October 5, 2007
CW presents "Prelude to Victory," Hundreds of Revolutionary War re-enactors encamp in the Historic Area Oct. 12-14
As the last of Gen. Cornwallis’ British occupation force moves from Williamsburg to Yorktown, several hundred Revolutionary War military re-enactors --representing the Allied Armies of 1781 -- reclaim Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area for a special weekend – “Prelude to Victory” – Oct. 12-14.
The three-day re-enactment weekend chronicles preparations in late September 1781 by the Continental Army, under the command of Gen. George Washington, for the siege of Yorktown, the final battle of the American Revolution.
The special weekend begins Friday morning, Oct. 12 with British checkpoints as evidence of occupation while Loyalists continue to harass the patriot rebels. At noon, a British dragoon rides through town sounding the alarm of the advance of the Continental Army. By late afternoon, advance units of the Continental Army march into the city and prepare the encampment.
Activity in the camp on Market Square begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Generals Washington and Lafayette arrive at the Courthouse of 1770 at 9:30 a.m. to address the assembled Continental troops, concluding with a 21-gun salute.
Guests are encouraged to visit a military field hospital at the Governor’s Palace, witness the court-martial of a soldier accused of attacking and mortally wounding his commanding officer at the Courthouse and explore the quartermaster’s woes at the Magazine guardhouse as the supply sergeant faces the realities of few supplies and even less money.
Saturday afternoon is filled with gunfire and military music as artillery crews practice, the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums march on Duke of Gloucester Street, soldiers demonstrate the Manual of Arms and combat musketry, and skilled riflemen demonstrate the use of their hunting tools and tactics on the battlefield. Saturday programming ends as the infantry battalion demonstrates its military proficiency for Gen. Washington on Market Square.
Activity in the camps begins Sunday at 8:30 a.m. with a drumhead church service in the camp at 9:30 a.m. Washington and his staff of officers finalize their battle plans at the Courthouse from 10 – 11 a.m.
Again, gunfire and military music punctuate the afternoon. In addition to artillery and military music demonstrations, re-enactors demonstrate the use of the rifle on the battlefield. The travails of British sympathizers are evident as citizens of Williamsburg harass a Loyalist doctor and his family at the Mary Stith Shop as they try to slip out of the city. At the George Wythe House, two British officer prisoners of war bemoan their treatment and possible fates at the hands of their captors. The special weekend programming ends as Washington addresses his troops before leading them as they march to Yorktown at 5:30 p.m.
Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture — stories of our journey to become Americans – while historic tradespeople research, demonstrate and preserve the 18th-century world of work and industry. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution for its guests, it also invites them to interact with history. Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at www.history.org.