Admiral de Grasse defeats the British Navy in early
September. General Washington opts to march 400 miles
to defeat Lord Cornwallis.
As in the winter of the march on Trenton, George Washington's troops were in tatters. Food and other supplies were scarce.
What Washington had was good intelligence. He learned that the British army under Lord Cornwallis were building a naval base on the Yorktown Peninsula in Virginia.
Washington decided impulsively to march his army from NY to Virginia to try to trap the Brits.
He feinted toward New York to tie down the Brits there, then undertook the bold and risky 400-mile march to Washington.
The mid-October siege of Yorktown lasts just a few days.
In fact the British navy had been dispersed by a French fleet from the south under Admiral de Grasse and would not be coming to anyone's rescue while the French were in the York River.
So Washington, and an allied French army under General Rochambeau that came via Newport, R.I., surrounded Yorktown and bombarded the city with siege cannons brought by the French.
|Washington accepts surrender of Brits.|
After several days of this with no naval relief, Cornwallis sent word he would surrender. Washington told the British to march out and give up their arms, and the surrender began at 2 am today in 1781, five years after the Declaration of Independence.
Cornwallis sent his sword to Rochambeau, signalling that the British had been defeated by the French, not the Americans.
Back in London, the British Parliament at that time did not feel like paying for another army. They appealed to the United States for peace. The Treaty of Paris was signed two years later, and the Revolutionary War was won.