The Victory Monument -a powerful symbol then and now

The Victory Monument, Yorktown, VA

See the paragraph below, a quote taken from page 297 of my book: Rochambeau, Washington’s Ideal Lieutenant regarding the Victory Monument at Yorktown, VA memorializing the last significant battle of the American Revolution.

Lest we forget, this key battle was planned by the French under General Rochambeau and realized under the combined leadership of General George Washington, and the Continental Army along with General Rochambeau and the French Army.

“America was also busy creating her own permanent remembrance to honor Rochambeau’s victory at Yorktown. In 1781 the United States Congress provided for the construction of a monument recognizing the alliance and victory in Yorktown but failed to begin the project until one hundred years later.

The promise was kept, however, and the cornerstone was laid on October 18th, 1881, by “the order of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons as the appropriate opening for the Yorktown Centennial celebration,” and finally completed in 1884. It consists of a base, a podium, and a slender shaft of Hallowell Maine granite.

At the top of this tall, imposing monument stands the figure of Liberty herself, a symbol of freedom from tyranny and oppression.”

 

We have just celebrated Memorial Day last weekend. May I remind you of a breathtaking memorial to those who fought to save America and our freedom  239 years ago at Yorktown in 1781?

On October 17, 1781, Cornwallis asks for a ceasefire. On the18th the Articles of Capitulation are written at the Moore House in Yorktown. On the morning of the 19th, the Articles of Capitulation are sent from General George Washington to the defeated General Cornwallis for his approval.

Cornwallis has no choice but to approve them. By the afternoon of the 19th, it is the official laying down of arms ceremony at Yorktown.

P.S. Coincidentally, also on 19th the British fleet leaves New York (at long last!) to rescue Cornwallis (too late!). It is all in the timing!

 

 

Do you recognize this beautiful property and peaceful setting?

It is The Moore House with out buildings as seen today, very close to the battlefield at Yorktown, Virginia. It is important because it was here in October 1781 that the Articles of Capitulation were negotiated and drafted, finally bringing the British to their knees!

Rochambeau was instrumental in planning the winning battle of Yorktown.

The Moore House at Yorktown, Virginia

The Moore House at Yorktown, Virginia

Plans for the formal negotiations were made at the nearby Moore House overlooking the York River. According to the National Park Service, which now owns the house, the modest frame edifice had once been a part of York Plantation on a site first claimed by Governor John Harvey in the 1630s and later known as the five hundred – acre Temple Farm. Robert Smith was the owner until 1760  when he sold  the acreage to his brother-in-law, Augustine Moore.

The home is on the edge of the battlefield not far from the center of action. However, in 1781, when General Cornwallis settled into town with his army, many locals moved out of town in anticipation of the battle. It is believed that the Moores moved to Richmond for the time being to escape the coming siege.

Unlike that of the Nelson House, which was Cornwallis’s headquarters, the beautiful lines of the well-kept Moore house emerged in perfect condition from the battle at Yorktown, but it was marred during the Civil War. The National Park Service later bought and restored the building.
(Text from my book, Rochambeau, Washington’s Ideal Lieutenant; A French General’s Role in the American Revolution.)