The battle took place in Yorktown, Virginia, from September 28-October 19, 1781. It was a decisive victory by combined assault of American forces and French forces over a British Army. It proved to be the last major land battle of the American Revolutionary War in North America, as the surrender of the British army prompted the British government eventually to negotiate an end to the conflict. Location and Date
This battle involved thousands of people, for your knowledge: the fleet of Frenchman that arrived in Rhode Island to assist their American allies had over 5,000 men, but the most influential were: George Washington, General of the American Army. Lord Charles Cornwallis, commander of the British Army Nathanael Greene, General Washington’s most gifted and dependable officer. Comte de Rochambeau, Leader of the French Forces. Comte de Grasse,also leader of French Forces. Henry Clinton, ally of Lord Cornwallis. Influential Personalities
1st Division: Rochembeau commanded the 7,800 Frenchman contingent. They occupied the left wing, or northwestern sector, of the siege line. 2nd Division: The American troops formed the base of the right, or southern sector, with two wings of 8,845 troops. 3rd Division of 3,200 Virginia militiamen were commanded by the Americans. They occupied the southeastern sector, or far right wing of the siege line. Washington had the American-French army organized into 3 divisions on the siege line:
In August 1781, General George Washington learned that Major General Lord Charles Cornwallis' army was settled near Yorktown, VA. He decided to quietly move his army away from New York City with the goal of crushing Cornwallis’ forces. Washington and Rochambeau began the march to Yorktown on September 28. In Yorktown, Cornwallis held out hope that a promised relief force of 5,000 men would arrive to assist him. What happened?
The siege line was initially established 2 miles below Yorktown in a giant arc, with the French on the west and the Americans on the south and east. On October 6, the allied force commanded by Washington and Rochambeau was ready to begin formal siege operations. On October 9, the bombardment of Yorktown began with firing the first shots at 3:00 P.M. Cont…
On October 10, 3 or 4 ships were destroyed by the allied French forces. On October 14, The allies immediately consolidated their positions in anticipation of a British counterattack. However, Cornwallis did not counterattack. That night, the Allies began incorporating the two forts into the right wing of the second parallel. They could now fire and hit any point within Yorktown. On October 16, In the evening, Cornwallis ordered an evacuation of his troops. He decided to attempt a breakthrough and a march northward to New York. Bad weather, a lack of adequate transports, and being bombarded by the American-French force forced him to abort the effort. Cornwallis now knew that he was out of options.
On October 19 , the surrender document was delivered to Cornwallis. He was to sign and return it by 11:00 A.M. and had to march out at 2:00 P.M. to surrender. Sometime before noon, the document returned with Cornwallis’ signature. Washington and Rochambeau signed for the allies. And the battle was over!! And finally!!...the British surrender
The victory at Yorktown was the last major engagement of the American Revolution and effectively ended the conflict in the American's favor.
"I bore much for the sake of peace and the public good. My conscience tells me I acted rightly in these transactions, and should they ever come to the knowledge of the world I trust I shall stand acquitted by it." - Letter to General Nathanael Greene, October, 1781 Cont…
Davis, Kenneth C. Don't Know Much About American History. New York, NY: HarperCollinsPublishers, 2003. Print. The American Revolutionary War. Genealogy Inc., 2010. Web. 20 Sep. 2010. <http://www.myrevolutionarywar.com/battles/810928.htm>. Revolutionary War and Beyond. Minuteman, 2010. Web. 20 Sep. 2010. <http://www.revolutionary-war-and-beyond.com>. BritishBattles.Rotherfield House, 2010. Web. 20 Sep. 2010. <http://www.britishbattles.com/battle-yorktown.htm>. Bibliography: