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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Yorktown in York County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Yorktown's Sunken Fleet

 
 
Yorktown's Sunken Fleet Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 20, 2013
1. Yorktown's Sunken Fleet Marker
Inscription. When British General Cornwallis established a fortified base at Yorktown in August 1781, his forces included a squadron of four warships and about 50 merchant and transport vessels. When the British surrendered on October 19, much of the fleet lay on the bottom of the York River. Some ships were sunk by enemy artillery fire, but about 12 of the merchant ships were intentionally sunk by the British to form a barrier against a possible assault from the river. The French salvaged some of these vessels, but the others remained underwater.

In the 1930s, many objects, including bottles, ceramics, and cannon were recovered from some of these sunken ships using a barge, clamshell buckets, and a hard-hat diver. From 1975 to 1981, Virginia Department of Historic Resources archaeologists surveyed the river bottom using remote sensing technology. Nine vessels were located by 1981 and the best preserved site was selected for intensive excavations. This later proved to be the brig Betsy.
 
Erected 2010 by York County.
 
Location. 37° 14.092′ N, 76° 30.284′ W. Marker is in Yorktown, Virginia, in York County. Marker can be reached from Water Street west of Comte de Grasse Street, on the right when traveling
Yorktown's Riverwalk image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 20, 2013
2. Yorktown's Riverwalk
west. Touch for map. Located along Yorktown's Riverwalk. 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. The Brig Betsy (here, next to this marker); Yorke Village (within shouting distance of this marker); York “Under The Hill” (within shouting distance of this marker); York Under Siege 1781 (within shouting distance of this marker); An Archer House (within shouting distance of this marker); Pirates in Yorktown? (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Chesapeake Bay Impact Crater (about 300 feet away); Yorktown’s Waterfront (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Yorktown.
 
More about this marker. Map depicting the locations of some of the scuttled ships. Courtesy of Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.
 
Categories. War, US RevolutionaryWaterways & Vessels
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 21, 2013, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 306 times since then and 33 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 21, 2013, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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