According to George Percy, one of the early settlers, "The nine and twentieth day we set up a cross at Chesupioc Bay, and named the place Cape Henry." Here, on the windswept sands, led by Reverend Robert Hunt, the colonists must have knelt in prayer giving thanks for this new land and their safe arrival.
Just off the shores here at Cape Henry, on September 5, 1781, two mighty war fleets exchanged cannon shot for about 2 1/2 hours. It is only because of Admiral deGrasse, commander of the French fleet sent to support General George Washington, that the British were unable to relieve Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown. This sea battle helped secure America's independence by assuring Cornwallis was trapped at Yorktown.