The Battle Of Yorktown Essay

3405 words - 14 pages

The Battle of Yorktown was a major turning point in the Revolutionary War and led to the creation of the United States of America. After six grueling years of war the end of the war was near. Six months before the morale of the continental army was at the lowest point of the war. Congress was bankrupt due to rampant inflation caused by the mass production of continental dollars. The continental army was being trounced in the south by the British who had regained South Carolina and Georgia. Also many of the men in the continental army were mutinying. However in July of 1780 a French force landed in Newport, Rhode Island and this boosted American morale greatly (Fleming 11-13). Russia had suggested peace negotiations between the Americans and the British however the Americans were sure that they would not be allowed their freedom or unity as the thirteen colonies. If they had entered peace negotiations without new major victories then even if they had gained their freedom they would not have been unified and would have quickly been taken over by the British once more. Washington planned to gain a major victory by recapturing New York from the British.
He had sent the Marquis de Lafayette to counter the British invasion of Virginia and had sent him a message regarding his plans towards New York, however the message was captured by the British and the plans were discovered (Fleming 14–16). General Rochambeau dissuaded Washington of attacking New York and persuaded him to rather attack Cornwallis. Cornwallis had given up his campaign in the Carolinas because he had been defeated by Daniel Morgan in the Battle of Cowpens and had won a Pyrrhic victory against Nathaniel Greene in the Battle of Guilford Court House and had decided to join with General William Phillips in Virginia. Cornwallis had orders from his superior officer Sir Henry Clinton to withdraw to York and send half of his force back to New York. Cornwallis was very unhappy about the decision as he had been driving deep into Virginia (Fleming 29-34). Because of the declining relationship between Cornwallis and his superior officer Henry Clinton and the confusion between orders Clinton had finally ordered Cornwallis to create a defensible position on the Virginia coast. Cornwallis began fortifying Yorktown which had been a prosperous tobacco trading town and had many well to do homes. Cornwallis picked the Nelson house to be his base of operations.
While Cornwallis and his men were reinforcing Yorktown’s defenses Washington and Rochambeau were planning their march south to Virginia and they were attempting to gather supplies and men from the states. The French Admiral de Grasse and Admiral Barras were on their way to Virginia with their respective fleets. Washington was attempting to keep his march towards Virginia a secret and so he led the British to believe that he was still planning on continuing his attack on New York by creating a fake army camp, beginning the construction of...

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