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• George Washington
American Revolution
Revolutionary War
Charles Cornwallis
Nathanael Greene
Henry Clinton
Benjamin Lincoln
Treaty of Paris


Definition: American victory that ended the Revolutionary War on October 20, 1781. British General Charles Cornwallis had met defeat in the south, at Cowpens, and his force had been continually weakened, especially by American General Nathanael Greene at Guilford Courthouse. Cornwallis left the Carolinas and proceeded north to Yorktown, Virginia, there to await reinforcements from General Henry Clinton, who was occupied in the north. American forces under Greene and Commander-in-Chief George Washington pursued Cornwallis by land while French ships surrounded the bay of Yorktown. Faced with the prospect of no reinforcements, Cornwallis stood and fought. But the Americans won the battle and the war. At the surrender ceremony, Cornwallis's sword was accepted by General Benjamin Lincoln while a British band played "The World Turned Upside Down." This was the last major battle of the war, although some minor skirmishes took place for the next two years, until the Treaty of Paris ended the war in 1783.


Related Resources:
Yorktown Battle Map (large)

Yorktown Siege Map (large)

The American Revolutionary War
This fun, illustrated article tells you all you need to know about this famous war, from an easy-to-understand point of view.

Elsewhere on the Web:
KidPort: The Surrender at Yorktown
Some good background, as well as the famous picture of the surrender.

The Battle of Yorktown
This site has a few details and the text of Cornwallis's letter sent to George Washington.

Lots of Details about Yorktown
Excellent details here!

Map of the Battle
See just how surrounded the British really were!

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