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The History Behind the Vision:
the Battle of Great Bridge was the first land
victory of the Revolutionary War

The Battle of Great Bridge on December 9, 1775 played a critical role in the Revolutionary War and the subsequent creation of our great nation. It was this Patriot victory that forced Lord Dunmore, British Royal Governor of Virginia, and his soldiers to evacuate and ultimately leave Virginia. As a direct result of this victory, four days after this crucial battle, the Virginia Convention adopted the first public declaration expressing a spirit of independence. How different our country might be had it not been for the Battle of Great Bridge and the significant contributions of our waterways.

 

patriotPatriots and British soldiers faced each other for eleven days and skirmished amid constant cannon fire before the climactic Battle of Great Bridge that lasted but a half-hour.
But, in that short time, patriotic volunteers showed that they could stand up to cannon fire and route a unit of the best professional soldiers in the world. Patriot soldiers poured heavy fire into the British Redcoats who marched relentlessly forward, wavered, and then came on again. Reinforcements joined Patriots in the breastwork and were ordered to withhold their fire until the British were within 50 yards. This was the first Patriot victory of the Revolutionary War.

billyflora

In winning the battle of Great Bridge on December 9, 1775, the Patriots effectively denied to the British Norfolk, the finest sea port between New York and Charleston.

It is historically significant to note that last among the Patriots to retreat was Billy Flora, a freed black slave. Before retreating into the Patriot breastwork, he ran back to take up a plank of the bridge amid a shower of musket balls to slow the British advance.

 

Click here for a more in depth narrative on the Battle of Great Bridge by the late Mrs. Elizabeth Hanbury and Mr. Jim Hodges.  

Click here for an informative article of the Albemarle & Chesapeake Canal by Lillie Gilbert, Board Member of the Foundation and local Waterways Historian.


The Great Bridge Battlefield & Waterways History Foundation

The Great Bridge Battlefield & Waterways History Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and presentation of the historical significance of the Battle of Great Bridge, the Albemarle & Chesapeake Canal, and the Dismal Swamp Canal.
The primary objective of the Foundation is to establish an Historic Park & Visitor Center in which educational displays and artifacts, electronic media, and trained staff will tell the story of the battle and the waterways. The Foundation will also foster and promote the information center as a basis to form a regional history trail that will develop into a valuable educational and economic asset for the entire region.

As a non-profit (501c3) organization, all donations to the GBB&WHF are tax deductible to the full extent allowed under the law. Click here for donation and sponsorship information.

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Events

1st & 3rd Wednesdays
Food Truck Hump Days

October 8 & 9, 2016
Waterways Heritage FestivAL

 

Sign the Petition to
Put the Battle of Great Bridge Back in the Virginia Education Standards of Learning

Construction Progress

The construction of the Battlefield Historic Park & Visitor Center will assure that generations to come will be able to learn about the rich history of both the Battle of Great Bridge and the waterways of our region.

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