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Memories of WarVisiting Battlegrounds and Bonefields in the Early American Republic$
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Thomas A. Chambers

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801448676

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801448676.001.0001

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Retrieved Relics and New Monuments

Retrieved Relics and New Monuments

Lafayette in Yorktown

(p.65) Chapter Three Retrieved Relics and New Monuments
Memories of War

Thomas A. Chambers

Cornell University Press

This chapter illustrates how the slow pace of monument building, and perhaps even the neglect of Revolutionary War battlefields, indicates Americans’ hesitancy to commemorate their past and their uncertain relationship with place. Beginning with the Marquis de Lafayette’s 1824–25 tour of major battlefields, the chapter notes the minimal presence of permanent, physical markers commemorating historic events. Yorktown in particular belonged to the overwhelming majority of Revolutionary War battlefields that lacked any type of physical reminders of the events that had taken place there. Lafayette visited several battlefields to help encourage greater interest in remembering the Revolution, but his tour would not result in a sizable number of monuments being erected. Decaying fortifications and half-buried bones would remain the only reminders of the past on these sites until decades later.

Keywords:   Marquis de Lafayette, Yorktown, Revolutionary War battlefields, monument building, commemoration, battle of Yorktown

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