Yorktown, Virginia, October. 19
British and German troops, mad and disappointed by defeat, marched sullenly out of their encampment in Yorktown early this afternoon. The victory of Commander chief George Washington could very well mean the end of the war.
¨Oh God!¨ Yelled Prime Minister Lord North when he heard the big new. ¨It is all over.¨
The royal troops under the command of General Lord Cornwallis were forced to march through two columns of French and American soldiers. Cornwallis had provided his men with flashy new uniforms, but the men were not disciplined. Some appeared to be drunk, and most of the British were ¨disorderly and unsoldierly.¨ When ordered to surrender their weapons, many of them started ¨throwing their arms on the pile with violence. They were mostly useless. The victorious Americans wearing old tattered uniforms, showed an erect ¨soldierly air,¨ and every support beamed with joy.
The victory by George Washington added to his good name as a military genius, and stories from Yorktown can only build up his good name. Washington´s original intention was to attack the forces of General Henry Clinton at New York. He abandoned the plan after realizing he was badly outnumbered. Upon learning that French warships under the command of Comte Francois de Grasse were sailing for the West Indies for the Chesapeake to prevent a British escape by sea. Washington outsmarted Clinton and rushed to Virginia. Cornwallis abandoned with a harsh fight on September 30. The American solidified their position by digging a ditch and moving in heavy guns. Their gun ¨mortar¨ and cannon fire was very accurate. As British defenses fall apart, the Americans and French under the command of the Marquis de Lafayette, mounted an assault on two major enemy ¨fortifications¨ during the night of October 14. The French crashed over the top of one barrier within half and hour. Cornwallis realized the cause was lost. Last night, he tried to retreat across the river to Gloucester. A storm made the crossing impossible.
This morning, pleading illness, Cornwallis sent General O´Hara to surrender. O´Hara offered his sword to the French general who directed him to Washington, who in turn directed him General Lincoln, who had been humiliated by the British at the Battle of Charleston. Lincoln accepted the sword. (January 5, 1782)