Gloucester Point in Gloucester County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
The British Safety Valve
An Attempted Escape from Gloucester Point
On the night of October 16, 1871, after almost three weeks of the American-French siege, the British defenses at Yorktown were crumbling. In a last ditch effort to save his army, General Cornwallis decided on a desperate plan. He would have most of his army row across the river and escape northward through the 2,900 American and French soldiers besieging the Point.
After midnight, the British started ferrying troops in sixteen boats across the York River. Using the cover of darkness, they rowed the first 1,000 soldiers safely over to Gloucester Point. Then a sudden storm, with high winds and violent squalls, scattered the boats. Cornwallis called off his risky escape. The next morning, October 17, his men rowed back in full view of Washington’s forces.
With the hope of escape gone, Cornwallis requested a cease fire to discuss surrender terms. Two days later, on October 19, his troops formally surrendered. The victory at Yorktown secured independence for the United States of America.
Most of the British troops
Erected by Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Revolutionary.
Location. 37° 15.009′ N, 76° 30.109′ W. Marker is in Gloucester Point, Virginia, in Gloucester County. Marker can be reached from Vernon Street near Riverview Street. The marker is on the Tyndall’s Point Park Walkway. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1376 Vernon Street, Gloucester Point VA 23062, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Attacking with “Decisive Vigor” (a few steps from this marker); A Vital British Outpost at Gloucester Point (within shouting distance of this marker); Gloucester Point (within shouting distance of this marker); Where North Meets South (within shouting distance of this marker); Welcome to Gloucester Point (within shouting distance of this marker); Natives, Explorers, Tobacco and Buccaneers (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Gloucester Point (within shouting distance of this marker); On to Richmond! (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Gloucester Point.
More about this marker. On the upper left is a painting by John Trumbull entitled "The Surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, 19 October 1781" Courtesy of the Yale University Art Gallery Trumball Collection. The caption reads, "The striking British surrender at Yorktown was accompanied by another important but almost forgotten surrender at Gloucester Point."
On the lower right is an illustration with the caption, "The troops at Gloucester Point were witness to the almost constant bombardment of Yorktown as the Americans and French tried to overwhelm their outnumbered British enemies." Courtesy of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on May 7, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 846 times since then and 28 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 7, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.