Cape Henry Memorial
Colonial National Historical
P.O. Box 210
Yorktown, Virginia 23690
WELCOME to Cape
HERE AT CAPE HENRY FIRST LANDED IN AMERICA,
UPON 26 APRIL 1607, THOSE ENGLISH COLONISTS WHO, UPON 13 MAY 1607,
ESTABLISHED AT JAMESTOWN VIRGINIA, THE FIRST PERMANENT ENGLISH
SETTLEMENT IN AMERICA. Upon this inscription rest the granite
cross erected by the National Society Daughters of the American
Colonists on April 26, 1935, memorializing the wooden cross
erected near this spot by the English colonist in 1607.
Cape Henry Memorial Cross
This cross commemorates the site where a
wooden cross was erected by the early English settlers upon their
safe arrival to Virginia in April of 1607. 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.
Admiral Comte deGrasse
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.
Three-way Interpretive Panel
This panel helps explain Cape Henry's
strategic location in reference to two of America's most
significant events, the landing of English settlers in April 1607
to establish the First Permanent English Colony at Jamestown and
the Battle of the Capes which would lead to America's victory at
Yorktown and the end of the American Revolutionary War.
Lighthouses at Cape Henry
Although not a part of the National Park
system these two lighthouses have seen much history at Cape Henry.
The octagonal tower of cut stone (right lighthouse in image) was
the first lighthouse authorized by the Federal Government. It's
construction began in 1791 and it was put into service in 1792. It
served until 1881 when the checkered black and white lighthouse
was built nearby. The cut stone lighthouse is a registered
National Historic Landmark and is administered by the Association
for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities.