey and the rest of the British fleet sailed out of the Chesapeake Bay in August, 1776.2

For almost the next three years, there were no British forces in Virginia. During that time, there were not enough Loyalists concentrated in one place to create their own army, seize control of a part of Virginia, and create a parallel government to Virginia's revolutionary conventions and ultimately the new state government.

British troops returned during a raid in May, 1779 by Commodore George Collier and Major General Edward Mathew. They destroyed the Gosport Shipyard at Portsmouth, but the raid was followed by another British abandonment after just two weeks.

the British captured the Gosport Shipyard at Portsmouth and burned it in 1779
the British captured the Gosport Shipyard at Portsmouth and burned it in 1779
Source: Library of Congress, Part of the Province of Virginia (1791)

Major General Alexander Leslie arrived with over 2,000 troops in October, 1780, but that attack was just a diversion to disrupt supplies and support Lord Cornwallis's campaign in the Carolinas. Leslie left after only a month in the Hampton Roads area.

General Benedict Arnold returned at the end of December, 1780, followed by General William Phillips and finally Lord Cornwallis. Arnold established a base at Portsmouth, but as British troops marched across the state they stayed in one place only briefly. Loyalists who committed to support the invading army were exposed to retaliation as soon as the troops moved on.

British forces under Benedict Arnold reached Richmond in January, 1781
British forces under Benedict Arnold reached Richmond in January, 1781
Source: Leventhal Map Collection, Boston Public Library, Skirmish at Richmond Jan. 5th. 1781

On February 22, 1781, General Arnold held a public assembly in Princess Anne County to get 400 local residents to swear a new oath of allegiance to the British government. They were willing to drink and eat what Arnold supplied for the event, and willing to mouth the words in the required oath, but they were just going through the motions.

Captain Johann Ewald, commanding Hessian forces, challenged one uncommitted Loyalist to raise troops locally in order to maintain control over the county. Ewald promised that the British would provide uniforms and weapons as needed. The Princess Anne resident replied to Ewald:3

I must first see if it is true that your people really intend to remain with us. You have already been in this area twice. General Leslie gave me the same assurances in the past autumn, and where is he now? In Carolina! Who knows where you will be this autumn? And should the French unite with the Americans, everything would certainly be lost to you here. What would we loyally disposed subjects have then? Nothing but misfortune from the Opposition Party, if you leave us again.

Ewald replied initially, frustrated that his Hessians were risking their lives to assist the Loyalists unwilling to risk anything:4

But you loyalists won't do anything! You only want to be protected, to live in peace in your houses. We are supposed to break our bones for you, in place of yours, to accomplish your purpose. We attempt everything, and sacrifice our own blood for your assumed cause.

Cornwallis entered Virginia after crossing South Carolina and North Carolina, before choosing Yorktown as the deepwater port where he would be resupplied by ships of the Royal Navy sailing from New York
Cornwallis entered Virginia after crossing South Carolina and North Carolina, before choosing Yorktown as the deepwater port where he would be resupplied by ships of the Royal Navy sailing from New York
Source: Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States, Campaigns of 1781 (Plate 160h, digitized by University of Richmond)

Later, Ewald recognized that Loyalists were wise to keep a low profile. He was surprised to discover that the response he heard was convincing, and provided a clear rationale for not overtly supporting the British cause. The Marquis de Lafayette articulated the same perspective in a letter to the Continental Congress, which was alarmed that Cornwallis was marching through North Carolina into Virginia without meeting formal resistance:5

You can be entirely calm with regard to the rapid marches of Lord Cornwallis. Let him march from St. Augustine to Boston. What he wins in his front, he loses in his rear. His army will bury itself without requiring us to fight with him.

Lord Cornwallis chased General Nathaniel Green to the Dan River, before marching back into North Carolina and then fighting at Guilford Courthouse
Lord Cornwallis chased General Nathaniel Green to the Dan River, before marching back into North Carolina and then fighting at Guilford Courthouse
Source: Library of Congress, The marches of Lord Cornwallis in the Southern Provinces (by William Faden, 1787)

General William Phillips brought 2,000 more soldiers to Portsmouth from New York in March, 1781 with directions by Sir Henry Clinton to take command from Benedict Arnold. Expanding the war effort in Virginia would reduce the number of troops who could be sent south into the Carolinas, and interdict supplies which could support George Washington's army around New York.

Phillips sailed out of Portsmouth on April 18, 1781. He seized Williamsburg, then destroyed the Virginia State Navy base on the Chickahominy River. He crossed the James River and captured Petersburg, then destroyed the barracks at Chesterfield Court House and captured ships and supplies at Osborne's Landing. General Phillips raided Richmond again, this time destroying the cannon foundry at Westham upstream of the city.

In April, Lieutenant General Charles Earl Cornwallis was in Wilmington, North Carolina, south of General Phillips. Cornwallis had marched north from Charleston, which the British had captured in 1780. He had arrived at Wilmington after a series of battles across the Carolinas in which the English won most engagements other than Kings Mountain on October 7, 1780 and Cowpens on January 17, 1781. However, the British army always lost soldiers and no reinforcements arrived from Charleston or New York.

The battles drained Cornwallis' army without destroying the capacity of the Americans to maneuver in the Carolinas. General Nathanael Greene skillfully escaped being trapped as he retreated north from Cowpens.

In early February 1781, Cornwallis thought he was in position to block Greene from crossing the Dan River. The British and their Hessian allies were at what is now Winston-Salem; Greene was at what is now Greensboro about 20 miles to the east. To reach fords of the upper Dan River that were shallow enough for an army to cross, Greene needed to march north - where Cornwallis could intercept him and force a major battle.

However, Greene had his men collect boats along the Dan River. His dragoons led by Col. Otho Williams, including cavalry commanded by "Lighthorse Henry" Lee, screened his movements and left the British unclear about the best opportunity to intercept him. The American army actually marched northeast, away from Corwallis. Greene successfully ferried his army across the river at Irvin's Ferry and Boyd's Ferry. The Americans won the three week, 250-mile "Race to the Dan," but by just 12 hours after heavy marching by both sides:6

Camps were not really camps, only stops for a few hours sleep before continuing to march. The van of Cornwallis's forces was often in sight of Williams' rear guard, occasionally exchanging fire. By midnight on February 14 the race had been won by Greene, but by only a few hours.

Nathaniel Greene's army moved northeast, away from Cornwallis, and won the Race to the Dan
Nathaniel Greene's army moved northeast, away from Cornwallis, and won the "Race to the Dan"
Source: National Park Service, An accurate map of North and South Carolina

He camped at what is now South Boston, keping all the boats on the north bank of the river so Cornwallis could not reach him. After resupply, he then headed south to challenge Cornwallis. The battle fought at Guilford Courthouse on March 14, 1781, was technically a British victory because the American army had retreat from the battlefield, but British losses were significant. Cornwallis chose to march to Wilmington to resupply.

In Wilmington, Cornwallis announced plans to return to Charleston and defend South Carolina and Georgia, but changed his mind. He preferred to wage offensive rather than defensive warfare, and was did not desire to return to the brutality of the Loyalists and American Rebels fighting a civil war in the Carolinas. There was no potential for glory or satisfaction in a war of attrition.

The potential for Cornwallis' small army to conquer Virginia and establish a Loyalist government there was thin, but at least he could stay on the offensive there. He might fight Continental Army units and Virginia militia in standard battles, capture territory at least briefly, and potentially interrupt enough supplies headed south that the British forces remaining at Camden, Ninety-Six and Augusta would be in a stronger position to hold their territory.

Cornwallis marched north from Wilmington, leaving on April 25, 1781. His superior, Sir Henry Clinton in New York, had directed Cornwallis to suppress the rebellion in South Carolina while General William Phillips would assist in Virginia by interrupting supplies from there. Clinton planned to withdraw troops from their disruption efforts in Virginia to reinforce his army in New York, where he expected the French to strike.

Cornwallis did not seek permission from Clinton to ignore his orders; he simply notified the Commander-in-Chief that he was moving into Virginia. Cornwallis did notify General William Philiips of his planned move, and shared his pessimism regarding the likelihood of either military or political success in Virginia:8

...whether after we have joined we shall have sufficient for a war of conquest I should think very doubtfull. By a war of conquest I mean to possess the country sufficiently to overturn the rebel government and to establish a militia and some kind of mixed authority of our own.

Phillips went to Petersburg in expectation of meeting Cornwallis there, but Phillips died from malaria or typhus before Cornwallis arrived. The general's body was buried secretly in the cemetery at Blandford Church; the exact location is still unknown.

Lord Cornwallis marched from Wilmington, North Carolina to Petersburg to combine forces with General William Phillips
Lord Cornwallis marched from Wilmington, North Carolina to Petersburg to combine forces with General William Phillips
Source: Library of Congress, The marches of Lord Cornwallis in the Southern Provinces (by William Faden, 1787)

Col. Banastre Tarleton seized the ships and supplies at Osborne's Landing on April 27, 1781
Col. Banastre Tarleton seized the ships and supplies at Osborne's Landing on April 27, 1781
Source: Huntington Library, Journal of the operations of the Queen's Rangers (Colonel John Simcoe, 1782)

After arriving in Petersburg, Cornwallis sidelined Benedict Arnold by sending him back to New York. Col. Banastre Tarleton, in his 1787 memoirs, diplomatically described Cornwallis' removal of a person he did not want in his army:7

Brigadier-general Arnold obtained leave to return to New York, where business of consequence demanded his attendance.

The British forces moved from Petersburg towards Richmond, seeking to defeat the Marquis de Lafayette before he could unite with reinforcements coming from Pennsylvania. The British had complete military dominance thanks to their superior numbers (over 7,000 men) and especially their cavalry. Lafayette had only a few men on horses, and struggled to even monitor the movements of Cornwallis' forces.

The rebellious Virginia leaders in the General Assembly fled Richmond on May 10, headed west to reconvene on May 24 in Charlottesville. A quorum of members was finally available on May 28, when the legislature reconvened in (probably) Scottsville at the former Albemarle County Courthouse. Jefferson's second one-year term expired at the start of June and he had declined to serve any longer, but the legislature did not elect his replacement on May 28.9

Cornwallis decided that he could not cross the North Anna River and catch Lafayette before General "Mad" Anthony Wayne would arrive with the Pennsylvania reinforcements. Cornwallis also decided that the supplies stored by the Virginians at two locations to his west were more significant that the material at Fredericksburg and Hunter's Iron Works at Falmouth.

Taking advantage of Lafayette being on the other side of the North Anna River, Cornwallis split his army. He sent Colonel John Simcoe and his Queens Rangers to seize an important supply base at the mouth of the Rivanna River, ordered Col. Banastre Tarleton to race west from Hanover Court House to Charlottesville, and marched with the rest to a planned reunion at Thomas Jefferson's Elk Hill plantation in Goochland County.

At Point of Fork (the site of the old Monacan town of Rassawek, near modern-day Columbia), Baron von Steuben moved all the supplies and boats away from Colonel John Simcoe to the south side of the James River. Von Steuben was fooled into thinking all of Cornwallis' army had arrived, and the American rebels fled. The British were able to cross the river unopposed and destroy the stockpile.10

under Colonel John Simcoe, the Queen's Rangers (American Tories) captured Baron von Steuben's supply base at Point of Fork (modern-day Columbia) on June 5, 1781
under Colonel John Simcoe, the Queen's Rangers (American Tories) captured Baron von Steuben's supply base at Point of Fork (modern-day Columbia) on June 5, 1781
Source: Huntington Library, Journal of the operations of the Queen's Rangers (Colonel John Simcoe, 1782)

Col. Banastre Tarleton led a raid to Charlottesville with his British Legion to destroy supplies there and also to capture the General Assembly. As British cavalry were riding up the hill at Monticello on June 4, Thomas Jefferson fled in the other direction. He retired to property he owned in Bedford County where he later constructed Poplar Forest.

Opponents, primarily supporters of Patrick Henry, quickly accused Jefferson of mismanaging the Virginia response to the invasions by Arnold, Phillips, and Cornwallis, and of personal cowardice for his flight. Jefferson responded that the state always lacked the resources to counter the British, particularly a navy to stop them from crossing rivers:11

I believe we are left with a single armed boat only.

The legislators who escaped Tarleton went further west to Staunton and reassembled in Trinity Church. While meeting in Staunton, the General Assembly elected Thomas Nelson Jr. as the next governor.12

After being rejoined by Simcoe and Tarleton, Cornwallis marched his army east from Elk Hill back to Williamsburg. There he receive a message from Gen. Henry Clinton in New York, who feared attack by the combined forces under General George Washington and the French under the Count de Rochambeau. Clinton demanded Cornwallis detach a force from his unchallenged marches through Virginia and send them to New York. To supply the troops and to ensure adequate fortifications to protect his remaining force, Cornwallis started to move to the British base at Portsmouth.

That required crossing the James River again. The British Navy brought up ships, and the army moved to Jamestown Island in order to be ferried across to Cobham.

That is where Lafayette finally sent Wayne's troops to attack Cornwallis. Lafayette thought he was dealing with only the rear guard because Tarleton had arranged for him to capture a false deserter with that "intelligence," but Cornwallis had disguised his movements and outnumbered the Americans. Wayne managed to retreat back to Green Spring Plantation, the former home of Governor Culpeper. The British victory was the largest infantry engagement to occur in Virginia during the American Revolutionary War.

After crossing to the south bank, Tarleton was sent west to Bedford County to interdict and destroy supplies intended for the General Greene's army in the Carolinas. The British Legion left Cobham on July 9, 1781, passing through Petersburg and Prince Edward Courthouse (now Worsham, near Hamden-Sydney college south of Farmville). During the raid, the cavalry rested in the middle of the day to avoid exhausting the horses.

British intelligence was faulty; the American supplies had been shipped to the Carolinas a month earlier. Tarleton chose a different route back to reach Portsmouth, since General Wayne had moved his units to Petersburg. Fortunately for the British, no Americans contested their crossing over the Blackwater River, where a defended position could have blocked the ford.

Over the course of 15 days, the cavalry rode over 400 miles. There were no significant engagements, and few supplies were destroyed. Fine Virginia horses were captured, but Tarleton later judged that the British had been more damaged by the long, hot ride than the Virginians:13

The stores destroyed, either of a public or private nature, were not in quantity or value equivalent to the damage sustained in the skirmishes on the route, and the loss of men and horses by the excessive heat of the climate.

One of the tall tales of the Revolutionary Way is of the superhuman strength of Peter Francisco. He was an impressively-large man, perhaps 6'6" tall. Supposedly he single-handedly pulled an 1,100 pound cannon off its carriage and brought it safely to a wagon during the battle of Camden. During Tarleton's Bedford raid, nine of Tarleton's cavalry made Francisco their prisoner. When one demanded he hand over the silver buckles on his shoes, Francisco reportedly grabbed the soldier's sword, wounded him, and forced the other eight to flee while leaving ther horses behind.

Perhaps the most accurate element of the story is the behavior of the tavern keeper. Francisco reported that he helped the British, giving one a gun to shoot Francisco. Not all Virginians were strong supporters of the patriot cause, especially when surrounded by British troops.14

Peter Francisco, an unusually strong and courageous man, became an American hero for his fighting against the British
Peter Francisco, an unusually strong and courageous man, became an American hero for his fighting against the British
Source: Library of Congress, Peter Francisco's gallant action with nine of Tarleton's cavalry in sight of a troop of four hundred men

After Tarleton left on the Bedford raid, Cornwallis took the rest of his army along the path of modern Route 10 to Suffolk and on to Portsmouth. He received new orders directing him to stay north of the James River and to secure Old Point Comfort as a base for the British Navy. After determining it was not the best place to establish a base and wait for resupply from New York, he moved the British Army by ship to Yorktown in August, 1781. The British destroyed the fortifications at Portsmouth to prevent them from being used by Lafayette.15

the British sailed from Portsmouth to Yorktown in August, 1781 in anticipation of getting resupplied there
the British sailed from Portsmouth to Yorktown in August, 1781 in anticipation of getting resupplied there
Source: Library of Congress, The marches of Lord Cornwallis in the Southern Provinces (by William Faden, 1787)

The ultimate fate of the British army at Yorktown was determined by a naval battle in the Atlantic Ocean. At the Battle of the Capes, a French fleet blocked the British ships coming from New York from entering the Chesapeake Bay. When Washington and Rochambeau arrived with American and French troops, Cornwallis was trapped in Yorktown without the expected reinforcements or supplies.

His surrender to a united force of French and American troops in October, 1781, was a catastrophe for the enslaved men and women who had chosen to abandon their Virginia homes and follow the British. During the four months of marching across the state, Cornwallis encouraged enslaved people to leave their masters and follow him. Cornwallis learned from his Carolina experience, and did not expect Virginia's Tories to re-establish control and govern after his army had moved on. He did not try to win the hearts and minds of white Virginians by returning slaves. Instead, he sought to impose economic pain on the rebels and force the colony into submission, and to the enslaved population "freedom wore a red coat" in 1781.

After Cornwallis surrendered, George Washington ordered that the free blacks within the British lines be separated from the enslaved blacks. Those who were judged to be escaped slaves were returned to their masters.16

Yorktown brought most, but not all, fighting to an end. On the western frontier, British officers worked with Native Americans to launch two major assaults in 1782.

On August 19, 50 British soldiers and 300 Native Americans clashed with 182 Kentucky militiamen at the Battle of Blue Licks in Kentucky. The Americans had been pursuing the British/Native American force which had attacked Bryan's Station and, after failing to capture it, headed north to cross the Ohio River.

Daniel Boone warned the Kentucky militia that they were following a too-obvious trail, and an ambush lay ahead. Other leaders chased on anyway, to avoid accusations of cowardice. Boone followed, commenting:17

We are all slaughtered men.

Boone was correct. About 1/3 of the Kentuckians - including Boone's son Israel - died that day.18

In the other assault by British rangers and Native American warriors, Fort Henry was surrounded in September, 1782. The defenders inside the fort at Wheeling were just the local residents, who raced inside just before the raiders appeared. A few other Virginians, including the family of Ebenezer Zane, fled to the nearby blockhouse where the gunpowder was stored.

The fort's defenders repelled two attacks on the first night, but ran low on gunpowder by morning. Elizabeth Zane ran from the fort to the blockhouse, filled her apron with gunpowder, and raced back to the fort under fire from the attackers. That enabled the defenders to continue their resistance. The attackers had brought only enough supplies for a few days, and soon abandoned the siege.19

The American retaliation came in November, 1782. George Rogers Clark led an army into Ohio and burned five Shawnee villages, in the Northwest Territory to which Virginia had only recently ceded its claims to the Continental Congress. The Shawnee retreated rather than fight, but the expedition is often described as the "last battle" of the American Revolution.20

The Treaty of Paris, which ended the war and acknowledged American independence, was signed in 1783.

in 1781, Lafayette (yellow line) could only shadow the British (red line) as they chose to raid Richmond and destroy supplies throughout Virginia
in 1781, Lafayette (yellow line) could only shadow the British (red line) as they chose to raid Richmond and destroy supplies throughout Virginia
Source: Library of Congress, Campagne en Virginie du Major General M'is de LaFayette : ou se trouvent les camps et marches, ainsy que ceux du Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis en 1781

Cornwallis concentrated forces at Petersburg in April 1781, crossed the James River to Westover Plantation and captured Richmond, then embarked at Bermuda Hundred to sail back to the British base at Portsmouth
Cornwallis concentrated forces at Petersburg in April 1781, crossed the James River to Westover Plantation and captured Richmond, then embarked at Bermuda Hundred to sail back to the British base at Portsmouth
Source: Library of Congress, Campagne en Virginie du Major General M'is de LaFayette : ou se trouvent les camps et marches, ainsy que ceux du Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis en 1781

after an American victory at Cowpens, General Daniel Morgan and General Nathaniel Greene managed a strategic retreat across the Carolinas and crossed the Dan River before General Cornwallis
after an American victory at Cowpens, General Daniel Morgan and General Nathaniel Greene managed a strategic retreat across the Carolinas and crossed the Dan River before General Cornwallis
Source: Internet Archive, A School History of the United States, from the Discovery of America to the Year 1878 (p.196)

highway historical markers highlight Revolutionary War events in eastern Virginia
highway historical markers highlight Revolutionary War events in eastern Virginia

route of Comte de Rochambeau's army through Northern Virginia, 1781 and 1782
route of Comte de Rochambeau's army through Northern Virginia, 1781 and 1782
Source: Library of Congress, Cote de York-town - Boston: Marches de l'armee

Lord Cornwallis fortified Yorktown, with the expectation that reinforcements would arrive from New York before his base could be captured through a siege by French and America armies
Lord Cornwallis fortified Yorktown, with the expectation that reinforcements would arrive from New York before his base could be captured through a siege by French and America armies
Source: Library of Congress, Plan of Yorktown and Glucester [sic], Virginia, October 1781

re-enactors at the Yorktown Victory Monument
re-enactors at the Yorktown Victory Monument
Source: Joint Base Langley-Eustis

most military activity in Virginia occurred in 1780-81, after Cornwallis moved north from North Carolina
most military activity in Virginia occurred in 1780-81, after Cornwallis moved north from North Carolina
Source: Library of Congress, The comprehensive series, historical-geographical maps of the United States (1919)

Albemarle Barracks

Battle of Great Bridge

Battle of Gwynn's Island

Battle of Yorktown

Benedict Arnold and William Phillips in Virginia, 1780-1781

The Chesapeake Bay: Avenue for Attack

Collier-Mathew Raid of 1779

Colonial Militia in Virginia

Loyalists in Virginia During and After the American Revolution

A Monument In Petersburg Honoring a British General Who Invaded Virginia in the Revolutionary War

Leslie's Raid in 1780

Race to Charlottesville: Jack Jouett and Banastre Tarleton

Virginia Military District

Virginia and Prisoners of War in the American Revolution

Virginians in The Continental Army

Were the Virginia Slaves Loyalists or Revolutionaries in the Revolutionary War

Why the Conservative, Rich Gentry Rebelled Against the "System" in the American Revolution

Why Was Virginia a Military Target in 1781?

Winning the Illinois Country in the American Revolution

Blandford Church in Petersburg - burial site of Major General William Phillips, who captured the city in 1781
Blandford Church in Petersburg - burial site of Major General William Phillips, who captured the city in 1781

in 1781, Col. Banastre Tarleton raided as far west as Bedford and Charlottesville and Lord Cornwallis marched up to the North Anna River
in 1781, Col. Banastre Tarleton raided as far west as Bedford and Charlottesville and Lord Cornwallis marched up to the North Anna River
Source: Library of Congress, The marches of Lord Cornwallis in the Southern Provinces (by William Faden, 1787)

Bedford was not safe from the British in 1781
Bedford was not safe from the British in 1781
Source: Library of Congress, The marches of Lord Cornwallis in the Southern Provinces (by William Faden, 1787)

the Treaty of Paris ended the Revolutionary War in 1783
the Treaty of Paris ended the Revolutionary War in 1783
Source: Iowa Historical Society, Treaty of Paris

Links

Cornwallis's surrender in 1781 was negotiated in the Moore House outside the town of Yorktown by subordinates - Cornwallis and Washington did not meet there in person to sign terms of capitulation
Cornwallis's surrender in 1781 was negotiated in the Moore House outside the town of Yorktown by subordinates - Cornwallis and Washington did not meet there in person to sign terms of capitulation
Source: Historical collections of Virginia, The Moore House, Yorktown (p.530)

the Moore House in Yorktown was damaged during the Civil War
the Moore House in Yorktown was damaged during the Civil War
Source: The Photographic History of the Civil War, The Scene of Yorktown's Only Surrender (p.268)

References

1. Mary Miley Theobald, "The Monstrous Absurdity," Colonial Williamsburg Journal, Summer 2006, https://www.history.org/foundation/journal/Summer06/plots.cfm; Norman Fuss, "Prelude To Rebellion: Dunmore's Raid On The Williamsburg Magazine," Journal of the American Revolution, April 2, 2015, https://allthingsliberty.com/2015/04/prelude-to-rebellion-dunmores-raid-on-the-williamsburg-magazine-april-21-1775/ (last checked June 4, 2019)
2. "Summary of Dunmore's Proclamation," Colonial Williamsburg, https://www.history.org/history/teaching/tchaadun.cfm; William B. Cronin, The Disappearing Islands of the Chesapeake, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005, p.129, p.145, https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Disappearing_Islands_of_the_Chesapea/tb54AAAAMAAJ; "Lord Dunmore," American Battlefield Trust, https://www.battlefields.org/learn/biographies/lord-dunmore; "Lord Dunmore’s Ethiopian Regiment," Black Past, June 29,2007, https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/lord-dunmore-s-ethiopian-regiment/ (last checked July 6, 2021)
3. Captain Johann Ewald, Diary of the American War: A Hessian's Journal, Joseph P. Tustin (editor), Yale University Press, 1979, pp.286-287, https://archive.org/details/EwaldsDIARYOFTHEAMERICANWAR (last checked December 18, 2018)
4. Captain Johann Ewald, Diary of the American War: A Hessian's Journal, Joseph P. Tustin (editor), Yale University Press, 1979, p.295, https://archive.org/details/EwaldsDIARYOFTHEAMERICANWAR (last checked December 18, 2018)
5. Captain Johann Ewald, Diary of the American War: A Hessian's Journal, Joseph P. Tustin (editor), Yale University Press, 1979, p.302, https://archive.org/details/EwaldsDIARYOFTHEAMERICANWAR (last checked December 18, 2018)
6. Bruce L. Petersen, "The Importance of a Small Skirmish During the Race to the Dan," Journal of the American Revolution, September 1, 2021, https://allthingsliberty.com/2021/09/the-importance-of-a-small-skirmish-during-the-race-to-the-dan/; "The Race to the Dan - January 18th to February 15th, 1781," Carolana, https://www.carolana.com/NC/Revolution/revolution_race_to_the_dan_river_1781.html; "The Crossing of the Dan," Halifax County Historical Society, https://www.halifaxcountyhistoricalsociety.org/about-the-crossing (September 5, 2021)
7. "Major General William Phillips," Petersburg, Virginia, http://www.petersburgva.gov/484/Major-General-William-Phillips; Ian Saberton, "The Decision That Lost Britain The War: An Enigma Now Resolved," Journal of the American Revolution, January 8, 2019, https://allthingsliberty.com/2019/01/the-decision-that-lost-britain-the-war-an-enigma-now-resolved/; John Ferling, "The Troubled Relationship Between Clinton and Cornwallis and Their 'War' After the War," Journal of the American Revolution, July 15, 2021, https://allthingsliberty.com/2021/07/the-troubled-relationship-between-clinton-and-cornwallis-and-their-war-after-the-war/ (last checked July 20, 2021)
8. "Major General William Phillips," Petersburg, Virginia, http://www.petersburgva.gov/484/Major-General-William-Phillips; Lieutenant-General Banastre Tarleton, A history of the campaigns of 1780 and 1781, in the southern provinces, Printed for Colles (Dublin), 1787, p.305, https://hdl.handle.net/2027/yale.39002002440338 (last checked May 6, 2020)
9. John R. Maass, "To Disturb the Assembly: Tarleton's Charlottesville Raid and the British Invasion of Virginia, 1781," Virginia Cavalcade, Autumn 2000, https://fusilier.wordpress.com/banastre-tarleton-article-2000/; "Chronology by Volume, Volume 5: 25 February to 20 May, 1781" The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, (last checked May 6, 2020)
10. "Fluvanna and the American Revolution," Fluvanna County Chamber of Commerce, https://fluvannachamber.org/page-596563 (last checked March 21, 2020)
11. "Jefferson fled Monticello to avoid being captured by the British. And he was mocked for it," Washington Post, June 2, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2017/06/02/jefferson-fled-monticello-to-avoid-being-captured-by-the-british-and-he-was-mocked-for-it/ (last checked March 21, 2020)
12. Michael A. McDonnell, "Thomas Jefferson as Governor of Virginia," Encyclopedia Virginia, Virginia Humanities, 21 November 21, 2016, https://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Jefferson_Thomas_as_Governor_of_Virginia 13. Lieutenant-General Banastre Tarleton, A history of the campaigns of 1780 and 1781, in the southern provinces, Printed for Colles (Dublin), 1787, pp.361-369, https://hdl.handle.net/2027/yale.39002002440338 (last checked May 11, 2020)
14. Michael Schellhammer, "Peter Francisco: Distinguishing Fact From Fiction," Journal of the American Revolution, July 23, 2013, https://allthingsliberty.com/2013/07/peter-francisco-fact-or-fiction/; "American Hercules," Richmond Magazine, July 12, 2012, https://richmondmagazine.com/news/american-hercules-07-12-2012/; "Military Service," Peter Francisco Society, https://peterfrancisco.org/about-peter/military-service/ (last checked May 11, 2020)
15. "Timeline of the Siege of Yorktown," The Yorktown Chronicles, https://www.historyisfun.org/sites/yorktown-chronicles/history/timeline-siege-yorktown.htm; "Lafayette and the Virginia Campaign 1781," National Park Service, https://www.nps.gov/york/learn/historyculture/lafayette-and-the-virginia-campaign-1781.htm; Lieutenant-General Banastre Tarleton, A history of the campaigns of 1780 and 1781, in the southern provinces, Printed for Colles (Dublin), 1787, pp. 370-371, https://hdl.handle.net/2027/yale.39002002440338 (last checked May 6, 2020)
16. Gregory J. W. Urwin, "'Abandoned to the Arts & Arms of the Enemy:' Placing the 1781 Virginia Campaign in Its Racial and Political Context," 2014 Harmon Memorial Lecture, US Air Force Academy, https://www.usafa.edu/app/uploads/Harmon57.pdf (last checked May 11, 2020)
17. John M. Trowbridge, "'We Are All Slaughtered Men:' The Battle of Blue Licks," Kentucky Ancestors, Volume 2, Number 2 (Winter 2006), p.59, https://kynghistory.ky.gov/Our-History/History-of-the-Guard/Documents/ancestorsbluelicks.pdf (last checked May 5, 2020)
18. John M. Trowbridge, "'We Are All Slaughtered Men:' The Battle of Blue Licks," Kentucky Ancestors, Volume 2, Number 2 (Winter 2006), p.60, https://kynghistory.ky.gov/Our-History/History-of-the-Guard/Documents/ancestorsbluelicks.pdf (last checked May 5, 2020)
19. Eric Sterner, "Betty Zane and the Siege of Fort Henry, September 1782," Journal of the American Revolution, January 14, 2020, https://allthingsliberty.com/2020/01/betty-zane-and-the-siege-of-fort-henry-september-1782/ (last checked May 5, 2020)
20. "The Events that Led to the Last Battle of the American Revolution," History Collection, https://historycollection.co/the-events-that-led-to-the-last-battle-of-the-american-revolution/ (last checked May 6, 2020)

Yorktown Victory Monument
Yorktown
Victory Monument
Yorktown Grace Church
Yorktown
Grace Church
Yorktown fascine (1781 sand bag)
Yorktown fascine
(1781 sand bag)
Yorktown Fox cannon
Yorktown
"Fox" cannon

National Park Service visitor center - Yorktown Battlefield
NPS visitor center
(Yorktown Battlefield)
Thomas Nelson house (Yorktown)
Thomas Nelson
house (Yorktown)
Nelson House 1781 cannonball (fake...)
Nelson House
1781 cannonball (fake...)
Yorktown mural (Read Street)
Yorktown mural
(Read Street)

(click on images for larger versions)


Military in Virginia
Virginia Places