19 Oct 2018

From 1781 to 2018: Celebrating a New Victory at Yorktown 237 Years After the British Surrender

From 1781 to 2018: Celebrating a New Victory at Yorktown 237 Years After the British Surrender

On this day 237 years ago, roughly 8,000 British troops commanded by General Charles Lord Cornwallis laid down their arms in Yorktown, Virginia, surrendering to American and French forces. Terms of surrender had been arranged two days earlier - after the allies’ siege, artillery bombardment and the successful capture of Redoubts 9 and 10. Legend has it that during the surrender ceremony (although it has been since proven untrue), a British band played the nursery tune, “The World’s Turned Upside Down.” The world did indeed change that day, as most American military operations in the War for Independence then tapered off. It would take two more years for the conflict to be formally resolved. With the signing of a peace treaty between the British, French and American governments in 1783, our great nation was officially born.

Today, I’m pleased to report that your generous support has secured a 49-acre tract of priceless American history at this incredibly significant site. Using period maps, we know that French regiments under the Comte de Rochambeau, who were key allies in Gen. George Washington’s Continental Army, were encamped at this land. These brave soldiers moved back and forth across this parcel to take their positions during the siege in 1781 that foretold the end of the Revolutionary War.

Eighty-one years later, a Civil War soldier in the 4th North Carolina Infantry would write, “We are exactly on the battle ground of Washington and Cornwallis, but all that remains to be seen are the old breastworks of the British, which lie immediately behind ours. The Yankees hold the same position that Washington did.” Even then, as the ground was hallowed once again in his own time, that soldier recognized the sacred history of this place.

Now, dedicated patriots like you have made it possible for future generations to experience this twice-hallowed ground, where citizen soldiers fought for freedom in two of our nation’s defining conflicts. Thank you, thank you for helping preserve this irreplaceable American history.

American Battlefield Trust

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