Archive for the ‘18th Century (James City County)’ Category

Martin’s Hundred Church W-52

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Inscription:

The first Martin’s Hundred Parish church was probably built at Wolstenholme Town, an early 17th-century settlement that was located a mile southeast of here. None of the structures excavated there have been identified as a church; it may have been in a portion of the town that has been lost to erosion. A second parish church was built about 1630. Martin’s Hundred Parish was incorporated into Yorkhampton Parish in York County in 1712, and the Martin’s Hundred Church may have been abanodned then. The cemetery there probably continued in use for some time afterward.


Further Research

York-Hampton Parish

Martin’s Hundred Parish was the local church for the collection of people who were known as the Society of Martin’s Hundred. It was a small church which was established after the reallocation of land from plantations into counties in 1634 (Archaeology at the Atkinson Site). The parish would remain until 1713, when it was taken in by the York-Hampton Parish (Historic Jamestowne). One of the gravestones were stumbled upon by George Meade and Richard Randolph. It was the tomb of Samuel Pond, who died in 1694 (Meade, 242).

Further Reading


“Martin’s Hundred.” Archaeology at the Atkinson Site. http://research.history.org/Archaeological_Research/MHPage/MH.htm (Accessed March 12, 2012).

“Martin’s Hundred Sites.” Historic Jamestowne. http://apva.org/rediscovery/page.php?page_id=404 (Accessed March 12, 2012).

Meade, William. Ministers and Families of Virginia. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippencott and Company, 1861.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Martin’s Hundred Church W-52,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“York-Hampton Parish,” Library of Congress, www.loc.gov (accessed May 2, 2012).

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Department of Historic Resources

First Africans in English America WT-1

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Inscription:

The first documented Africans in English America arrived at Jamestown in August 1619. A dutch man-of-war captured them from the Spanish, who had enslaved them, and sold them to the Virginia colonists. The “twenty and odd” Africans, some of whom had been given Spanish names, may have been treated like indentured servants and later freed after their periods of servitude expired. From this beginning the institution of slavery evolved during the 17th century as the Virginia colonists extended the lenght of service for Africans from a fixed term to life. The United States abolished slavery in 1865.


 Further Research

The first Africans came to Jamestown in 1619 from aboard a Dutch ship, in addition to other cargo that had come with it. These were the first laborers of the colonies but it is unclear now as to whether these Africans were originally brought over as slaves or as indentured servants (The Terrible Transformations). A total of 20 Africans were traded in 1619 in exchange for food. The number then increased to 23 during the survey of 1625. According to records past 1623 and 1624, there were a significant amount of “free blacks,” or blacks who were allowed to be property owners. By 1640, there was at least one recorded slave within the Jamestown colony.

The first “slaves” that were recognized by the state of Virginia were in 1660, when slavery was put into Virginia law. This came about due to the increase in demand of tobacco. The number of Africans in Virginia increased from roughly 1,000 to 6,000 over the course of forty years, and would then rise to 23,000 around 1715 (McGinnis, 136). Past this time, Virginia still relied on English labor for its tobacco, while many Africans were moved to the West Indies to work on the Sugar Plantations (Smedley, 93).

The first Africans in Jamestown had Spanish names, such as Isabelle and Anthony. Anthony was in fact the first free African, earning enough funds to import five servants and gain 250 acres of land in 1651. Not only was he the first freed African, but he was also the first African landowner in Virginia (McGinnis, 135-136). This was not overly common past 1660, however, as more and more Africans were being brought into Virginia as lifetime slaves. The numbers grew exponentially, with over 290,000 slaves in 1790, followed by over 517,000 slaves between 1830 and 1840 (McGinnis, 136).

Africans Aboard a Ship

Further Reading

“Arrival of first Africans to Virginia Colony.” The Terrible Transformation: Africans in Americahttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part1/1p263.html (Accessed March 20, 2012).

McGinnis, Carol. Virginia Genealogy: Sources and Resources. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1993.

Smedley, Audrey. Race in North America: Origin and Evolution of a Worldview. Boulder: Westview Press, 1999.

Photo Credits

“Africans Aboard a Ship,” Sisters of Providence: The Beginnings, www.spsmw.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

“First Africans in America,” Africans in America: Arrival of First Africans in Virginia Colony, www.pbs.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

Historical Marker “First Africans in English America WT-1,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

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Department of Historic Resources

Battle of Green Spring V-39

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Inscription:

Nearby, late in the afternoon of 6 July 1781, Gen. Charles Cornwallis and cavalry commander Col. Banastre Tarleton with 5,000 British and Hessian troops clashed with 800 American troops commanded by Brig. Gen. “Mad” Anthony Wayne and the Marquis de Lafayette, believing  that the main British force was across the James River, and that  he was attacking Cornwallis’s rear, Wayne soon realized that he was facing far superior numbers. He startled the advancing British forces by charging them, exchanging volleys, and then withdrawing his troops from encirclement and certain defeat. Dusk prevented Cornwallis from pursuing the Americans.

Further Research

General Cornwallis

In the summer of 1781, General Lord Cornwallis and his 6,000 British regulars began to move from Richmond east towards Williamsburg. Tasked with the effort of quelling Virginia’s revolutionary resistance, Cornwallis put chase to the Continental Army of about 3,000 soldiers and militiamen under the Marquis de Lafayette. Lafayette was able to evade Cornwallis’ forces for about a month, until General Anthony Wayne reinforced his Continental Army. These reinforcements bolstered Lafayette’s Army to 4,000 men, and gave him the confidence to strike out against Cornwallis’ frequent raids against colonial assets.

Battle of Green Spring

The first major action that Summer occurred at Spencer’s Ordinary near Williamsburg, where two minor detachments of the British and Colonials fought to a stalemate before retreating back to their main armies. Upon his arrival in Portsmouth, Cornwallis received orders from General Sir Henry Clinton to prepare his army to depart to New York. The British intended to move Cornwallis’ army by ship, at the small town of Portsmouth on the Virginia peninsular. In order to make this maneuver, it was necessary for the British to cross the James River by ferry on the Green Spring Plantation.

Unwilling to leave Virginia without bloodying the Colonial army once more, Cornwallis planned to trap Lafayette’s forces at the James River ferry crossing. On July 6th, British General sent only John Graves Simcoe’s Queen’s Rangers across the river, and cleverly hid his main force at the bottom of a marshy slope. To complete his trap, Cornwallis sent a feint group of deserters to Lafayette, with information that the main body of their army had crossed the river. Lafayette jumped at the opportunity, and ordered General “Mad Anthony Wayne to advance with 500 soldiers against what he assumed was the rear-guard of the British Army. After a slow but successful two-hour advance upon the British position, Lafayette ordered 300 Pennsylvania reserves to bolster Wayne’s main attack group. The Colonials finally reached an abandoned British artillery piece that evening, which was the signal for the main British force to surprise the unsuspecting Americans. Cornwallis’ artillery opened up with hellacious canister fire, and then 5,000 of his infantrymen charged Wayne’s outnumbered Americans.

This shocked and thwarted the Colonial advance, but Wayne was able to reassemble his men back into formation. As Lafayette directed reinforcements to prevent his main force from utter decimation, Wayne orchestrated an infantry charge of his own. His 800 infantrymen counter charged the 5,000 British troops with fixed bayonets, which allowed Lafayette’s reserves to provide a sufficient amount of cover for the entrapped Colonials. Outraged, Cornwallis personally led an infantry a second British infantry charge, which effectively resulted in an American retreat. Lafayette’s Colonial Army retreated back to the Green Spring Plantation, and Cornwallis’ Army eventually crossed the river.

Shortly after this battle, Cornwallis received orders from Clinton to stay in Virginia and establish a naval stronghold in the peninsular. This culminated in the Siege of Yorktown in October of that year.

Further Reading

Johnston, Henry Phelps. The Yorktown Campaign and the Surrender of Cornwallis, 1781. Harper & Brothers, 1881.

Ramsay, David. The History of the American Revolution. Printed and sold by James J. Wilson, 1811.

Ward, Harry M. For Virginia and for Independence: Twenty-Eight Revolutionary War Soldiers from the Old Dominion. McFarland, 2011.

Eisenhower, John, and W. J. WOOD. Battles of the Revolutionary War. Da Capo Press, 2003.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Battle of Green Spring V-39,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“General Cornwallis,” The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, www.history.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Battle of Green Spring,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

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Department of Historic Resources

Spencer’s Ordinary W-35

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Inscription:

On this road, four miles south, the action of Spencer’s Ordinary was fought, June 24, 1781, between detachments from Lafayette and Cornwallis’s armies.

 

 

 

Further Research

General Lord Cornwallis

In the summer of 1781, General Lord Cornwallis and his 6,000 British regulars began to move from Richmond east towards Williamsburg. Tasked with the effort of quelling Virginia’s revolutionary resistance, Cornwallis put chase to the Continental Army of about 3,000 soldiers and militiamen under the Marquis de Lafayette. Lafayette was able to evade Cornwallis’ forces for about a month, until General Anthony Wayne reinforced his Continental Army. These reinforcements bolstered Lafayette’s Army to 4,000 men, and gave him the confidence to strike out against Cornwallis’ frequent raids against colonial assets.

Queen's Rangers Seal

On June 25th, Lafayette received word that Cornwallis had sent a detachment of Queen’s Rangers under Lieutenant Colonel John Graves Simcoe to forage for food and destroy colonial vessels along the Chickahominy River. Intending to intercept Simcoe’s forces, Lafayette and Wayne ordered American Colonel Richard Butler to confront Simcoe with a mixed group of Pennsylvania cavalry and infantrymen under Captain William McPherson, and two companies of Virginia riflemen led by Majors Richard Call and John Willis. The next day on the 26th, around 100 colonial infantry and cavalrymen encountered Simcoe’s vanguard near Spencer’s Ordinary. The first action occurred when Captain McPherson and his cavalry were charged by Simcoe’s own mounted troops. In this initial action McPherson fell from his horse, and several of his men were taken prisoner. After this small melee, Colonel Butler’s main force began to arrive just as Simcoe’s infantry was advancing to support his cavalry. Simcoe learned from the prisoners that Lafayette’s main force was near by, and he ordered that this information be relayed to Cornwallis in Williamsburg. Simcoe also had his men construct tree barricades near Spencer’s Ordinary to provide a defensive position against any attack.  The British Lieutenant Colonel then formed his men into a manipulative formation meant to cause Butler to assume he possessed a large amount of soldiers. This ploy initially was successful, and Simcoe ordered an infantry charge against Butler’s lines to again give off the impression that his force was much larger than it actually was. Butler’s men were able to withstand this charge, and Simcoe then ordered a cavalry charge and discharged a cannon against the Colonial forces. After this skirmish and stalemate both detachments retreated, for fear of engaging the main body of either opposing force.

John Graves Simcoe

The aftermath of this foray resulted in 9 killed, 14 wounded, and 32 captured Colonials, and 11 killed and 25 wounded British soldiers. Simcoe was forced to leave his wounded men under a flag of truce in Spencer’s Ordinary. Both army detachments retreated to their respective camps, and would meet again at the Battle of Green Spring on July 6th later that summer.

 

Further Reading

Fryer, Mary Beacock, and Christopher Dracott. John Graves Simcoe, 1752-1806: a Biography. Dundurn Press Ltd., 1998.

Johnston, Henry Phelps. The Yorktown Campaign and the Surrender of Cornwallis, 1781. Harper & Brothers, 1881.

Lossing, Benson John. The Pictorial Field-book of the Revolution: Or, Illustrations, by Pen and Pencil, of the History, Biography, Scenery, Relics, and Traditions of the War for Independence. Harper & brothers, 1860.

Lytle, Richard M. The Soldiers of America’s First Army, 1791. Scarecrow Press, 2004.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Spencer’s Ordinary W-35,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“General Cornwallis,” The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, www.history.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Queen’s Rangers Seal,” Historical Narratives of Early Canada, www.uppercanadahistory.ca (accessed May 2, 2012).

“John Graves Simcoe,” Historical Narratives of Early Canada, www.uppercanadahistory.ca (accessed May 2, 2012).

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Department of Historic Resources

State Shipyard W-31

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Inscription:

On this road five miles west was the State Shipyard on Chickahominy River, burned by the British General Phillips on April 21-22, 1781.

 

 

 

Further Research

Major General William Phillips British Royal Artillery (1731-1781)

In 1776, Virginian colonists destroyed the Norfolk shipyards in an attempt to deny the British Navy from utilizing its resources. A new shipyard was then constructed far up the Chickahominy River, with hopes that it would be less vulnerable to a British attack. The destruction of the Portsmouth shipyard in 1780 increased greatly increased the value of this newly constructed shipyard. This shipyard was a small operation, and was only able to produce a minute amount of Colonial warships. Accordingly, the private vessels of Virginians were mostly relied upon to resist the British navy. An officer of the shipyard, James Maxwell wrote to Thomas Jefferson in 1780 that the shipyard was in the process of dismantling and repairing a ship but the militia assigned to sail it had deserted. This was often the case as the state of the Virginia navy was poor throughout the War. In April of 1781 as the British navy began to creep into the waterways of the Peninsular, Thomas Jefferson ordered that the vessels located at the state shipyard be anchored further up the James River to avoid destruction. This tactic was effective, as the British navy under General Phillips destroyed the shipyard on the Chickahominy along with a 20-gun vessel and a warehouse on April 21st. Phillips’ victory was significant as it allowed the British to penetrate further up the James River.

Further Reading

Ward, Harry M. For Virginia and for Independence: Twenty-Eight Revolutionary War Soldiers from the Old Dominion. McFarland, 2011.

Kranish, Michael. Flight from Monticello: Thomas Jefferson at War. Oxford University Press, 2010.

Selby, John E., and Don Higginbotham. The Revolution in Virginia, 1775-1783. Williamsburg: Colonial Williamsburg, 2007.

Morgan, Timothy E. Williamsburg: A City That History Made. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2004.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “State Shipyard W-31,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Major General William Phillips British Royal Artillery (1731-1781),” City of Petersburg, Virginia, www.peterburg-va.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

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Department of Historic Resources

Six-Mile Ordinary W-34

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Inscription:

Six-Mile Ordinary, a popular 18th-century tavern also known as Allen’s for its proprietor Isham Allen, stood six miles from Williamsburg. On 1 July 1774, a group of free holders congregated there and drafted the James City Resolves not to import British goods. Two years later, they gathered again to declare their support for American independence. On 21 April 1781, Col. James Innes notified the governor that 500 British infantrymen, 50 horses, and 4 pieces of artillery had come ashore at Burwell’s Ferry. Because of this unexpected event, Innes and his troops retreated to Six-Mile Ordinary around midnight.

Further Research

Taproom of a Tavern

Six-Mile Ordinary was originally named based on the tavern’s distance from Williamsburg. Elizabeth D. Taylor inherited the farm that the ordinary was located on from her husband, who bought the property in 1827. The tavern stood adjacent with Old Stage Road, and Taylor managed the property until the end of the Civil War, when she became indebted to creditors. The land and building was then deeded to her son Henley L. Taylor. Later into the 19th century, Langdon T. Hankins and A.B. Tuttle acquired the deed and transformed the tavern into a merchandise exchange store.

Taproom Furnishings of an Old Tavern

Interesting Facts:

An ordinary refers to an old tavern, such as Six-Mile Ordinary and Burnt Ordinary. 

 

Further Reading

Lewis, Sara E. James City County. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2009.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Six-Mile Ordinary W-34,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

Earle, Alice Morse. “Taproom of a Tavern,” Project Gutenberg. Stage Coach and Tavern Days. New York: MacMillan and Company, 1900, www.gutenberg.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

Earle, Alice Morse. “Taproom Furnishings of an Old Tavern,” Project Gutenberg. Stage Coach and Tavern Days. New York: MacMillan and Company, 1900, www.gutenberg.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

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Department of Historic Resources

Burnt Ordinary W-33

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Inscription:

First called John Lewis’ Ordinary and then Fox’s. Burnt Ordinary received its name in Jan. 1780 when, according to the Virginia Gazette, Fox’s Ordinary burned to the ground. Later, in Oct. 1781, when the French army’s wagon train passed by, Alexander Berthier wrote that “two old chimneys” stood here in the fork of the road. Also in 1781, Samuel Dewitt, George Washington’s cartographer, noted the site of the “Burnt Brick Ordinary”, on one of his maps. Elements of Lafayette’s army camped two miles south of here at Chickahominy Church after the Battle of Green Spring on 6 July 1781.

Further Research

Marquis de Lafayette

On January 19th of 1863, about a mile from Burnt Ordinary, the Third battalion of the 5th Pennsylvania Cavalry began a mission to scout the roadways in between Richmond and Williamsburg. Captain Cameron commanded two companies of the battalion, and ordered Lieutenant Vezin to advance with eighteen men. Of these men, Vezin ordered Sergeant Anderson to advance another two hundred yards with six of the original eighteen men. During their advance, seventy rebel cavalrymen appeared who formed a line to block the intentions of Anderson. As the small party of men turned to rejoin Lieutenant Vezin, another group of twenty rebel cavalrymen rode out to form a line in their rear. In an effort to escape their entrapment, Anderson charged the twenty rebels to reach the safety of Vezin’s larger group. Only Anderson broke through the twenty rebels, as they captured his other six men. In response, Vezin ordered a charge on these twenty rebels, and was successful as he recaptured all but one of his men. In addition the Union cavalrymen also captured four rebel soldiers and five of their horses.

Further Reading

Bracekett, Albert, and Gallatin Bracekett Albert Gallatin Bracekett. History of the United States Cavalry. Applewood Books, 2009.

The Tribune Almanac. New York Tribune, 1868.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Burnt Ordinary W-33,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Marquis de Lafayette,” New World Encyclopedia, www.newworldencyclopedia.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

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Department of Historic Resources

Hickory Neck Church W-30

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Inscription:

Hickory Neck Church was built about 1740. Militia opposing the British camped here on April 21, 1781. A few miles north is the foundation of an ancient stone house, dating possibly from about 1650.

 

 

Further Research

Hickory Neck Church

According to the current congregation…

“The Historic Chapel has a glorious history of survival. The northern two-thirds of the present building was built in 1774 as a transept to the original 1734 church. After the Revolutionary War, the church fell into disrepair and the original church was torn down and the southern third of the present building was added around 1825 to provide space for Hickory Neck Academy. The Academy also served various denominations as a place to worship before the Civil War. The war years were hard on Hickory Neck leaving it in near ruinous condition, but again, it was repaired and put back into service as a school. Eventually James City County erected a public school in Toano and our building was reconsecrated as an Episcopal church in 1917. “

Hickory Neck Church - Present Day

Further Reading

Hickory Neck Church. “Historic Chapel Fund.” http://www.hickoryneck.org/historic-chapel-fund/ (accessed March 17, 2012).

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Hickory Neck Church W-30,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Hickory Neck Church,” Library of Congress, www.loc.gov (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Hickory Neck Church- Present Day,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

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Department of Historic Resources

Kingsmill W-47: Not Erected

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Inscription:

Kingsmill Plantation, the home of Col. Lewis Burwell, was built in the mid-1730s and consisted of a mansion, outbuildings, garden, and 1,400 acres. The house burned in 1843. Only the office and the kitchen still stand; they are among the earliest brick dependencies in Virginia. Burwell, the naval officer (colonial customs inspector) for the upper James River, built his inspection station here at Burwell’s Landing, which included a tavern, storehouse, warehouse, and ferry house. In Nov. 1775, American riflemen skirmished nearby with British naval vessels; later, the Americans built two earthen forts here that the British captured in 1781.

Further Research

One of Remaining Houses on Kingsmill Plantation

Richard Kingsmill, who was granted one of the first land grants by the Virginia Company, initially purchased the land that Kingsmill Plantation was located. In the mid-1730s, colonial customs inspector and British Colonel Lewis Burwell III purchased 1,400 acres of Kingsmill’s original plot, and constructed a plantation with several other structures. The headquarters of his inspection station (Burwell’s Landing) was also located on the property along the James River, which included a tavern, warehouse, and ferry.

Kingsmill Archaeological Site

Kingsmill Plantation saw action in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. As Patriot forces began to assemble near Williamsburg in the fall of 1775, the Colonial Governor of Virginia Lord Dunmore ordered that British ships patrol the James River to stop potential ferry crossings of these rebels. On Sunday, November 5th, militiamen from Chesterfield County began to assemble near Williamsburg with intentions to embark upon Norfolk. The British vessel the Kingfisher patrolled the river with three other supporting tenders, but failed in stopping a thousands Colonial militiamen from crossing the river. Despite this, the Kingfisher exchanged fire with a Colonial vessel at Burwell’s Ferry without any decisive action. At the end of the War in 1781, French forces under the Marquis de Lafayette utilized Burwell’s Landing as they docked and moved inland from there. Later that year in January, Colonial General Thomas Nelson and his militia foiled Benedict Arnold’s plan to land at Burwell’s Ferry.

Lord Dunmore

Many battles in the Civil War were also fought in the vicinity of Kingsmill Plantation. Union General George B. McClellan’s Peninsular Campaign engulfed the plantation, as an army of 120,000 men landed and moved inland through the area with the task of reaching Richmond. Several Confederate defensive lines also ran through the property such as the Warwick Line, and the Williamsburg Line. On May 6th of 1865, the Battle of Williamsburg was fought here where the Confederates lost 1,682 men and the Union lost 2,283.

Present Day Kingsmill Plantation

Today resorts, theme parks, a brewery, and a golf course have enveloped much of the Kingsmill land. Busch Gardens, Kingsmill Resort, and the community of Kingsmill on the James are all located on this former plantation.

 

Further Reading

Russell, David Lee. The American Revolution in the Southern Colonies. McFarland, 2000.

John S. Salmon, compiler. A Guidebook to Virginia’s Historical Markers, Revised and Expanded Edition. University Press of Virginia, 2001.

Sears, Stephen W. To The Gates of Richmond: The Peninsula Campaign. 1st ed. Mariner Books, 2001.

Photo Credits

“One of remaining houses on Kingsmill Plantation,” National Park Service, www.nps.gov (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Kingsmill archaeological site,” National Park Service, www.nps.gov (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Lord Dunmore,” The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, www.history.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Present Day Kingsmill Plantation,” Golf Williamsburg, www.golfwilliamsburg.com (accessed May 2, 2012).

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Department of Historic Resources – This marker has since been removed due to construction.

Green Spring W-36

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Inscription:

On this road, five miles south, is Green Spring, home of Governor Sir William Berkeley. Bacon the Rebel occupied it in 1676. Cornwallis, after moving from Williamsburg by this road on July 4, 1781, was attacked by Lafayette near Green Spring on July 6, 1781. Anthony Wayne was the hero of this fight.

 

Further Research

Historic Green Spring

 Green Spring was the land given to Governor Sir William Berkeley in 1643. It was under a total of 1,000 acres, and he had borders to the North, South, and East. Should he want to expand his territory, though, the West was full of unclaimed land. There was high ground, drinkable water, timber, and water accesses scattered all across his land. He then built a house relatively close to the spring. This has been considered one of the “largest stately mansions of the day” (Billings, 59-60). By 1660, the amount of acreage had more than doubled, and an additional 3,000 acres had been set-aside as “Governor’s Land” (Cotton).

Marquis de Lafayette

 During the Revolutionary War on July 6, 1781, Green Spring was the site of an important military skirmish between the British and American troops. Both the Marquis de Lafayette and General Cornwallis were in Williamsburg. An attack from either side was near certain. Marshland surrounded the Green Spring plantation, and was hard to travel through. Upon the beginning of battle, the American forces began to push back the British into a near retreat. That would change; as it then came to light the General Cornwallis had set up a trap. It would end with the Americans in an organized retreat after some cool thinking and quick planning of Brigadier General Anthony Wayne under Lafayette. The final count of deaths as well as retreats would lead this battle to be considered a British victory. The final casualty numbers for the Americans and British were 140 and 75, respectively. (Clary, 311). Green Spring had been used to house the American Wayne and the Frenchman Lafayette, and to be a marshaling point for their troops (Cotton).

General Cornwallis

 Another thing present at Green Spring was Berkeley’s interest in horticulture. He used his land as an experimental farm for the production of unique crops. Some of the included plants would be the usual tobacco, as well as hemp, flax, cotton, rice, and fruits such as grapes and apricots (Cotton).

Further Reading

Billings, Warren M. Sir William Berkeley and the Forging of Colonial Virginia. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2004.

Clary, David A. Adopted Son: Washington, Lafayette, and the Friendship that Saved the Revolution. New York: Bantam Books, 2007.

Cotton, Lee Peltham. Green Spring Plantation: A Historical Summaryhttp://www.historicgreenspring.org/plantation_history.php (Accessed April 12, 2012).

Photo Credits

“General Cornwallis,” The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, www.history.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Historic Green Spring,” Historic Green Spring, www.historicgreenspring.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

Historical Marker “Green Spring W-36,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Marquis de Lafayette,” New World Encyclopedia, www.newworldencyclopedia.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

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Department of Historic Resources