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Yorktown Campaign

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British General Charles Lord Cornwallis marched his weary troops into Virginia in July of 1781 and occupied Yorktown. Several Continental Army regiments led by General Marquis de Lafayette moved against Lord Cornwallis’ Army at the Battle of Green Spring on July 6th. While the battle ended in an American retreat, Patriots ultimately kept Cornwallis’ forces pinned on the Virginia Coast. Meanwhile, General Washington and French General Comte de Rochambeau abandoned their aim toward New York City and moved their sights, and the Continental Army, south. American Captain Benjamin Bartholomew reported on September 14th, 1781, “"his Excellency Genrl. Washington arrived at 5:00 P.M. when there was twenty one pieces of Canon fired, he review'd the Troops." Franco-American lines were formed and the Battle of Yorktown commenced on September 28th. The battle proved to be the decisive American victory of the War for Independence. Encircled, and with no hope of escape, Lord Cornwallis was forced to surrender his army to the combined Franco-American Army on October 19th, 1781.

Battlefields Today
Many battlefields are already preserved and restored to their 18th and 19th Century state. Many are also open to visitors by national, state and local battlefield park organizations. For information on how to visit the site of one of America's early battles, visit our Battlefields Section.