This Day in American History — Oct. 19

On October 19, 1781, British and Hessian troops under the command of General Lord Cornwallis surrendered to American and French forces at Yorktown, Virginia.  American commander George Washington and French commander Comte de Rochambeau headed a siege of Yorktown with a combined force of about 20,000 soldiers.

According to Wikipedia,

Cornwallis refused to meet formally with Washington, and also refused to come to the ceremony of surrender, claiming illness. Instead, Brigadier General Charles O’Hara presented the sword of surrender to Rochambeau. Rochambeau shook his head and pointed to Washington. O’Hara offered it to Washington, but he refused to accept it, and motioned to his second in command, Benjamin Lincoln, who had been humiliated by the British at Charleston, to accept it. The British soldiers marched out and laid down their arms in between the French and American armies, while many civilians watched.

Cornwallis’s surrender was the last major battle of the Revolutionary War, but it wasn’t until Sept. 3, 1783, that the final Treaty of Paris was signed, bringing the war to an official end.


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