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Saturday, October 30, 2021:

The 2021 Annapolis
History Festival

The 240th Anniversary of

The Battle of Yorktown:

British, American, and French Perspectives

There are two parts: 

The paid Odyssey program (10:00am - 5:00pm

and the free Public program (3:30pm - 8:00pm

with joint activities between 3:30pm and 5:00pm


Odyssey Itinerary: 10:00am - 5:00pm
(Enrollment is required for activities prior to 4:00pm and for bus service at 5:00pm and 8:00pm)
"Mini Academy"

The first part of the festival is a pay-in-advance enrollment sponsored by the Odyssey program at the Johns Hopkins University. You can register here

Place: TBA

Parking: TBA

Check in: TBA

Cost: $TBA


"The Siege of Yorktown"

The Battle from British, American, and French Perspectives

This battle was a critical turning point in the Revolution; it convinced the British it was impossible to retain the American colonies through war. In October 1781, combined French and American forces under Gen. George Washington and the Comte de Rochambeau surrounded a British army led by Lord Cornwallis and forced the surrender of over 7,000 soldiers, a major part of a much larger campaign that carried the war as far afield as the West Indies and the English Channel as well as closer to home. Annapolis served as a crucial staging post for French soldiers camped on the grounds of St. John's College and was thus an important component of the defeat of the British Empire in America.  Matthew Dziennik, Ph.D., University of Edinburgh, is an Associate Professor of British and British Imperial History in the Department of History at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis and is the author of The Fatal Land: War, Empire, and the Highland Soldier in British America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015).  He previously served as a guide at the National Colonial Battlefield Park in Yorktown and is currently working on a book about military recruitment in the British Empire.


Bus and Walking Tour: 

"Annapolis and Yorktown"

A Guided Tour of the French Soldiers' Camp

En route to Yorktown, French forces, including Marquis de Lafayette, camped in Annapolis from March 12 - April 6, 1781. Five months later, more French soldiers stayed at a second camp at St. John's College, where dozens of them died and were buried on site (over 1,000 French soldiers died in America's Revolution).  We will take a bus from the Visitor's Center to visit the military hospital site and the final resting place for the soldiers who didn't survive the march to Yorktown.



"After the Treaty of Paris"

Annapolis becomes the First Peacetime Capital of the United States

Almost two years after the Siege of Yorktown, the Treaty of Paris was signed on September 3, 1783. Many believe this treaty simply ended the war, and it did, but it also began a difficult and violent four-year period often overlooked in the history books, where a broke Congress could not meet its domestic or international financial obligations as mandated by the treaty. After many futile attempts to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles, a key meeting in Annapolis that met as Shays’ Rebellion was underway convinced many key founders that the Articles of Confederation must be replaced with an entirely new Constitution. Annapolis as a city—and Maryland as a state—were center stage as the United States struggled to meet its responsibilities as a newly sovereign nation. Mark Croatti, M.A., the University of Southern California, is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Political Science at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, teaching courses on the U.S. Constitution, Comparative Politics, and International Relations. NOTE: Lunch (and dessert) at Harry Browne's is included. The bus will take us from the French Soldiers' memorial to the restaurant.



"An Afternoon with 'John Jay' "

Annapolis from Revolution to Constitution

John Jay played a key role in the evolution of the early United States during the Revolutionary War, the Treaty of Paris period, and the start of the Constitutional era; he served as one of the presidents before George Washington under the Articles of Confederation and then became Minister to Spain; he helped negotiate and later signed the 1783 Treaty of Paris that was ratified in Annapolis, where he was appointed Secretary of Foreign Affairs and subsequently became Secretary of State; he was a co-author of The Federalist Papers; and he became the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court after the new Constitution went into effect. “John Jay” will provide intriguing details of his most notable achievements and then take questions from the audience. Phillip Webster, M.Div., Trinity Evangelical School, has portrayed John Jay in public since 1998 and has written four books on the American Revolution.


Joint Itinerary: 3:30pm - 5:00pm
(Open to the public and free for everyone, including Odyssey participants)

The second part of the festival is a free program for everyone sponsored by the Hall of Presidents Before Washington. Simply come and join us! On this map of the parking garages you will notice two that are ideal, one at the Visitors Center (#6 on the map) and the second at St. John's College (#10 on the map) as well as many others throughout the city of Annapolis. (Odyssey participants: You can leave your car at the Visitors Center garage or move it to the St. John's College garage during the dinner break; either way, there will be bus service back to the Visitors Center both at 5pm from the State House and at 8pm from St. John's College).

3:30pm - 5:00pm, inside the Maryland State House

"Revolutionary Annapolis"

From the Liberty Tree to the 1786 Convention

Owen Lourie is a historian on the staff of the Research Department at the Maryland State Archives, where he has worked since he started as an intern in 2003. Annapolis played a prominent role in many key events both preceding and following the Battle of Yorktown as an emerging nation struggled to meet the obligations of the subsequent Treaty of Paris. After the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, Annapolis served as the first peacetime capital of the United States from 1783-84, when Congress accepted General George Washington’s resignation as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, ratified the Treaty of Paris, and made two crucial appointments: Thomas Jefferson as a trade minister to France and John Jay as Secretary of Foreign Affairs. We will hear details of these events and see exactly where they took place. NOTE: Meet Tour Guide Mark Croatti outside on the Maryland State House's front steps at 3:30pm. (Odyssey participants: You can take the bus back to the Visitors Center at either 5:00pm after this talk or at 8:00pm from St. John's College; see below).

Public Itinerary: 6:30pm - 8:00pm
(Open to the public and free for everyone)

5:00pm - 6:30pm: 

Dinner Break

After the Maryland State House events end and before our concluding activities begin at St. John's College, festival attendees can eat anywhere they like but two restaurants right between both sites  offer a variety of selections under $20 (not including drinks, taxes, or tips): Harry Browne's and Galway Bay. Pick one of these restaurants and dine with our historical interpreters (at both places)!

Galway Bay under $20

(63 Maryland Ave., Annapolis)

Veggie Burger: $12                         Pub Burger: $13

New World Potato Boxty: $13        Bangers & Mash: $15 

Shepherd's Pie: $15                        Shepherd's Pie Mac & Cheese: $16

Traditional Beef Stew: $16             All Day Breakfast: $16

Dexter Burger: $18                         Fish & Chips: $18

Roasted Half Chicken: $19            Grilled Ahi Tuna Steak: $19

Harry Browne's under $20

(66 State Circle, Annapolis)

Capitol Burger: $14                                   

March On Pizza: $10 small / $15 large          Plebe Pizza: $13 small / $18 large                 

Billy the Goat Pizza: $14 small / $18 large   Tecumseh Pizza: $14 small / $19 large   

Blue Angel Pizza: $14 small / $19 large        Firsty Pizza: $14 small / $19 large

Ensign Pizza: $14 small / $19 large               Shipmate Pizza: $15 small ($20 large)   


6:30pm - 7:30pm, inside St. John's College's Key Auditorium

"The Washington-Rochambeau Historic Trail"

How France helped win the Revolutionary War

The National Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association Inc. (W3R-US) supports, interprets and preserves the Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail (WARO), commemorating the allied French, and Continental armies during the American War of Independence, and the hundreds of miles travelled to, and from, the victorious Siege of Yorktown in 1781 and 1782. National Historic Trail Administrator Johnny Carawan of the National Park Service will present a talk on the significance of the route, especially the Maryland sites near Annapolis such as the French soldiers' encampment at St. John's College and surrounding jurisdictions. NOTE: Meet Johnny inside the Key Auditorium at 7:00pm.


7:30pm - 8:00pm: 

"Annapolis and Yorktown"

A Closing Ceremony at the French Soldiers' Camp Memorial

The 2021 Annapolis History Festival will conclude with a W3R ceremony at the memorial dedicated in 1911 to the dozens of French soldiers buried at the site to thank them for their sacrifice and all French soldiers who helped win the Battle of Yorktown. (Odyssey participants: You can take the bus back to the Visitors Center at 8:00pm from the parking lot closest to the memorial site, the same spot where we were dropped off and picked up earlier in the day, before lunch).