Battle of Green Spring

Battle of Green Spring (HMKHE)

Location: Williamsburg, VA 23185
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 14.074', W 76° 47.089'

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July 6, 1781

Hear the crack of flintlock muskets and smell the smoke from cannon fire! On this site, on July 6, 1781, 5,000 British troops under General Charles Cornwallis and Colonel Banastre Tarleton clashed with 900 American soldiers led by the Marquis de Lafayette and Brigadier General "Mad" Anthony Wayne.

Following a campaign in the Carolinas and central Virginia, Cornwallis encamped nearby. He planned to cross the James River and head toward Portsmouth in order to send reinforcements to General Clinton in New York. Cautiously pursued by Lafayette and Wayne, Cornwallis correctly assumed he was vulnerable to attack at this river crossing. He set a trap to destroy American forces.

With the bulk of his men concealed in a wooded ravine, his rear guard pickets were ordered to resist the approaching American units led by General Wayne. A single British cannon was placed in an open area as a decoy.

Deceived by faulty intelligence, Wayne moved his soldiers aggressively from headquarters at Green Spring Plantation along "the causeway," today's Greensprings Road. In 1781 it was a primitive road through swamp and woodlands. Lafayette, riding near the river to reconnoiter, observed British activity and realized an ambush was set.

Before he could notify Wayne, the Americans broke out of the woods into the open field. Wayne's soldiers raced to capture the cannon. Cornwallis began flanking maneuvers to his right in an attempt to envelop the Americans. As the main British infantry line moved forward, Wayne launched a temporary charge toward the Redcoats. When the enemy hesitated to advance, the Americans quickly withdrew north along "the causeway" while covered by rear guard reinforcements. As night fell, Cornwallis decided not to pursue the Americans.

On the following day, British soldiers crossed the James River unopposed. At least six Virginia soldiers and 22 from Pennsylvania died in the battle. Some may be buried at or near the Church on the Main. There were approximately 75 British casualties.

The Battle of Green Spring raised American morale and was one of the last Virginia land engagements prior to the British surrender at Yorktown on October 19, 1781.
Series This marker is part of the Sons of the American Revolution series
Placed ByWilliamsburg Chapter Sons of the American Revolution
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 at 12:36pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 341676 N 4122386
Decimal Degrees37.23456667, -76.78481667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 14.074', W 76° 47.089'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 14' 4.44" N, 76° 47' 5.34" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)757, 202
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 2592-2598 Greensprings Rd, Williamsburg VA 23185, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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