The Battle of Yorktown

September 28th - October 19th, 1781

George Washington had found out that Cornwallis and his army were near Yorktown, Virginia. Washing and his French ally, Jean-Baptiste Ponton de Rochambeau, decide to leave New York City and go to Yorktown. They also bring Comte de Grasse's naval fleet to assist them. When de Grasse makes it to the Chesapeake, he encounters a British fleet led by Sir Thomas Graves. The British fleet attacked the French and they fought. In the end the French won the battle. Meanwhile the ground forces make it to Williamsburg where they join forces with Marquis de Lafayette's army. They all leave and head for Yorktown. When they made it to Yorktown they began to take their places around the town. The Patriots and the French out numbered the British 2-to-1. Cornwallis was hoping that the force of 5,000 men that he was promised would arrive soon. For now he had his troops fall back to the main line. Meanwhile the Patriots and the French were digging a trench. By the time it was finished it was 2,000 yards long.

For 3 days, the Patriots and the French fought the British. They continued to push closer to Yorktown as they fought. Cornwallis wrote to his ally Henry Clinton for more soldiers but never received them in time. He was eventually forced to attack the Patriots and French in their lines. The British Colonel, Robert Abercrombie, led the attack on the Patriots and French. They took some prisoners but not many. Cornwallis moved 1,000 of his men and wounded to Gloucester Point in an attempt to move them across the river and up north. On the way back the boats were caught in a storm. This left him with no ammunition. He was forced to open negotiations with Washington. On October 17th, a drummer played along side a lieutenant that was waving a white flag, the symbol of surrender.

In the end, the Patriots and French lost 72 soldiers, and had 180 wounded. The British had double this amount with 156 dead and 326 wounded. 7,018 soldiers were all that remained of Cornwallis' force and they were taken prisoner. The final surrender documents were signed on October 19th. The Patriot and French armies lined up together to await the British surrender. Cornwallis claimed to be ill and sent Charles O'Hara in his place. He tried to surrender to Rochambeau but was told to go to the Patriots. Washington realized that it wasn't Cornwallis so he had O'Hara surrender to Benjamin Lincoln who was now Washington's second-in-command. The Patriot victory at Yorktown was the last battle of the war.