August 10, 2004
George Washington prepares siege on Yorktown
The events of September 1781 come to life in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area this Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 3-6 in “Prelude to Victory: Washington Prepares for Yorktown.” Special presentations and re-enactments will focus on Sept. 26-28, 1781, when Gen. George Washington and Le Compte de Rochambeau, commander of French forces, were headquartered in Williamsburg prior to the siege at Yorktown.
Entrance into Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area by advance units of Washington’s army Friday, Sept. 3 signals the beginning of the annual holiday re-enactment. While the advance group prepares for the arrival of the remainder of Washington’s troops, several programs through the weekend tell the little-known story of the African-American patriots who, through interaction with their enslaved brothers in Williamsburg, share their aspirations for themselves and their country.
The weekend is filled with evidence of military prowess by the Continental Army troops to include artillery practice, musket drills and dragoons (calvary) who demonstrate horsemanship and field maneuvers. Washington’s staff formulates strategies, tactics and contingencies for the Yorktown siege. At a military field hospital at the Governor’s Palace, an army surgeon tends to the sick and wounded.
Following a full day of reenactment events Sunday, Sept. 5, Washington addresses his troops and issues final marching orders as the army prepares to leave for Yorktown late Sunday afternoon.
Lorraine C. Brooks