The Patriot Film Fact or Fiction: Events
General Cornwallis sent his deputy to surrender at Yorktown:
In the film's closing narration, Benjamin Martin tells that the French arrived and General Charles Cornwallis was trapped at Yorktown and forced to surrender. He was so humiliated that he sent his second-in-command General Charles O'Hara to officially surrender to General George Washington.
On October 20, 1781, at the surrender ceremony at Yorktown, Virginia, General Cornwallis claimed illness and sent his second-in-command, Brigadier General Charles O'Hara as his representative, while Cornwallis remained out of sight in the fort.
General O'Hara first attempted to present his sword to French General Rochambeau rather than surrender to the Americans, but Rochambeau refused and directed O'Hara to General Washington. When O'Hara then offered his sword to Washington, Washington directed O'Hara to HIS second-in-command, Brigadier General Benjamin Lincoln.
In addition to General Washington's gesture as a return insult to the British for Cornwallis' absence and then trying to surrender to the French, his choice of Lincoln had further significance. General Lincoln had been the commanding officer at Charleston, South Carolina in May 1780, when he had been forced to surrender to British Commander in America Lt. General Sir Henry Clinton while General Cornwallis served as his second-in-command.
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