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October 3, 2011

“Prelude to Victory” Transforms Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area

Several hundred Continental Army re-enactors encamp in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area as they re-create the city’s vital role as a staging area for the last decisive battle of the American Revolution during “Prelude To Victory” Oct. 7-9, a busy weekend of programs and demonstrations to entertain, inform and delight guests.

The three-day re-enactments chronicle preparations in late September 1781 by the allied armies — the Continental Army under the command of Gen. George Washington and French forces commanded by Gen. Rochambeau — for the siege of Yorktown, where Gen. Cornwallis has taken his British Army.

As the armies establish their camps on Palace Green and Market Square, an officer addresses the townspeople at 5:15 p.m. Friday from the steps of the Courthouse and informs them of the arrival of the American and French forces.

Activity in the camp on Market Square begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Gen. Washington arrives at the Courthouse of 1770 at 10 a.m. to address the assembled Continental troops, concluding with a 21-gun salute.

Guests are encouraged to visit a military field hospital at the Governor’s Palace, to discover the skills and knowledge it takes to be a dragoon — a member of a swift-moving cavalry unit — at the Magazine and explore the quartermaster’s woes at the Guardhouse as the supply sergeant faces the realities of few supplies and even less money.

Midday is punctuated by artillery fire as cannon crews drill in late morning on Market Square, and military music fills the air as the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums march at 1 p.m. from the Capitol to Palace Green. At 2 p.m., the entire Carolina battalion demonstrates the Manual of Arms and combat musketry on Market Square.

A special edition of The Revolutionary City, Colonial Williamsburg’s dramatic, live street theatre program, begins at the Capitol at 3:35 p.m. to cap the day’s events.

Activity in the camps resumes Sunday at 8:30 a.m. with a drumhead church service on Market Square at 10 a.m. Following the service, Gen. Washington and his staff of officers develop their battle plans. Military music at the Magazine and artillery practice on Market Square punctuate the early afternoon. Surgeons continue to treat the wounded and smallpox victims at a military field hospital at the Governor’s Palace.

A second special edition of The Revolutionary City begins at 3:35 p.m. in front of the R. Charlton Coffeehouse near the Capitol.

The “Prelude to Victory” weekend concludes at 5:30 p.m. Sunday as Gen. Washington, escorted by dragoons, marches the Continental Army forces from their encampments toward Yorktown and eventual victory.

A Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket affords guests maximum opportunities to enjoy the full range of experiences available during the special “Prelude to Victory” re-enactor weekend. For more information, telephone toll-free 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg on the Web at

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and presentation of the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia. This town-sized living history museum tells the inspirational stories of our journey to become Americans through programs in the Historic Area and through the award-winning Revolutionary City program. Explore The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and discover the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum featuring the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670 – 1830 and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, comprising more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21th centuries. Colonial Williamsburg Hotels feature conference spaces and recreation activities from spa and fine dining to world-class golf. Colonial Williamsburg is committed to expanding its thought-provoking programming through education outreach on-site and online. Purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the preservation, research and educational programs of the Foundation. Philanthropic support by individuals, corporations, and foundations benefits the educational mission of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

Media Contact:
Jim Bradley
(757) 220-7281