General George Washington, General Jean-Baptiste Rochambeau

The British Surrender At Yorktown, Virginia

Painting of General Cornwallis surrendering to General George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia.

Lord Cornwallis had many victories at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, including leading his army to drive out the Continental Army our of the Colony of New York. However, Benjamin Franklin convinced the French crown to support the rebel American army which in turn changed the tide of the war.

On October 19, 1781, after French forces, lead by General Jean-Baptiste Rochambeau, and American forces, lead by General George Washington took back the lands seized by the British in Yorktown by laying a siege, which included a French blockage of ships entering ports in Virginia, that kept the British from getting ammunition and other supplies. As a result of the blockade, Lord Cornwallis surrendered to General George Washington’s army at Yorktown, Virginia.

Sydney King’s painting of French cannons stationed in Yorktown.

The terms of General Cornwallis’s surrender were negotiated, outside of Yorktown, at the Moore House. However, Generals Washington and Cornwallis never met at the Moore Josue during the negotiation period.

Sketch of the Moore House.

The U.S. National Park Service maintains an interpretive trail that shows the events that led to the British surrender.

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