The American Revolutionary War

In 1781, the American Revolutionary War is considered to have ended at which Virginia location?

And the answer: Yorktown.

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In October 1781, the Battle of Yorktown effectively ended the American Revolutionary War. American Continental Army troops led by George Washington combined with French Army troops, led by the Comte de Rochambeau, to win against a British army commanded by Charles Cornwallis.

Cornwallis thought strategy was on his side as he moved his base to Yorktown, Virginia. From there, he could be supplied by land or sea, and could dispatch his troops freely. However, General George Washington sensed opportunity. Once Cornwallis and his troops were in their new position, he ordered Lafayette to keep the army busy at Yorktown while combining his forces with Comte de Rochambeau’s 4,000 French troops. The combined armies rushed south, pinning Cornwallis’ army to the shore.

British naval reinforcements, sent to rescue Cornwallis, were defeated. If they tried to escape by land, the forces were sent reeling back into their fortifications. The rest of the fateful day was filled with gunfire, as some 16,000 French and American troops sent shells into British frontlines. That night, a daring attack by Alexander Hamilton and Rochambeau led to the capture of two key British forts, cutting off Cornwallis’ final route of escape. By the following morning, surrender rang through the air. The war was over.

Did you know?

As British troops marched to surrender, many refused to look in the direction of the American soldiers. Appalled by this treatment, Lafayette ordered his band to snap into a bold rendition of "Yankee Doodle."

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