Gloucester Museum to Celebrate 240th Anniversary of the Battle of the Hook

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The Fire, Smoke & Muskets event hosted by the Gloucester Museum of History is set Oct. 2 and 3. (Courtesy of Kristen Christian)

GLOUCESTER — The Gloucester Museum of History is gearing up to celebrate the 240th anniversary of the Battle of the Hook as it presents “Fire, Smoke & Muskets: Gloucester 1781.”

The two-day educational and interactive program and battle will take place at the museum, located at 6539 Main Street, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 2 and 3, rain or shine.

The Battle of the Hook was fought on Oct. 3, 1781 between American forces aided by the French against the British army. This engagement is often overlooked because it took place just weeks before General Charles Cornwallis and the British army surrendered at Yorktown on Oct. 19.

At the time of this battle, Cornwallis and his troops were under siege in Yorktown, but there was still a small British fortification on Gloucester Point. According to W. Robert Kelly, Jr., coordinator for the Gloucester Museum of History, the Battle of the Hook took place to ensured that the British army had nowhere to go.

“George Washington realizes that he had Cornwallis really ‘bottled up’, as he would say, at Yorktown,” Kelly said. “Washington and the Americans had some concerns that Cornwallis would try to escape across the York River, breakout through Gloucester and continue northward.”

In order to prevent escape, American forces, as well as a French cavalry unit known as Lauzun’s Legion, defeated the British contingent at Gloucester Point in the largest cavalry battle of the American Revolution.

(Courtesy of the Gloucester Museum of History)

The family-friendly program will align with the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) for students of all ages. The program will help emphasize students’ coursework that include Virginia studies, African American History, and the Revolutionary War.

Around forty living historians from the 7th Virginia Regiment of the Continental Line will be on hand to interact with the public throughout the weekend.

There will be cannon and musket demonstrations as well as campfire cooking displays, colonial games and music.

“This kind of program allows us to bring the museum and the history to life,” Kelly said. “I love seeing students excited about learning. For students and families to see cannons and muskets firing and to see soldiers in the Revolutionary War uniforms, to go up to interpreters and ask questions and see colonial cooking; I love seeing students immersed in living history.”

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