7 Year Tea Party Winners: Susan Craft's winner of her trilogy novels - The Chamomile, Laurel, and Cassia is: Lucy Reynolds, The winner of a copy of The Backcountry Brides is: Tammy Cordery, the winner of a silver quill charm is: Kathy Maher, Choice of one of three books by Carrie Fancett Pagels in paperback: Joy Ellis, A Bouquet of Brides Collection by Pegg Thomas winner is: Becky Smith, Janet Grunst's Selah-Award winning novel, A Heart Set Free, is: Sherry Moe.

Friday, March 14, 2014


In an earlier post of the Battle of Great Bridge (December 9, 1775), I wrote about the first major land battle of the Revolutionary War in Virginia. http://colonialquills.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-battle-of-great-bridge-virginia.html

General Lord Cornwallis
By 1780, after successes further south, a confident British General Lord Cornwallis determined that a stranglehold on Virginia was strategic in blocking supply movements and communication between General Nathanael Green, and his southern contingent of the Continental Army, and General George Washington's army on the Hudson River. Additionally, he believed that control of the Chesapeake Bay and the various rivers that flowed into it would allow for a British army invasion by water. 

As part of their southern strategy, the British forces, without much opposition occupied Portsmouth and Norfolk Virginia, giving them control of critical ports at the juncture of the Chesapeake Bay and the James River.

In the winter of 1781, Benedict Arnold, the American traitor and now a British general, arrived in Hampton Roads and sailed up the James to Westover. From there he marched on Richmond where he burned much of the city before returning to Portsmouth

General Lafayette 
In retaliation, General Washington sent a combined force of Continentals and Virginia militia under the command of General Lafayette in an attempt to capture his former general.

By the summer of 1781, in an effort to squash the patriot resistance on the peninsula, General Lord Cornwallis departed Richmond with about 6,000 British regulars and traveled east toward the city of Williamsburg, which he occupied for ten days. While there, he received orders from General Henry Clinton to go to Portsmouth and return to New York City

So on July 4th he departed and headed south toward Jamestown with a troop detachment. His intention was to cross the James River via ferry and travel southeast 48 miles to Portsmouth.  As they began the movement, Corwallis and his men were being shadowed by General Lafayette and his men.

For about a month, General Lafayette, with only soldiers and militiamen, played a waiting game of evasions and skirmishes with Cornwallis until General Anthony Wayne and 1,000 reinforcements could bolster his Continental Army.

General Cornwallis, eager to defeat more colonials before departing for Portsmouth, devised a plan to trap General Lafayette’s forces at the James River ferry crossing near Green Springs Plantation. Cornwallis sent a few deserters to infiltrate Lafayette’s army, with information that most of the British army had already crossed the river.

General Anthony Wayne 
Lafayette, sensing an opportunity to weaken his adversary, then sent 500 troops under General Anthony Wayne to strike what he assumed was the rear-guard of the British Army. In addition, he then sent 300 Pennsylvania reserves to aid in Wayne’s attack. But it was a trap. When the Colonials reached some abandoned British artillery, it signaled Cornwallis’s army, which was still on the northern bank of the river, to attack the surprised American forces. The British artillery charged and fired upon Wayne’s outnumbered men. Bravely, Wayne reassembled his forces and led a bayoneted charge against the vastly larger British army. Lafayette, realizing Wayne’s dilemma, brought in enough reserves to provide cover to allow his colonials to retreat. 

Lafayette and the Colonial Army returned to Green Spring Plantation and the British Army eventually crossed the James River. Not long after that, General Clinton ordered Cornwallis to remain in Virginia and form a naval stronghold on the Peninsula which ultimately resulted in the Siege of Yorktown in October of 1781, an American victory critical in ending the war and leading to American independence.


  1. I am always grateful and amazed at the commitment of the Colonial Army.

    1. Commitment is right! I'm always reminded, Kay, of all the traveling they had to do, and mostly on foot.

  2. Interesting post, Janet! Thanks for such a great article.I was wondering if by Westover you meant Westover Plantation?

    1. My research didn't mention Westover Plantation, Carrie, but I wondered the same thing.


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