The Patriot Resource - American Revolution

Continental General George Washington
George Washington Born: February 22, 1732; Westmoreland County, Virginia
Died: December 14, 1799; Mount Vernon, Virginia

Battles: Trenton, Yorktown

Revolutionary War: 1781
Finally on August 30, 1781, General George Washington dropped the deception and marched to Princeton, which the advanced troops reached that same day. They reached Philadelphia on September 1, 1781. On September 2, 1781, General Washington led his army through Philadelphia. On the same day Lt. General Henry Clinton finally realized that Washington was marching to Virginia. Still, he was not overly concerned and merely sent a letter to Lt. General Charles Cornwallis that told of the movements and also of expected reinforcements.

The French troops made and impressive display to the colonists as they made their way through Philadelphia on the 3rd and 4th. On September 5th, after arriving at Chester, Pennsylvania, Washington learned of Admiral de Grasse's arrival in Chesapeake Bay. On September 6, Washington reached Head of Elk, Maryland. Washington now rode ahead with General Rochambeau and their staffs for a visit to his home at Mount Vernon, which he had not seen in six years. They arrived on September 9th and remained there until the 12th.

On September 12, 1781, Washington learned that Admiral de Grasse's fleet had disappeared to confront an approaching British fleet, while he still had no news as to Admiral de Barras' whereabouts. On September 14, 1781, the combined Continental and French force reached the Virginia peninsula. On September 15, news arrived that de Grasse had returned and de Barras had been able to get out of Newport and reach Chesapeake without encountering the British fleet. Washington and Rochambeau arrived at Yorktown on September 28, 1781 having Williamsburg, Virginia at around 5:00 A.M. and moved to with a mile of Cornwallis' defenses by dark.

On September 29, 1781. Washington inspected the British position while the army continued to surround Yorktown. Artillery and siege equipment and stores were also brought to the front. On September 30, the allies discovered that the British had abandoned three outposts that had covered the southwest approach to Yorktown. On October 6, 1781, Washington and Rochambeau were ready to begin formal siege operations. The first parallel was completed and the Siege of Yorktown was underway as bombardment of General Cornwallis' fortifications began on October 9, 1781.

By October 10, 1781, forty-six guns were in place and inflicted so much damage that General Cornwallis was only able to return about six round an hour. A flag of truce appeared at noon on the 10th. After dusk on October 11, digging was begun in preparation for an assault on British Redoubts Nos 9 and 10 on the southeast side of Yorktown, which was necessary to complete the second tighter parallel. After concentrating artillery fire on those positions, General Washington was notified at about 2:00 P.M. on October 14, 1781, that an assault was now possible. At 7:00 P.M. that evening the two redoubts were assaulted and secured. The allies immediately consolidated their positions in anticipation of a British counterattack, which did not come.

On the evening of October 16, 1781, General Cornwallis attempted to ferry across the York River to see about fighting his way out by way of Gloucester, but a storm frustrated these efforts. On October 17, the allies brought more than 100 guns into action for their heaviest bombardment yet. Cornwallis could no longer hold for reinforcements from General Clinton and around 10:00 A.M. on October 17, 1781, a parley was called for by the British. General Washington gave Cornwallis two hours to submit his proposals, which were received by 4:30 P.M. that afternoon.

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