British Inner Defense Line

British Inner Defense Line (HM6UV)

Location: Yorktown, VA 23690 York County
Country: United States of America

N 37° 13.813', W 76° 30.35'

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1781 Siege of Yorktown

— Colonial National Historical Park —

"The town was ? surrounded by a ditch and thick parapet, having a horn work in the centre, in ? which were batteries lined with facines. The parapet ran to the river on the left ? The parapet was formed of trees cut in the woods and placed inside; outside it was formed of fascines; and the earth from the ditch, which was sandy and gravelly, was thrown into the space between; it had also a fraize made of fence rails kept in line and projection by the earth thrown into the opening of the parapet, giving it an appearance of strength which it little merited."
Captain Samuel Graham, 76th Regiment of Foot

From New York City, on June 11, 1781, General Sir Henry Clinton wrote to General Charles Lord Cornwallis in Virginia that he was "threatened with a siege in this post." Intending to reinforce the New York garrison with soldiers from Cornwallis' army, Clinton "recommended" Cornwallis "take a defensive station, in any healthy situation you choose, be it at Williamsburg or York-town.)."

Needing to secure a navy base for his "defensive station," Cornwallis chose the prosperous port of Yorktown and began occupying the town in early August. On August 22, Cornwallis reported to Clinton that his "engineer has ? proposed a plan for fortifying it [Yorktown]; which ? I have ? directed to be executed." That plan included encircling the town with a primary, continuous earthwork incorporated with forts and batteries, known as the British Inner Defense Line.

The British Inner Defense Line remains a significant physical reminder of the siege, still slicing through the town. Efforts by local citizens in 1783 to have the line leveled failed. These fortifications, with some modifications, were utilized again during the Civil War. Please help preserve these earthen remnants of our nation's history by only walking on designated paths.
HM NumberHM6UV
Placed ByColonial National Historical Park, National Park Service
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, October 16th, 2014 at 4:42am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 366417 N 4121473
Decimal Degrees37.23021667, -76.50583333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 13.813', W 76° 30.35'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 13' 48.78" N, 76° 30' 21.00" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)757
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1000 Colonial National Historic Pkwy, Yorktown VA 23690, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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