Skirmish at Kemp’s Landing Virginia Historical Highway Marker to be Dedicated Nov. 10

Friday, November 02, 2018

​The Virginia Beach Historic Preservation Commission will dedicate a state highway marker to commemorate the Skirmish at Kemp's Landing on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 10 a.m.

The marker will be placed in Kempsville along South Witchduck Road near where the skirmish is believed to have taken place. The marker dedication ceremony will be held at the marker site just south of Singleton Way.  In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 5181 Singleton Way. Kempsville Councilmember Jessica Abbott will be speaking at the event. The public is invited to attend.

The skirmish occurred Nov. 15, 1775 between members of the Princess Anne County militia and British troops under Virginia Governor Lord Dunmore. The engagement was fairly brief as the patriots were quickly routed by the professional British soldiers. John Ackiss and several other local men were killed, making them the first patriots killed in battle in Virginia in the American Revolution.

The skirmish gave Lord Dunmore a clear indication that he was quickly losing control of the Colony of Virginia.  Upon his victory, he issued his "Proclamation" declaring martial law in Virginia and offering freedom to slaves and indentured servants willing to fight for the king. That proclamation was read from a Loyalist home at Kemp's Landing. As a result, citizens were forced to declare their loyalty to the king or be declared a rebel. 

The text for the marker was researched and developed by local historian Christopher Pieczynski, who received a grant award from the Virginia Beach Historic Preservation Commission to research the event, develop the text and fund the marker. The Virginia Board of Historic Resources approved the marker application at its March 2018 quarterly meeting. The Skirmish at Kemp's Landing marker will be the 16th state highway marker placed in Virginia Beach. Virginia's historical marker program is the oldest such program in the nation.

The Virginia Beach Historic Preservation Commission is a City Council-appointed body that advises Council on issues related to historic preservation. The group seeks to preserve, protect and maintain the historic integrity of Virginia Beach and the former Princess Anne County through a program of advocacy and increased public awareness and involvement. The commission generally meets the first Wednesday evening of the month, except July and August, at 2101 Parks Ave., Suite 500. Please visit for additional information about the Historic Preservation Commission.


1781 French Map "Plan des environs de Williamsburg, York, Hampton, et Portsmouth" from the Library of Congress

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