On This Date- October 19th

Victory at Yorktown
Hopelessly trapped at Yorktown, Virginia, British General Lord Cornwallis surrenders 8,000 British soldiers and seamen to a larger Franco-American force, effectively bringing an end to the American Revolution.

Lord Cornwallis was one of the most capable British generals of the American Revolution. In 1776, he drove General George Washington‘s Patriots forces out of New Jersey, and in 1780 he won a stunning victory over General Horatio Gates‘ Patriot army at Camden, South Carolina. Cornwallis’ subsequent invasion of North Carolina was less successful, however, and in April 1781 he led his weary and battered troops toward the Virginia coast, where he could maintain seaborne lines of communication with the large British army of General Henry Clinton in New York City. After conducting a series of raids against towns and plantations in Virginia, Cornwallis settled in the tidewater town of Yorktown in August. The British immediately began fortifying the town and the adjacent promontory of Gloucester Point across the York River.

Depiction by John Trumbull of the surrender of...

Image via Wikipedia

On October 19, General Cornwallis surrendered 7,087 officers and men, 900 seamen, 144 cannons, 15 galleys, a frigate, and 30 transport ships. Pleading illness, he did not attend the surrender ceremony, but his second-in-command, General Charles O’Hara, carried Cornwallis’ sword to the American and French commanders. As the British and Hessian troops marched out to surrender, the British bands played the song “The World Turned Upside Down.”

Although the war persisted on the high seas and in other theaters, the Patriot victory at Yorktown effectively ended fighting in the American colonies. Peace negotiations began in 1782, and on September 3, 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed, formally recognizing the United States as a free and independent nation after eight years of war.

Also on This Day

American Revolution
Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, 1781
John Z. DeLorean is arrested in $24 million cocaine deal, 1982
Civil War
Yankees are victorious at the Battle of Cedar Creek, 1864
Cold War
The first Cold War world’s fair closes, 1958
John DeLorean is arrested for drug dealing, 1982
Fire sweeps through Oakland hills, 1991
General Interest
Napoleon retreats from Moscow, 1812
Ethiopia stands alone, 1935
Guildford Four are cleared, 1989
First Blockbuster store opens, 1985
John le Carre is born, 1931
“Take on Me” music video helps Norway’s a-Ha reach the top the U.S. pop charts, 1985
Old West
Construction begins on the Sutro Tunnel in Virginia City, Nevada, 1869
Editorial accuses Jefferson of affair with slave, 1796
Rocket Richard scores 500 goals, 1957
Vietnam War
Communists attack Plei Me Special Forces camp, 1965
Kissinger discusses draft peace treaty with President Thieu, 1972
World War I
First Battle of Ypres , 1914
World War II
Chinese and Suluks revolt against Japanese in North Borneo, 1943
From History.com

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