Visitor Information

Participant Information

Before the Siege: The British Army in Yorktown is an invitational event happening on the weekend of 28 - 29 September at Colonial National Historic Park.

Do you see that map segment up there at the top of the page? The street with all the houses next to the letters “Y O R” and “T O”?

That's where we are going to be!

That is Main Street in Yorktown. It will be our pleasure and privilege to interpret the British forces under Lt.- General Cornwallis as it digs in and fortifies Yorktown in the weeks before the Continentals arrive and the siege begins - on the exact same historic ground where it really happened 238 years ago to the day.

Right next to the “T” is the Nelson House, one of the signature historic buildings that has survived since the time of the Siege:

Yes, it's a survivor!

Before the Siege will place heavy emphasis on both the military and civilian aspects of life with the British Army during the latter days of the American War for Independence. The forces under Cornwallis are confident but wary - a few weeks ago a French fleet of 26 ships showed up in the Chesapeake! We are keying the program around the actual daily events of September as recorded in the 43rd and 80th Regiment Orderly Books, as well as diaries and journals of officers and people who were present at Yorktown.

Main Street will be the centerpiece of our activity as we present to the public a sample of what life was like in Yorktown in early September of 1781. Soldiers will camp, do picket duty, drill, and patrols, the Royal Artillery will prepare and do maintenance on the guns, the Royal Navy will continue to establish the waterfront defenses and maintain communications with Gloucester, artificers will repair arms and equipment, and the remaining Yorktown inhabitants and Loyalist refugees will do what they can to support the military effort.

Before the Siege will be an excellent venue for units, small groups, and individuals who are strong on interpretation and have a solid grounding in the material and social culture of the American War for Independence.

Participation in this event is by invitation only. For information on how you or your unit may receive an invitation to participate in this event, please write to

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