American Desicions for the Battle of Yorktown

Essay by sunnysideup0726Junior High, 8th gradeA+, September 2006

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The battle of Yorktown, the last major battle of the American Revolution, was the final colonial victory that gave America the final boost towards the step of independence. Both armies at this point needed a victory to triumph in the war. George Washington still hoped to force the troops from Britain out of New York City in an operation combined with France. Here in New York, General Sir Henry Clinton, the top and highest training British Commander, was accompanied by over 10,000 men.

In July 1780, about 5,500 French soldiers led by Lieutenant General Comte de Rochambaeu, arrived in America. Soon after the French arrived, the British came afterward and trapped the French ships in Newport. Washington decided to wait for a second fleet of French ships, and from this position he could keep an eye on the British army commanded by General Clinton. He was forced to wait a year to put his plan into action considering the French fleet didn't set sail as soon as expected.

Washington had followed reports of the fighting in the south and knew the British army commanded by Cornwallis was camped in Yorktown, Virginia near the York River. Washington also knew that that Patriot forces under the command of Marquis de Lafayette were keeping Cornwallis and his troops bottled up on the Yorktown peninsula. Cornwallis had been campaigning in the southern colonies and had cut a wide swath, but his 7,000 troops were now tired and in need of supplies. In August of 1781, Washington learned that Admiral Francois de Grasse, the French naval commander, was heading toward Chesapeake Bay instead of New York. But rather than attacking the British in New York City, Washington commanded the patriots to attack in Yorktown, Virginia rather than New York. Washington tried desperately to...