French Trench

French Trench (HM720)

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

N 37° 14.438', W 76° 31.288'

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The 1781 Siege of Yorktown

— Colonial National Historical Park —

The extreme left of the American and French lines, commanded by the Marquis de Saint-Simon, was held by a French artillery battery. On October 9, it became the first battery of siege guns to fire on the British, aiming at the nearby Royal Welch Fusiliers Redoubt. The French also effectively used this position to help contain the British within their defensive lines and to harass British ships anchored between Yorktown and Gloucester Point. On October 10, using superheated cannon balls, called hot shot, the French battery set fire to three British ships. Following the British surrender, General Washington extended commendations to the Marquis de Saint-Simon and his troops: "The military ardour and perfect discipline for which they [Saint-Simon's troops] have been conspicuous ? Have secured you the esteem of the country ?"

"The ships were enwrapped in a torrent of fire, which spreading with vivid brightness among the combustible rigging, and running with amazing rapidity to the tops of the several masts, while all around was thunder and lightning for our numerous cannon and mortars, and in the darkness of night, presented one of the most sublime and magnificent spectacles which can be imagined."

Dr. James Thacher, Surgeon, Continental Army
HM NumberHM720
Placed ByColonial National Historical Park, National Park Service
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, September 7th, 2014 at 2:48pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 365049 N 4122651
Decimal Degrees37.24063333, -76.52146667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 14.438', W 76° 31.288'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 14' 26.28" N, 76° 31' 17.28" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)757
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 395 Fusiliers Redoubt Ramp, Yorktown VA 23690, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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