Monday, October 16, 2017

Episode 390 (10-16-17): History on the York River, Featuring “The Surrender of Cornwallis” by Bobby Horton

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:21).

Transcript of audio, notes on the audio, photos, and additional information follow below.

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 10-16-17.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of October 19, 2017.

MUSIC – ~12 sec

This week, in an updated episode from 2012, we feature music to commemorate a turning point in history that occurred beside Virginia’s York River on October 19th, 1781.  Have a listen for about a minute.

MUSIC - ~59 sec

You’ve been listening to part of “The Surrender of Cornwallis,” performed by Bobby Horton on the 2008 album “Homespun Songs of the Patriots in the American Revolution.”  Yorktown was established on the York River in 1691, following habitation of the area by Native Americans for many centuries.  By the time of the Revolutionary War, Yorktown was a busy port.  In 1781, Charles Cornwallis led Great Britain’s southern army to Yorktown to establish a stronghold where the army could be reinforced or, if necessary, evacuated by the British navy. I nstead, the British troops became trapped when American forces under George Washington and French forces marched to Yorktown from New York, and French warships blockaded the lower Chesapeake Bay after defeating British ships in the September 5 “Battle of the Capes,” on the Bay between Virginia’s Cape Henry and Cape Charles.  A three-week siege of Yorktown ended with Cornwallis’ surrender on October 19, helping lead to the end of the war in 1783.

The battle severely damaged Yorktown, which was again damaged in the War of 1812 and the Civil War, and Yorktown never regained its former prominence as a port.  But since the 1930s, historic preservation, research, and interpretation efforts—including the opening in 2017 of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown—have made this small, 300-year-old, Virginia riverside town an American Revolution destination.

Thanks to Bobby Horton for permission to use this week’s music, and we close with a few more seconds of “The Surrender of Cornwallis.”

MUSIC - ~ 10 sec


For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at, or call us at (540) 231-5463. Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment. Thanks to Ben Cosgrove for his version of “Shenandoah” to open and close the show. In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


This episode is a updated repeat of Episode 103 (3-9-12), which has been archived.

“Homespun Songs of the Patriots in the American Revolution” and its version of “The Surrender of Cornwallis” are copyright by Bobby Horton, used with permission.  “The Surrender of Cornwallis” is also heard (along with two other musical selections) in Episode 229, 9-1-14, on National Park Service units.  More information about Mr. Horton is available online at; information about “Homespun Songs of the Patriots in the American Revolution” is available online at

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (2 min./22 sec.) of the “Shenandoah” arrangement/performance by Ben Cosgrove that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Cosgrove is available online at

The York River, with Yorktown in the background, June 27, 2017.   U.S. Geological Survey public domain photo by Hayley Austin, accessed online at
Victory Monument and a Slippery Elm tree at Yorktown Battlefied/Colonial National Historical Park.  Photo by Linda Williams for the National Park Service, accessed online at

The Moore House at Yorktown, the location where the terms of the British army surrender were negotiated among the Americans, British, and French on October 18, 1781.  National Park Service photo, accessed at
Surrender Field at the Yorktown Battlefied/Colonial National Historic Park, the site where Charles Cornwallis’ British army surrendered on October 19, 1781.  National Park Service photo, accessed at (“Yorktown Battlefield” tab).


Census Viewer, “Yorktown, Virginia, Population,” online at

Encyclopedia Britannica, “Siege of Yorktown,”, online at

Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation/Jamestown and American Revolution Settlement Museum at Yorktown, “Grand Opening Celebration of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown March 23-April 4, 2017,” online at

National Park Service, “Colonial National Historic Park Photo Gallery, online at

National Park Service, “Yorktown Battlefield—Part of Colonial National Historial Park,” online at

National Park Service, “Yorktown Battlefield/Battle of the Capes” (updated 2/26/15), online at

National Park Service, “Yorktown Victory Monument,” online at

Russell S. Perkins, “Yorktown Campaign,” The Digital Encyclopedia of George Washington, online at, accessed 10/10/17.

York County, Va., Department of Community Services/Division of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, “Visit Yorktown Virginia,” online at

Yorktown Preservation Society, “Yorktown Timeline,” online at


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (  See particularly the History subject category.

Other episodes featuring music about rivers and other water bodies in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars are the following:
Revolutionary War – Episode 168, 7/1/13; EP220 – 6/30/14; Episode 273, 7/6/15; EP331 – 8/29/16;
Civil War – Episode 101, 3/5/12; Episode 104, 3/26/12; Episode 164, 6/3/13; EP201 – 2/17/14.


The episode may help with Virginia 2013 Music SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

The episode may also help with the following Virginia 2015 Social Studies SOLs:

Virginia Studies Course
VS.1 – impact of geographic features on people, places, and events in Virginia history.
VS.5 – role of Virginia in the American Revolution.
VS.10 – knowledge of government, geography, and economics in present-day Virginia.

United States History to 1865 Course
USI.2 – major land and water features of North America, including their importance in history.
USI.6 – causes, people, and results of the American Revolution.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at

Following are links to previous Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.
Episode 249 (1-19-15) - on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade;
Episode 250 (1-26-15) - on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade;
Episode 255 (3-2-15) - on density, for 5th and 6th grade;
Episode 282 (9-21-15) - on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten;
Episode 309 (3-28-16) - on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Episode 332 (9-12-16) – on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.