historic town (1990 pop. 270), seat of York co., SE Va., on the York River 10 mi (16 km) from its mouth on Chesapeake Bay; settled 1631, laid out 1691. It is included in the Colonial National Historical Park (see National Parks and Monuments
, table). The town, once an important tobacco port, reached its zenith c.1750. The Yorktown campaign
(1781) brought to a close the American Revolution; the battlefield surrounds the town. In the Civil War, Yorktown was besieged (Apr.–May, 1862) by McClellan in the Peninsular campaign
, and the city was taken by Union troops on May 4. Places of interest in Yorktown include the customhouse (c.1706; restored 1929); Grace Church (1697); the Moore House (c.1725), in which the terms of Cornwallis's surrender were negotiated; the Yorktown Monument (1881), commemorating the victory of 1781; and the American Revolution Museum.
See B. Davis, The Campaign That Won America: The Story of Yorktown (1970).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. Political Geography