Today In History: October 19

On October 19, 1781, one of the most significant events in the American Revolutionary War occurred – the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown. The Battle of Yorktown was the last major battle in the war, and it marked a turning point in the conflict that ultimately led to American independence.

The British had been occupying Yorktown, Virginia, for several months, fortifying the town with a series of redoubts and entrenchments. The American forces, led by General George Washington and French forces under the command of General Rochambeau, had been moving south from New York to Virginia to engage the British.

The siege of Yorktown began in late September, as the American and French forces surrounded the town and began a relentless bombardment of the British defenses. The British were outnumbered and outgunned, and their supplies were running low. As the days passed, their situation became increasingly desperate.

On October 14, a decisive assault on two key British redoubts was launched, and after fierce fighting, the Americans emerged victorious. With their defenses breached, the British had no choice but to surrender. On the morning of October 19, Lord Cornwallis sent out a drummer and a flag of truce to signal his surrender.

The terms of surrender were negotiated over the next several days, and on October 24, the British forces marched out of Yorktown and laid down their arms. The surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown was a stunning victory for the American and French forces, and it marked the end of the British military presence in the southern colonies.

The significance of the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown cannot be overstated. It was a turning point in the Revolutionary War, leading to the British government’s eventual recognition of American independence. The surrender at Yorktown also cemented the alliance between the United States and France, which played a crucial role in securing American victory in the war.

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