In Podcast #10 the Virginia Trekkers explore the Yorktown and the York River.  Find out where the York river ranks in comparison to other Virginia rivers, learn how Yorktown played an important role in the history of the United States, and explore some of the characteristics of the coastal plain region of Virginia.  Come on... let’s go trekkin’!

During George Washington’s siege on Yorktown in 1781 he fired over 1,700 shells and bombs per day which averages out to be about one explosion every minute!  Many of the buildings in Yorktown were damaged, and some still have cannonballs stuck in the walls (see picture).  British ships in the York River were also damaged by cannonballs and hot shot.  Hot shot was a special kind of cannonball that was heated until it was red hot.  When it struck the ships it would catch them on fire.  One eyewitness described the siege on Yorktown this way: “The ships were enwrapped in a torrent of fire, which spreading with vivid brightness among the combustible rigging, and running with amazing rapidity to the tops of the several masts, while all around was thunder and lightning from our numerous cannon and mortars, and in the darkness of night, presented one of the most sublime and magnificent spectacles which can be imagined.” (Dr. James Thacher, Surgeon, Continental Army, NPS French Trench marker)

Here you can see a cannonball still stuck in the Nelson House in Yorktown. Photo credits

SOL Correlation:

VS.2  The student will demonstrate knowledge of the geography and early inhabitants of Virginia by

  1. c)locating and identifying water features important to the early history of Virginia (Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay, James River, York River, Potomac River, and Rappanhannock River);

VS.5 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the role of Virginia in the American Revolution by

c) identifying the importance of the American victory at Yorktown.

More links here!

Coastal Plain

Problems viewing the video?  Watch it on Vimeo or download it (QuickTime 101 MB) 5:06