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Yorktown History

Yorktown Battlefield is site of the last major battle of the American Revolutionary War. The Revolution made the United States inand independent country and changed the course of world history.

In August 1781, the British army under General Charles Lord Cornwallis began fortifying Yorktown and Gloucester Point, located across the York River from Yorktown, to establish a naval base in Virginia.

In Williamsburg, the Marquis de Lafayette watched Cornwallis' activities. In August, to Cornwallis' surprise, a French fleet blockaded the Chesapeake Bay and the York River. This prevented Cornwallis from escaping or being reinforced by sea.

At the same time, General George Washington began moving his army from New York to Virginia. By the end of September, Washington's army of 17,600 had surrounded Cornwallis' 8,300 troops. They attacked and finally Cornwallis surrendered on October 19, 1781.

Today, Yorktown Battlefield is part of Colonial National Historical Park which includes Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in North America; the Colonial Parkway, which connects the Historic Triangle of Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown; and Cape Henry, first landing site of the Jamestown Settlers in the new world on April 26, 1607, and site near which the Battle of the Capes was fought on September 5, 1781.


 
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