Saturday, October 19, 2013

Today marks the Surrender by Cornwallis to Washington in 1781

 Note Bene ~ all entries in GREEN are links to other sites

Today is the anniversary of the surrender that ended the American Revolutionary War, in Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781. George Washington had had a difficult spring. His troops were low on supplies and food, their clothing was in shreds, and there had been a steady stream of desertions from his ranks.

By summer, Washington had only a few thousand troops camped at West Point, New York. The British expected Washington to attack New York City, which he had been planning to do for most of the spring. But when he learned that the British forces under the control of Lord Cornwallis were building a naval base on the Yorktown Peninsula in Virginia, he decided impulsively to march his army from New York to Virginia, in the hopes of trapping Cornwallis and capturing his army.

Washington's plan was one of his boldest moves of the entire war — moving his army 400 miles in order to catch his enemy by surprise. He had to march his troops toward New York City first, in order to scare the British into hunkering down for an attack. Then he quickly moved south. 

Washington's men and their French allies marched every day from 2:00 a.m. until it grew too hot to continue. It was a hot summer, and on one day, more than 400 men passed out from the heat. Few armies in history had ever moved so far so fast. Lord Cornwallis learned of Washington's approach before he arrived, but Cornwallis chose not to flee, because he thought his troops would be evacuated by the British navy. He didn't realize that the British ships had already been routed by a French fleet from the south. So in the early weeks of October, he watched as Washington's troops surrounded the city and began a siege. After several days of bombarding the city with gun and cannon fire, Washington received word that Cornwallis would surrender. Washington requested that the British march out of the city to give up their arms, and the surrender began at 2:00 a.m. on this day in 1881. The one soldier who didn't surrender was Cornwallis himself. Instead, he sent his sword with his second-in-command to be offered to the French general, signifying that the British had been defeated by the French, not the Americans.

In didn't matter though. England didn't have enough money to raise another army, and they appealed to America for peace. Two years later, the Treaty of Paris was signed, and the war was officially over.


About Cornwallis in Ireland? 

Well this isn't all about him but it does reflect a different point of view.

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