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Yorktown in York County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Virginia Militia

1781 Siege of Yorktown

 

—Colonial National Historical Park —

 
Virginia Militia Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 12, 2008
1. Virginia Militia Marker
Inscription.
The approaching Season obliges me to recommend to you … to use your utmost Efforts for furnishing the Virginia Troops with Cloathing. You will therefore … adopt … Measures to send them down immediately – As their Troops are to take the Right of the whole Army you will judge how necessary it is that they be enabled to make a decent if not a respectable Figure ….
Governor Thomas Nelson, Jr. to Colonel William Davies, Commissioner of the War Office, September 27, 1781


Nearly 40 percent of the American forces at Yorktown were Virginia Militia troops. Brigadier General Thomas Nelson, Jr., who was also Virginia’s governor, commanded the militia while also coordinating the state’s efforts to supply food and military supplies to the American and French armies.

Militia units, the forerunner of the National Guard, were organized by their home counties, and served for short durations under state orders to meet immediate threats to their state. Over 3,500 men served with the Virginia Militia during the siege, providing labor to build fortifications, helping to man the siege lines, herding cattle to the encampments, and after the siege, escorting Cornwallis’s army to prison camps.

After the siege, the units were demobilized. Despite the importance of their service, some of these men did not qualify for
Marker on the Yorktown Battlefield image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 12, 2008
2. Marker on the Yorktown Battlefield
a pension based on their military service until 1832, over 50 years after the victory at Yorktown.
 
Erected by Colonial National Historical Park, National Park Service.
 
Location. 37° 12.485′ N, 76° 29.793′ 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. Marquis de Lafayette and His Division (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Major General Benjamin Lincoln and His Division (about 700 feet away); American Field Hospital (approx. 0.2 miles away); American Encampment (approx. 0.4 miles away); Surrender Road (approx. 0.4 miles away); Brotherhood Preserved (approx. 0.4 miles away); News of Victory (approx. half a mile away); Surrender Field (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Yorktown.
 
More about this marker. The top of the marker contains a picture of a soldier of the Virginia Militia, courtesy of National Park Service artist Don Troiani.
The upper right of the marker features a photograph of General Thomas Nelson, Jr. with the caption “Nelson, a life-long resident of Yorktown, made many contributions towards gaining independence. A signer of the Declaration of Independence, he sacrificed his health and personal fortune for the war effort. Two weeks after the victory at Yorktown, he resigned as governor and died from health complications in 1789. Courtesy of the Library of Virginia
 
Also see . . .
1. 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 EventsNotable PlacesWar, 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 1,097 times since then and 36 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 4, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.
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