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Encyclopedia > Battle of Yorktown (1781)
Battle of Yorktown
Part of the American Revolutionary War

Surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown
by John Trumbull. Oil on canvas, 1797.
Date: September 28October 17, 1781
Location: Yorktown, Virginia
Result: Decisive Franco-American victory
Combatants
Britain Colonial America
France
Commanders
Charles Cornwallis George Washington
Comte de Rochambeau
Strength
7,500 8,845 Americans
7,800 French
Casualties
156 killed
326 wounded
7,018 captured
Americans: 20 killed, 56 wounded
French: 52 killed, 134 wounded
Southern theater, 1775–1783
Williamsburg – Great BridgeMoore's Creek BridgeRice BoatsAlligator BridgeKettle CreekBriar CreekSavannahCharlestonCamdenKings MountainCowpensGuilford Court HouseHobkirk's HillEutaw SpringsYorktown

The Battle of Yorktown (1781) was a victory by a combined American and French force led by General George Washington, Marquis de Lafayette, and the French General Comte de Rochambeau over a British army commanded by General Lord Charles Cornwallis. The surrender of Cornwallis' army caused the British government to negotiate an end to the American Revolutionary War. Combatants American Revolutionaries, France, Netherlands, Spain, allies British Empire, allies Commanders George Washington Comte de Rochambeau Nathanael Greene William Howe Henry Clinton Charles Cornwallis The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was the military component of the American Revolution. ... Image File history File links Yorktown80. ... John Trumbull, 1756–1843 John Trumbull (June 6, 1756–November 10, 1843), was a famous American artist from the time of the American Revolutionary War. ... 1797 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... September 28 is the 271st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (272nd in leap years). ... October 17 is the 290th (in leap years the 291st) day of the year according to the Gregorian calendar. ... 1781 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... York Hall is a government building on Yorktowns historic Main Street. ... For colonies not among the Thirteen colonies, see European colonization of the Americas or English colonization of the Americas. ... Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis (December 31, 1738-October 5, British general and colonial governor. ... Image File history File links White_flag_icon. ... George Washington (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799) was the successful Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War from 1775 to 1783, and later became the first Elected President of the United States, an office to which he was elected, unanimously, twice and remained in... Jean Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau (July 1, 1725 – May 10, 1807), French soldier, was born at Vendôme (Loir-et-Cher). ... The Southern theater of the American Revolutionary War became the central area of operations on land after France entered the war on the side of the United States. ... Combatants Patriot militia British militia Commanders Strength 7,500 8,845 Casualties 156 killed 326 wounded 7,018 captured Americans: 20 killed, 56 wounded French: 52 killed, 134 wounded {{{notes}}} The Battle of Great Bridge was a battle of the American Revolutionary War, fought in the area of Great Bridge... The Battle of Moores Creek Bridge was fought on February 27, 1776 between North Carolina patriots and Scottish Loyalists. ... The Battle of the Rice Boats was a battle of the American Revolution that took place in the Savannah River on the border between the Province of Georgia and the Province of South Carolina. ... The Battle of Alligator Bridge took place on June 30, 1778, and was the major engagement in Colonel Elijah Clarks third, and final, unsuccessful campaign to conquer East Florida. ... The Battle of Kettle Creek took place on February 14, 1779 in the extreme western portion of Wilkes County, Georgia on Kettle Creek which used to drain into the Little River (the creek has since dried up). ... The Battle of Briar Creek was fought on March 3, 1779 between American and British forces. ... hi The Siege of Savannah was a battle of the American Revolutionary War in 1779. ... This article needs cleanup. ... The Battle of Camden was an important battle in the southern theatre of the American Revolutionary War. ... The [[Battle of Kings Mountain]], October 7, 1780, was an important rebel victory in the Southern campaign of the American Revolutionary War. ... Combatants United States Great Britain Commanders Daniel Morgan Banastre Tarleton Strength 1,000 1,100 Casualties 12 killed 61 wounded 110 killed 830 captured {{{notes}}} The Battle of Cowpens (1781) was an overwhelming victory by American revolutionary forces under Brigadier General Daniel Morgan. ... Combatants Britain United States Commanders Charles Cornwallis Nathanael Greene Strength 1,900 4,400 Casualties 93 killed 439 wounded 26 missing Total: 558 79 killed 185 wounded 1,046 missing Total: 1,310 The Battle of Guilford Court House was a battle fought on March 15, 1781 inside the present... The Battle of Hobkirks Hill was on April 25, 1781. ... The Battle of Eutaw Springs was a battle of the American Revolutionary War, the last engagement of the war in the Carolinas. ... 1781 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... General is a high military rank, used by nearly every country in the world. ... George Washington (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799) was the successful Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War from 1775 to 1783, and later became the first Elected President of the United States, an office to which he was elected, unanimously, twice and remained in... Marie-Joseph-Paul-Roch-Yves-Gilbert du Motier, marquis de La Fayette (September 6, 1757 – May 20, 1834), was a French aristocrat most famous for his participation in the American Revolutionary War and early French Revolution. ... Jean Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau (July 1, 1725 - May 10, 1807), French soldier, was born at Vend me (Loir-et-Cher). ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Combatants American Revolutionaries, France, Netherlands, Spain, allies British Empire, allies Commanders George Washington Comte de Rochambeau Nathanael Greene William Howe Henry Clinton Charles Cornwallis The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was the military component of the American Revolution. ...

Contents


Background

When General Rochambeau met General Washington in Wethersfield, Connecticut on May 22, 1781 to determine their strategy against the British, they made plans to move against New York City, which was occupied by about 10,000 men under General Sir Henry Clinton, the overall British commander. Wethersfield is a census-designated place located in Hartford County, Connecticut. ... May 22 is the 142nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (143rd in leap years). ... Nickname: The Big Apple Official website: City of New York Government Counties (Boroughs) Bronx (The Bronx) New York (Manhattan) Queens (Queens) Kings (Brooklyn) Richmond (Staten Island) Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) Geographical characteristics Area Total 468. ... General Sir Henry Clinton K.B. Commander-in-Chief of British troops in America. ...


Meanwhile, word had come from General Lafayette in Virginia that Cornwallis had taken up a defensive position at Yorktown, Virginia, next to the York River. Cornwallis had been campaigning in the southern colonies and had cut a wide swath, but his 7,000 troops were now tired and in need of supplies. Under instructions from Clinton, Cornwallis moved the army to Yorktown in order to link up with the Royal Navy.69 Official language(s) English Capital Richmond Largest city Virginia Beach Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 35th 110,862 km² 320 km 690 km 7. ... York Hall is a government building on Yorktowns historic Main Street. ... The York River is a navigable estuary, approximately 40 mi (64 km) long, in eastern Virginia in the United States. ... The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom is the senior service of the British armed services, being the oldest of its three branches. ...


On July 19, 1781, while encamped at Dobbs Ferry, New York, Washington learned of the Virginia campaign of Cornwallis and wrote that "I am of Opinion, that under these Circumstances, we ought to throw a sufficient Garrison into W Point; leave some Continental Troops and Militia to cover the Country contiguous to New York, and transport the Remainder (both French and American) to Virginia, should the Enemy still keep a Force there."[1] Dobbs Ferry is a village located in Westchester County, New York. ... Official language(s) None, English de facto Capital Albany Largest city New York City Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 27th 141,205 km² 455 km 530 km 13. ... Official language(s) English Capital Richmond Largest city Virginia Beach Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 35th 110,862 km² 320 km 690 km 7. ...


On August 14, 1781, Washington received confirmation that the French Admiral de Grasse, stationed in the West Indies, was sailing with his fleet to the Chesapeake Bay. Abandoning the New York campaign, Washington now knew that the Americans and French might be able to trap Cornwallis' army at Yorktown. August 14 is the 226th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (227th in leap years), with 139 days remaining. ... Fran ois Joseph Paul, marquis de Grasse Tilly, comte de Grasse (1722 - January 1788), French admiral, was born at Bar, in the present d partment of the Alpes-Maritimes. ... The Caribbean or the West Indies is a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea. ... Chesapeake Bay - Landsat photo The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. ...


Siege at Yorktown

Admiral de Grasse sailed his French battle fleet of twenty-eight ships north toward Virginia. Simultaneously, on August 21, 1781, Washington began moving his army south. As they marched south, Admiral de Grasse's fleet arrived at the Chesapeake Bay. De Grasse defeated Admiral Thomas Graves' fleet in the Battle of the Chesapeake and won control of the bay. Cornwallis was now stranded. August 21 is the 233rd day of the year (234th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... Thomas Graves, 1st Baron Graves (ca. ... Combatants France Britain Commanders Comte de Grasse Thomas Graves Strength 24 ships 19 ships Casualties none some ships damaged The Battle of the Chesapeake, also known as Battle of the Virginia Capes, was a crucial naval battle in the American Revolutionary War which took place near the mouth of Chesapeake...


On September 28, Washington and Rochambeau, along with Lafayette's troops and 3,000 of de Grasse's men, arrived at Yorktown. In all, there were approximately 17,000 men converging on Cornwallis' camp. The city was soon surrounded and under heavy fire. September 28 is the 271st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (272nd in leap years). ...


On October 14, the Franco-American forces captured two major British redoubts. After a useless counterattack, Cornwallis offered to surrender on October 17. On October 19, the papers were signed and he officially surrendered. About 7,000 British troops became prisoners to the American forces. October 14 is the 287th day of the year (288th in Leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The introduction of this article does not provide enough context for readers unfamiliar with the subject. ... Surrender is when soldiers give up fighting and become prisoners of war, either as individuals or when ordered to by their officers . ... October 17 is the 290th (in leap years the 291st) day of the year according to the Gregorian calendar. ... October 19 is the 292nd day of the year (293rd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ...


Conclusion

The British prisoners amounted to about a quarter of all British militia in the American colonies. It was not clear at the time that Yorktown was the climax of the war, since the British still occupied key ports such as New York City and Charleston, South Carolina. Sporadic fighting continued after the Yorktown surrender, and Washington believed the war might drag on for another year. Betsy Ross purportedly sewed the first American flag with 13 stars and 13 stripes representing each of the 13 colonies. ... Seaport, a painting by Claude Lorrain, 1638 The Port of Wellington at night. ... This article is about the city in South Carolina. ...


However, British Prime Minister Lord North resigned after receiving news of the surrender at Yorktown. His successors decided that it was no longer in Britain's best interest to continue the war, and negotiations were undertaken. The British signed the Treaty of Paris (1783), recognizing the United States and promising to remove all her troops from the country. In the United Kingdom, the Prime Minister is the head of government, exercising many of the executive functions nominally vested in the Sovereign, who is head of state. ... Frederick North, 2nd Earl of Guilford (April 13, 1732–August 5, 1792), more often known by his earlier title, Lord North, was Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1770 to 1782, and a major actor in the American Revolution. ... Painting by Benjamin West depicting John Jay, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Laurens, and William Temple Franklin. ...


A formal surrender ceremony took place on the morning following the battle. Cornwallis refused to attend out of pure embarrassment, claiming illness. The British forces marched to the fife tune of "The World Turned Upside Down." Cornwallis' deputy at first attempted to surrender to the French General Rochambeau, who is reputed to have said, "Vous vous trompez, monsieur. Le general de notre arme est la" (you are mistaken, sir, the general of our army is there, pointing to George Washington). The lieutenant then attempted to surrender to Washington, who refused because it was not Cornwallis himself, and indicated that the subordinate should surrender to General Lincoln, Washington's least favorite general because he had botched the southern campaign. Cornwallis' lieutenant ceremonially offered his sword to Lincoln, which was ironically refused. All other British troops were require to surrender and trample their firearms in the custom of the time. Thus ended the military aspect of the American Revolution.


External Links


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