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Yorktown Redux

May 2024
1min read


Your excellent article “Triumph at Yorktown” in the October/November 1981 issue brings back fifty-year-old memories. I am one of the dwindling number of participants in the sesquicentennial celebration. As a student at the University of Hartford at the time, my contribution was small but vivid. First, I took over my history professor’s class for more than a month while he served as a consultant for the government. Second, I was tapped to be a member of the dramatic group and performed in one of the tableaux. The stained onionskin copy of the script is still in my possession.

The method of performance is more interesting than the script. The stage was set up in the middle of a large field where much of the original battle took place. The bleachers must have been nearly two hundred yards away on both sides of the field, the sound being provided over huge amplifiers.

Following the tableaux—mine was one in which a group of sailors committed themselves to service after being promised hard cash by the French—the battle of Yorktown was fought around us. Cannon were lugged onto the field, and both British and Continental regulars lined up and fired volleys at each other. The number who dropped was kept to the casualties reported. Brought up on westerns and tales of shooting the eye out of a squirrel, I found it difficult to reconcile the number of actual casualties in such a close encounter, but history bears it out.

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