Long-neglected Battle of the Hook finally getting its due

by Bob Ruegsegger - Posted on Oct 16, 2013 - 12:47 PM

Photo: Dragoons—technically—were mounted infantrymen who could fight on horseback or on foot. During the American Revolution dragoons were deployed mainly as cavalry. Dragoon comes from the term dragon, a weapon that gave a particularly fiery blast, that was used initially by dragoons. Photo by Bob Ruegsgegger

Dragoons—technically—were mounted infantrymen who could fight on horseback or on foot. During the American Revolution dragoons were deployed mainly as cavalry. Dragoon comes from the term dragon, a weapon that gave a particularly fiery blast, that was used initially by dragoons. Photo by Bob Ruegsgegger

For more than 225 years, the Franco-American victory at Yorktown has been commemorated with a host of ceremonies, monuments and re-enactments.

Across the York River in Gloucester an important Revolutionary War engagement that took place simultaneously called the Battle of the Hook had never—not once—been commemorated until a group of Gloucester citizens decided to host a re-enactment of that fight at Warner Hall in Gloucester.

Lt. Colonel Banastre Tarleton, commander of General Cornwallis’s cavalry, engaged with Duc de Lauzun’s hussars and the Virginia militia at The Hook on Oct. 3, 1781. Tarleton withdrew to the British earthworks at Gloucester Point. The Battle of the Hook was Tarleton’s last fight.

That was five years ago. Gloucester residents who attended the re-enactment and Revolutionary War re-enactors who participated in the exceptional event are still talking about it. Everything they’ve been saying has been positive.

"It will be five years since the last Battle of the Hook event. We were going to wait 10," said Carol Steele, director of parks, recreation, and tourism in Gloucester County. "It was so successful that people came to us. Re-enactors came to us and asked us to do it again," she said. "It was a great experience. As great as it was, we knew that we could make it even better."

Steele and her team handle the logistics for the event—water buffaloes, toilets, and emergency medical services. Her goal is to see to the "nuts and bolts" and make sure everything goes smoothly.