Yorktown Campaign > Skirmish at Water's Creek

Skirmish at Water's Creek


The Skirmish at Waters Creek, also known as the Battle of Great Bridge, occurred on December 9, 1775, in the early stages of the American Revolutionary War. This engagement took place near Great Bridge, Virginia, and was a decisive conflict between the Virginia militia and British forces. The skirmish was significant in securing the colony of Virginia for the American cause and demonstrated the growing effectiveness of the colonial militias.


The Skirmish:

  1. British Fortifications:

    • The British forces, numbering around 600 troops, fortified a position on the north side of the Elizabeth River near Great Bridge. They constructed earthworks and blockades to defend the bridge.
  2. American Strategy:

    • Colonel Woodford and his militia, numbering about 900, camped on the south side of the bridge. They planned a surprise attack to overrun the British defenses and gain control of the bridge.
  3. The Battle:

    • On the morning of December 9, 1775, the American forces launched their attack. The British forces, under the command of Captain Samuel Leslie, were initially unaware of the strength and position of the American militia.
    • The American troops advanced across the causeway and engaged the British forces. Despite being outnumbered, the British put up a strong defense but were ultimately overwhelmed by the determined American assault.
  4. Outcome:

    • The skirmish resulted in a decisive victory for the American forces. British casualties included several killed, wounded, and captured, while American losses were minimal.
    • The victory at Great Bridge forced Governor Dunmore and the British troops to retreat to Norfolk, abandoning their fortified position.

Aftermath and Significance:

The Skirmish at Waters Creek, though relatively small in scale, was a pivotal early victory for the American forces in the Revolutionary War. It helped solidify support for the revolutionary cause in Virginia and set the stage for further American successes in the conflict.

Yorktown Campaign Battles


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