Colonial National Historical Park

Yorktown
VA

Portrait by Artist to Come

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The park includes Historic Jamestowne and ...

Yorktown

1. Cape Henry Memorial
Site of the Jamestown settlement which also overlooks Chesapeake Bay where the Battle of the Capes (between British and French) helped secure the victory at Yorktown in 1781.
2. Yorktown National Battlefield
Site of the battle (1781) that effectively brought the Revolutionary War to an end. Includes Visitor Center and park ranger tours.

The unattractive truth was that the arrival of the provisional treaty ending the war in April 1783 made the Continental Army superfluous, and the sooner it disappeared, the better. Congress eventually voted to provide full pay for five years for officers in lieu of half pay for life, but doing so was a purely rhetorical exercise, since there was no money in the federal coffers to pay anyone. Even that meaningless commitment generated widespread criticism, especially in New England, where returning officers were greeted with newspaper editorials describing them as blood-beaked vultures feeding at the public trough. At least in retrospect, the dissolution of the Continental Army in the spring of 1783 was one of the most poignant scenes in American history, as the men who had stayed the course and won the war were ushered off without pay, with paper pensions and only grudging recognition of their service.

Joseph J. Ellis
The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783—1789 (2015)