The Battle of Yorktown

1311 Words6 Pages
On October 9, 1781, General George Washington surrounded General Lord Charles Cornwallis at the Virginia port city of Yorktown with 8,500 American soldiers and around 10,000 French soldiers. The bruised up British army contained only around 8,000 soldiers. The Siege of Yorktown lasted eight days, and Cornwallis had to surrender to American forces. The British loss crushed their southern army and forced them to give up on the war. The surrender of Yorktown could easily be one of the greatest moments in American history. Not only did the surrender signal the end of the war, but it also signaled that independence had been won by the colonies. No longer would the colonies have to answer to Great Britain and the tyrants that ruled it.

The plans for Yorktown actually started up in May of 1781 when General Washington joined up with French General Rochambeau. The American forces at this time were stationed in the area of New York City closely watching British General Clinton’s forces. Washington knew that General Cornwallis who had been dominating in the south would soon be moving northward to rendezvous with Clinton’s and General Nathaniel Green’s forces. He also knew that if this happened it would be near impossible of defeating the British. As Cornwallis continued his northern track he ran into trouble at the Battle of Cowpens. In fact he lost much of his light infantry and cavalry in the Carolinas. He did score a victory at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, but this would prove to not help him much as he took severe losses and consumed a lot of time.

After the two costly battles, Cornwallis finally reached Virginia and met up with General Clinton’s reinforcements. His force would now equal around 7,000 soldiers. Cornwallis ...

... middle of paper ...

...he surrender. Even if he would have arrived much sooner, a British defeat was inevitable. He left the colonies in 1782. The colonies had become the newest nation, and named itself the United States of America. The hero of the war, George Washington went on to become the first president of the United States. Many wanted him to become the king, but he refused because he didn’t want all the power just like their tyrant cousins.

I believe that the Battle of Yorktown is the most important battle or operation in the history of our country. The defeat of the British shocked the entire world. It showed that a small nation of farmers and merchants could train into a thriving country, and gain independence from a much larger nation. Without it we could possibly be ruled by a king still today. The strategy General Washington executed against the British forces was perfect.
Open Document