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March Date October 7, 2006 March Day 113

Good Day to all March to Yorktown Followers and Supporters ~

The wind and rain is relentless on this second day of the correctly predicted Nor'easter. Thunder rolls and lightning flashes in the early morning darkness.
Mike hints at postponing the day's march, hoping the men will agree but the soldiers will have none of it. Come hell or high water has arrived...and the time is now.

The soldiers prepare, dressing again in layers for warmth and topped with their oilcloths, thankful for the night's dry lodging and now dry clothing. The troops are transported to the Capitol at Williamsburg for today's starting point, and as we travel Francis Street in this quiet deserted town, we note many carriage headlights approaching our rear. We stop the carriages, the soldiers alight and stand in the pouring rain, in salute as the President's carriage entourage passes us by on their way to today's dedication of the new aircraft carrier in Newport News. Back into the carriages to the end of Francis Street for the start of today's march. We join hands in prayer for the last time.

The day's miles will be approximately 15, a difficult trek in the second day of storm conditions, but the army is determined to reach their goal as they set out on Pocahontas Trail of route 60. With Richard's arrival, the day's logistics with additional driver will be easier and the support carriage sets out to determine camp Martha's route and bring her forward to Yorktown.

Of all days to experience a glitch in directions, we find the army off course on busy route 199 instead of the Merrimac Trail of route 143. We confer at the side of the heavily travelled road with fast carriages speeding by, and decide that to correct this mile error, the army need be transported back. Half of the men board the small carriage, leaving the rest on the highway where a passing mistress and her children take pity on them and forwards the drenched men to the group at Merrimac Trail. The army begins again.

The support wagon now continues into Yorktown, finding the section of Water Street just that....flooded and closed to carriage traffic. We drive to higher ground and stop at the Visitors' Center where we chat with National Park Service Rangers John Short and Ted Fort. Word of the army's arrival here has preceeded us. Recent newspaper clippings have been posted and we are cordially given carte blanche to visit the Battlefield at any time.

Richard and Rose now take this opportunity to travel back to the Williamsburg Inn to fetch camp Martha forward to the French Trench Overlook on the York River. We pass the men, marching on course, soaked in the driving rain. One more carriage trip is needed...to fetch Richard's van forward from Francis Street in Williamsburg. All the while, the rain continues in sheets. Richard comments that this is the closest to being in a wave on land.

The army has now travelled route 238, passing the Yorktown Victory Center where they are given a musket salute, and continuing by the Riverwalk into the center of Yorktown. They take welcome refuge at York Hall on Main Street, a mere one quarter mile from our final destination. Here we are greeted by Cheryl Sanderman of York County Parks and Recreation who has arranged a wonderful welcome reception.

There is hot tea and coffee, sweets, smiles, handshakes and hugs. We are joined by Ursula and the Shumbos, and many photographs are taken before we are ushered into a reception room for formalities. We are officially welcomed and congratulated by Dan Smith, Superintendant of Colonial National Historic Parks, County Administrator James McReynolds, County Board of Supervisors Sheila Noll, Comte de Grasse Chapter DAR Nan Fogler, 96th District State Representative Melanie Rapp, York County Historical Museum Director Bonnier Karwac, and Parks and Recreation Supervisor David Meredith and his lovely wife "Sam". The four original marchers are each gifted with Victory at Yorktown posters, and the group is presented a framed Salute to the Military 1781-2006 poster and the commemorative Yorktown 225th medallion.

During this time, the rains have relented and the group now forms a line on Main Street facing southeast. This is the moment for which we have strived. Cadence is called and the final steps begin. Under the still dark skies, we march to the majestic Monument of Victory. We stand quietly, in reverance and gratitude, awed by the magnificence of our experience and remembering the great sacrifices given for the purpose of our free nation. Liberty surely did not come free. For a time, we are each lost in our thoughts as we walk the base of the monument and gaze at Lady Liberty.

The Yorktown Waterfront Tavern is our next refuge, (of course!) and here, across the street on the stretch of sandy beach, is our last ceremony. Richard has brought the 6th Connecticut's regimental pewter bowl, and we fill it with the bottle of Rochambeau wine given to us 113 days ago by Paul Graham at Waterman's Tavern, our first night's camp in Coventry, Connecticut. The bowl is passed....Richard, David, Rose, Mike and Dave all sip its contents...surely the best full, rich, red wine this writer has EVER tasted....round and round until empty. We have realized our dream.

Richard soon departs northward for home...David and Rose drive camp Martha to relatives in Poquoson, Dave and Mike return to Williamsburg motels. The day is done....the march is done. HUZZAH!! Nous sommes finis!!

Merci, Tout le monde...
Avec amour,