The battle at Yorktown, Virginia in 1781 is most famously known as the “ battle that ended the Revolutionary War.” While this is true, there is still much that can be learned from the principles applied, that still has relevance today. General George Washington, along with his allied French commanders, Lieutenant General Jean-Baptiste Ponton de Rochambeau and Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Graves, they exquisitely displayed how a execute siege operations. This battle also displayed a great example of how multinational operations can be successful.
In August 1781, General George Washington, who was camped in New York, learned that Lieutenant General Lord Charles Cornwallis' army of nearly 9,000 soldiers was encamped near Yorktown, VA (Lengel, 2005). After discussing options with his French ally, Washington decided to quietly move his army away from New York City with the goal of crushing Cornwallis' isolated force. On 21 August; the French and American army began to march south. Any success would be dependent on the French navy's ability to prevent Cornwallis from being resupplied. This movement was supported by the fleet of Rear Admiral Comte de Grasse.
When he arrived in the Chesapeake Bay, de Grasse's ships assembled into a blockading position. On September 5, a British fleet led by Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Graves arrived and engaged the French naval ships. In the resulting Battle of the Chesapeake (Grainger, 2005), de Grasse succeeded in defeating the British and leading them away from the bay. Breaking contact, the French returned to the Chesapeake and resumed blocking Cornwallis' army from receiving any supplies or reinforcements.
Once the ground forces were in position, the French and American armies were able to bombard ...
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... way we as a military operate today. We can learn much from it. The execution of the siege of Cornwallis’ army would not have been possible without the French. Their naval prowess and additional troops were vital to our success Even though we are the predominant military power in the world; we still need our allies to be successful in future operations.
Grainger, J. (2005). The Battle of Yorktown, 1781: a reassessment. Woodbridge: Boydell Press.
Huzzard, R. E. (2004, September 2). GEORGE WASHINGTON’S PRIMER FOR MULTINATIONAL OPERATIONS: Overlooked Keys to the French-American Victory at Yorktown. Retrieved March 23, 2012, from DTIC: http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA422786
Knox, D. W. (1932). The Naval Genius of George Washington. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Lengel, E. (2005). General George Washington. New York: Random House Paperbacks.