Yorktown in York County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Marquis de Lafayette and His Division
1781 Siege of Yorktown
—Colonial National Historical Park —
“Here we are at last … before Yorktown, and our operations will soon be noisy.”
Marquis de Lafayette, Camp before Yorktown, September 30, 1781
In April 1781, with a developing British military campaign in Virginia, Washington sent the Marquis de Lafayette, with a detachment of troops, to protect the state. At age 23, Lafayette was the youngest of the major generals in the Continental Army.
Always outnumbered by the British, Lafayette occasionally sparred with the enemy, while keeping Washington, who was in New York, informed of the war in Virginia. When Cornwallis moved his army to Yorktown, Lafayette provided Washington with accurate military intelligence that helped Washington plan for the siege as he moved his forces southward to join Lafayette.
On September 14, 1781, Washington reached Williamsburg, where Lafayette and his small army waited. With the arrival of the rest of the American and French forces, Washington consolidated Lafayette’s regiments into his army and placed Lafayette in command of a division of the Continental Army.
During the siege, Lafayette’s soldiers spent most of their time assisting with earthwork construction and manning the trenches. He was particularly proud of his light infantry troops, when on the night of October 14, they successfully stormed
With the British surrender, Lafayette wrote his wife, “I would be finicky indeed if I were not pleased with the end of my campaign in Virginia.”
Erected by Colonial National Historical Park, National Park Service.
Location. 37° 12.524′ N, 76° 29.914′ W. Marker is in Yorktown, Virginia, in York County. Marker is on Historical Tour Road, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is located on the Yorktown Battlefield in Colonial National Historical Park, on the Battlefield Tour. Marker is in this post office area: Yorktown VA 23690, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. American Field Hospital (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Virginia Militia (about 600 feet away); Major General Benjamin Lincoln and His Division (approx. ¼ mile away); Surrender Road (approx. ¼ mile away); Brotherhood Preserved (approx. 0.3 miles away); News of Victory (approx. 0.3 miles away); In Solemn Step (approx. 0.4 miles away); Surrender Field (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Yorktown.
More about this marker. The left of the marker contains a portrait of the Marquis de Lafayette with the caption “Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Motier, Marquis De Lafayette by Charles Willson Peale, after Charles Willson Peale, 1779-1780. Courtesy of Independence National Historical Park.”
The right side of the marker features a picture of a soldier from Lafayette’s Canadian Regiment. The caption reads “The Canadian Regiment, comprised primarily of men from Canada and Pennsylvania, was commanded by Colonel Moses Hazen. This unit provided approximately 200 of the 1,500 soldiers that comprised Lafayette’s Division at the siege. Courtesy of the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection, Brown University.”
Also see . . .
1. Marquis de Lafayette, Yorktown Battlefield. National Park Service. (Submitted on September 4, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
2. The Battle of Yorktown. The Patriot Resource website. (Submitted on September 4, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
3. The Battle of Yorktown 1781. A British perspective of the Battle of Yorktown from BritishBattles.com. (Submitted on September 4, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • Notable Events • Notable Places • War, US Revolutionary •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 4, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 795 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on September 4, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.