During the French and Indian War, British troops defeated French troops and pushed them off their North American territory between 1755 and 1763. After that, Great Britain started to look for a new enemy to fight. They decided to focus their attention on Americans who they believed were involved in a rebellion against the Crown and planned on invading Great Britain when they became strong enough to do so.
To weaken America’s potential in future battles against Great Britain, King George III (the king back then) created a new policy in 1763 called the Proclamation of 1763, which prohibited settlement westward across western Pennsylvania.
Some General Facts about the Battle of Yorktown:
- The battle occurred on October 19, 1781, in Virginia as a part of the American Revolution.
- The Allies were led by the French commander, Comte de Rochambeau, and assisted George Washington and Benjamin Lincoln.
- The British were led by Lord Cornwallis and assisted by Lt. Col James Wemyss from Gibraltar, Major General Charles O’Hara, and Brigadier William Phillips from Antigua.
- Cornwallis surrendered his army to the Allies after two fierce days of fighting, leading to victory for the Americans. The Siege of Yorktown was the last major battle of the American Revolution.
- The Allies were victorious and kept their ground in North America for an extended period after the war that eventually led to the writing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783.
- Cornwallis and his men were sent to England, where they were pardoned for treason acts.
- The Allies lost 4,000 men at Yorktown while Cornwallis lost an estimated 8,000.
- The battle earned George Washington acclaim as a great military strategist and tactician. It also solidified his reputation as a commander who would later lead Americans to victory during the Revolutionary War and be considered one of America’s greatest presidents ever.
- The Treaty of Paris was signed on September 3, 1783, and put an official end to the war.
- American General Benjamin Lincoln looted Gibraltar for ammunition and supplies during the Siege of Yorktown.
- The Siege of Yorktown ended with the surrender of Lord Cornwallis and his army to General George Washington.
- 1,500 British prisoners died by drowning when a hurricane sank a fleet carrying them from Virginia to New York in 1782. This is considered one of America’s worst maritime disasters ever.
- The Battle of Yorktown marked the end of hostilities in the American Revolution.