After four and a half months crossing storm swept seas 144 weary Englishmen made land-fall in April 1607. They anchored their ships in the protected waters of the bay and landed a small party upon the shore. They built a wooden cross and planted it in the sand naming the place Cape Henry.
This is the first landing site of those adventurous Englishmen who, some three weeks later, established the first permanent English Colony in North America at Jamestown.
From this same site some 174 years later, citizens of a soon to be free and independent United States of America watched as a British fleet commanded by Admiral Graves engaged the French fleet of Admiral Comte de Grasse in a sea battle know as the Battle of the Capes. This French naval victory sealed the fate of General Cornwallis at Yorktown leading to his surrender with one third of the British contingent in America and the eventual end of the American Revolutionary War.
Today this quarter acre of beach front is commemorated with waysides, a granite memorial cross, a statue of Admiral Comte de Grasse and a walkway ramp up the dunes to a magnificent view of where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Chesapeake Bay.
Today Cape Henry Memorial is located on Fort Story Military Reservation in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Be prepared to be stopped at the guarded entrance station.