Two miles south is the site of the colonial Chickahominy Church, now destroyed. Lafayette’s forces camped there, July 6-8, 1781. The church was used as a hospital after the battle of Green Spring, July 6, 1781.
James City County saw several Revolutionary War battles during the year of 1781. The Battle of Green Spring took place near Green Spring Plantation. In June, General Cornwallis pursued Lafayette who was attempting to parallel the British Army’s movements (Wickwire). On July 6, one of Lafayette’s generals, “Mad” Anthony Wayne, was ambushed with his forces by General Cornwallis near Green Spring, as he lead a troop of 500 men (Johnston).
General Lafayette had joined Wayne at Green Spring and noticed British guards and decided to attack which lead to minor skirmishes. Lafayette soon realized that something was wrong and began to hold back some of his battalion and camped at Green Spring Chickahominy Church – able to observe the maneuvers of the battle. Both the Marquis de Lafayette and Anthony Wayne used the estate as a marshaling area before engaging the British forces (Cotton). Meanwhile, Wayne continued to administer significant casualties to the British. However, Cornwallis had tricked hem and had lured Wayne into a trap. Fortunately, Wayne was able to charge on the British and halter their advance until Lafayette returned with his forces in order to aid in American retreat. The American forces retreated the Green Spring where the Chickahominy church was used as a hospital to administer to the wounded forces but was eventually burned down during the Civil War (Mason, 528).
Cotton, Lee Pelham. Green Spring Plantation: An Historical Summary. http://www.historicgreenspring.org/plantation_history.php (accessed March 7, 2012).
Clary, David A. Adopted Son Washington, Lafayette, and the Friendship that Save the Revolution. New York: Bantam Books, 2007.
Johnston, Henry Phelps. The Yorktown Campaign and the Surrender of Cornwallis, 1781. New York: Harpers and Brothers, 1881.
Mason, Geoge. “The Colonial Churches of James City County, Virginia.” William and Mary Quarterly, Second Series 19, no. 4 (October, 1939), 510-30.
Nelson, Paul David. Anthony Wayne, Soldier of the Early Republic. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985.
Wickwire, Franklin and Mary. Cornwallis: The American Adventure. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1970. http://www.jccegov.com/pdf/news/jcc-historical-map_web.pdf (Accessed April 12, 2012).
Historical Marker “Chickahominy Church W-32,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.
“General Cornwallis,” The Colonial Willamsburg Foundation, www.history.org (accessed May 2, 2012).
“Portrait of ‘Mad’ Anthony Wayne,” Archiving Early America, www.earlyamerica.com (accessed May 2, 2012).