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Battle of Green Spring
Part of American Revolutionary War
Date July 6, 1781
Location James City County, Virginia
Result British Victory
United States Kingdom of Great Britain
United States Marquis Lafayette

United States Anthony Wayne

United Kingdom Charles Cornwallis
800 5,000
Casualties and losses
28 Killed
122 Wounded [1]
75 Killed and Wounded [1]

Battle of Green Spring took place near Green Spring Plantation in James City County, Virginia during the American Revolutionary War. On July 6, 1781 United States General "Mad" Anthony Wayne was ambushed at Green Springs Farm by the British army in the last major battle of the Virginia campaign prior to the Siege of Yorktown.



Green Spring site

Green Spring is a colonial era plantation developed by Royal Governor Sir William Berkeley in Virginia near the northwest tip of Jamestown Island, southwest of Williamsburg.


Campaign events

Map of the Virginia campaign

Lord Cornwallis having failed to defeat the Marquis de Lafayette in the campaign in Virginia, was marching from Williamsburg to position his army at a secure port, Yorktown. Lafayette was aggressively following, avoiding a general engagement, but expecting to attack the isolated British rear guard, after the bulk of the British army had embarked at the Jamestown ferry. He sent an advance guard under Wayne to attack in the afternoon after 3:00, accompanying him, and leaving the bulk of his Virginia militia forces at the Green Spring Plantation under von Steuben. The advanced guard consisted of the rifles corps of Call and Willis and a squadron of dragoons, followed by the Pennsylvania line under Wayne.

The battle

Battle of Green Spring

But Cornwallis laid a trap, concealing the bulk of his forces in the woods, while showing a small Jäger skirmish line astride the road. General Wayne with 800 men was unknowingly facing the entire British Army of 5,000 men under General Cornwallis.

The American riflemen pushed forward, supported by the battalions of Major Galvin, and Major Willis, of Connecticut, and Col. Stewart's Regt. and two other Pennsylvania Battalions. The Jagers retired, while the concealed British sprang on each flank, Lieutenant Colonel York on the left, and Lieutenant Colonel Dundas on the right, with Dundas were the Forty-third, Seventy-sixth, and the Eightieth Regiments.

The American militia on the left retreated, while the Pennsylvania line on the right retired stubbornly. Lafayette's horse was killed under him.[2]

Wayne now perceived the dangerous trap. Wayne, recognizing that he would be overwhelmed before the rest of the American army could arrive, organized a bayonet charge. The British recoiled, and the British advance was temporarily halted, allowing Wayne to disengage and retreat from contact with the enemy. Lafayette had drawn up some troops 1/2 mile behind Wayne, in support.[3]


The British did not pursue the retreating Americans, and resumed their loading on transports to Portsmouth, and then later to Yorktown.

In the battle, the British had about 70 rank and 5 officer casualties. The Americans had 28 killed, with a total of 140 killed, wounded and captured, and two 6 pounders lost.

The Americans escaped a 'near run thing', and Cornwallis covered his embarkation on the James river. The British failed to eliminate resistance in Virginia, while collecting large amounts of supplies. Cornwallis proceeded complacently to Yorktown.


External links

Coordinates: 37°14′.105″N 76°47′.108″W / 37.2333625°N 76.78336333°W / 37.2333625; -76.78336333



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