The Battle of Yorktown, Virginia began on September 28, 1781, and became the final major battle of the Revolutionary War that was fought in the American colonies. A large force of Continental and French troops led by General George Washington and French General Comte de Rochambeau fought the British on land, aided by a French fleet commanded by Count de Grasse, which blocked the British escape by sea. The Americans had a fighting force of approximately 8,800 aided by 7,800 French soldiers against a British force of 6,000. On September 28, the combined Continental and French troops had completely surrounded the forces of British General Lord Charles Cornwallis. After three weeks of day and night bombardment by cannon and artillery, Cornwallis surrendered to Washington in the field at Yorktown on October 17, 1781. As the British troops marched out to stack their guns, their bands played “The World Turned Upside Down.” Yorktown proved to be the final battle of the American Revolution. At the formal surrender ceremony on October 19, Cornwallis pleaded illness and did not attend. His second in command, General Charles O’Hara, carried Cornwallis’ sword to the American and French commanders. The Patriot victory ended the fighting in the colonies, though the war persisted on the high seas and other locations. Peace negotiations began in 1782 and concluded with the signing of the Treaty of Paris in September, 1783. The Treaty formally recognized the United States as a free and independent nation after eight years of war.
From Jauflione Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution