Colonial National Historical Park | TOUR STOP D: REDOUBTS 9 AND 10

Redoubt 9

Redoubt 9

YORKTOWN BATTLEFIELD TOUR


See the Yorktown Battlefield Tour home page for a tour map.


While the British inner defenses consisted of an unbroken line of earthworks with both ends anchored by the York River, its outer defenses were small, earthen forts placed at strategic points on the terrain, allowing the British advanced position troops to fire upon anyone approaching Yorktown. Two such forts, Redoubts 9 and 10, were located near the York River on the British left flank (right flank of the Americans). Redoubts 1 through 8 were part of the British inner line of defenses and no longer exist.

The American siege lines were meant to run from the west all the way to the York River in the east. A shortened line would give the British the opportunity to go on the offensive and maneuver around the American right flank, engaging the allied forces from behind. The first line was completed successfully in one night, but Redoubts 9 and 10 stood in the way of the second line reaching the river. Thus, they would have to be attacked and captured.

On the night of October 14, 1781, the French stormed Redoubt 9 with approximately 400 men; the fort was defended by 120 British and German soldiers. An assault on Redoubt 10 happened simultaneously, carried out by American forces under the command of Alexander Hamilton, a Lieutenant Colonel in the army and a close adviser of George Washington. With him was Marquis de Lafayette and 400 men from the Continental Army. Defending the redoubt were 70 British troops. Both forts were captured within thirty minutes. With the redoubts out of the way, the second siege line was completed and a large American artillery battery was erected between the two forts.

It takes about 20 minutes to explore Redoubts 9 and 10 on the Yorktown Battlefield. Both forts have been reconstructed by the National Park Service, complete with fraises—sharp logs that protrude from the base of the earthen wall (though these are concrete polls that look like logs). Redoubt 10 is along the path to the right of the parking lot and directly on the York River. Only part of it has been reconstructed because the majority of the fort is now in the river, which has eroded the shoreline considerably over the last 200+ years. In fact, Redoubt 10 had vanished completely until its moat was discovered in 1956. If you look at the reconstruction, the back side drops off a cliff at the edge of the water.

Redoubt 10

Redoubt 10

The path to Redoubt 10 continues on past the fort, leading one to believe that a loop might be formed that will come around to Redoubt 9, but this is not the case. The path links the redoubts and the Yorktown Battlefield Visitor Center, which is approximately a half mile away. Thus, if you are at Redoubt 10, you must return to the parking area in order to reach Redoubt 9.

Trail between the Visitor Center and the British redoubts

Trail between the Visitor Center and the British redoubts

Redoubt 9 is the more interesting of the two. It has also been reconstructed, but located in the open and away from the river, it is accessible from all sides. In fact, you can actually walk inside of it.

Inside Redoubt 9

Inside Redoubt 9

Artillery representing the large American battery are on display along the siege line, which runs behind the redoubt. This battery was operational by October 17th and included 22 artillery pieces. The bombardment of the British position was so devastating that the next day Cornwallis called for a cease fire and surrender talks began.

Cannon of the American artillery battery behind Redoubt 9

Cannon of the American artillery battery behind Redoubt 9

Mortars of the American artillery battery behind Redoubt 9

Mortars of the American artillery battery behind Redoubt 9

The path that takes you to the artillery battery on the siege trench does not loop around to the front of Redoubt 9, thus you must return back towards the parking area to get on the trail that leads to the redoubt, either that or climb the trench and redoubt walls. The National Park Service wants people to stay off the walls, but a well worn path has been made by people frustrated that the official path does not simply form a loop around the entire area. If you are going to walk on the earthworks, at least walk on the existing paths and do not attempt to blaze a new route from the siege line to the redoubt.

Paths worn in, on, and around Redoubt 9

Paths worn in, on, and around Redoubt 9

On the way to the next tour stop are four pullouts along the road, each with an information panel about events that took place at the location. There are no other exhibits to see, and the information can be read from the car. One stop is at the Wormley Pond Dam, which was actually in existence during the war, having been built by Augustine Moore to power his grist mill. Moore is the owner of the Moore House, which is the next stop on the tour.

No fishing from the Wormley Pond Dam (not everyone follows the rules)

No fishing from the Wormley Pond Dam (not everyone follows the rules)


Next Stop: Moore House | Previous Stop: Second Allied Siege Line


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Last updated on April 6, 2020
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