How The Battle of Yorktown Started
A French fleet drove off a flotilla of British ships and sealed the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, giving 17,000 American and French soldiers a chance to close in on Yorktown and trap Cornwallis and his 8,300 men. Realizing that he was trapped and outnumbered roughly 2 to 1, Cornwallis shorted his lines and abandoned exposed positions, concentrating on an inner line of fortifications that he hoped his men could hold. Both sides dug in and set to work building forts and batteries. The Battle of Yorktown had started
Important People in the Battle
- King Henry III- King at the time
- Lord Cornwallis- Commander of Great Britain's side
- George Washington- Commander of the U.S. colonists
- Lieutenant General De Rochambeau- Commander of the French
- Benedict Arnold- American General whom betrayed the Americans
Important Things to Know
- War: American Revolutionary War
- Date: Sep. 28th, 1781 to Oct. 19, 1781
- Place: Virginia
- Combatants: Americans and French against the British
- Army sizes: 8,800 Americans, 7,800 French, and 6,000 British
- Winners- The Americans and the French
Americans and French (left) fighting the British (right)
- February, 1781- The Major General Marquis de Lafayette was ordered to take his Continental troops to Virginia.
- May 10, 1781- British General Charles Cornwallis and his army entered Virginia
- August 1–2, 1781- Cornwallis and his army encamped at Yorktown. Lafayette's spies overheard Cornwallis's plans and relayed word to General George Washington in New York.
- August 19, 1781- Washington began to move the allied army south secretly.
- September 14, 1781- The British navy withdrew from the Virginia coast.
- September 14, 1781- Washington and French General Rochambeau arrived in Williamsburg.
- October 19, 1781- British troops under Cornwallis surrendered to Washington’s combined American and French forces
- October 28, 1781- Cornwallis signed a parole agreeing to stop fighting the Americans.
- September 3, 1783- By the terms of the Treaty of Paris, Great Britain recognized the independence of the United States.
How it Ended
On October 17, a lone British drummer boy suddenly appeared atop the Yorktown defenses and began to beat the call for a parley. One by one the American and French guns fell silent. A British officer then stepped out from his lines under a flag of truce and walked forward across the space that divided the two armies. Allied officers met him and, blindfolded, he was led to General Washington's headquarters. A cease-fire and negotiations followed. Then, at 2 p.m. on October 19, 1781, the 9,000 American and 8,000 French soldiers lined up facing each other. Cornwallis said was he was ill, so British Brigadier General Charles O'Hara led the King's army out of Yorktown.