Great Britain Surrenders

There were a series of events that happened in a very strategic way that led to the surrender of the British in the American Revolution. Each one was important for its contribution and was part of a build-up to the British considering a peace treaty.

The British once thought that defeating the colonists would be rather easy; however, they didn’t consider the allies that the 13 colonies had developed and their desire to be free of British rule.

The Battle of Yorktown became the turning point in the American Revolution that prompted the British to realize the full scope of how much the colonies wanted their freedom.

The southern battles with the British weren’t successful. Many of the colonists lacked the appropriate weapons and ammunition, and they were also not well-trained.

Germans surrendering in 1945.
Germans surrendering in 1945.

This changed when General Nathanael Greene became the commander of the southern Continental Army. The training and strategies that Greene put in place for the southern Army gave them victories enough to push the British Army and head to the Eastward.

Simultaneously, General George Washington marched his Army from the north while General Charles Cornwallis’s Army retreated from Yorktown.

The alliance with the French allowed their Navy to defeat the British Navy, and they also headed to Yorktown. Cornwallis had looked to the British Navy for reinforcements, but when they were defeated by the French Navy, he knew that the British weren’t going to win.

Before the British Army knew it, they realized that they were surrounded at Yorktown by the Colonial Army and the French troops. The Colonial Army continued to batter the British for eleven days until a white flag of truce was shown by Cornwallis. However, it didn’t go well for Cornwallis because he started out the negotiations by making demands of George Washington as the agreement for surrender.

George Washington refused the demands, and the Colonial Army began showing that they were ready for more attacks. At this point, Cornwallis finally agreed to the terms set out by George Washington, and the battle was done. Cornwallis complied with the tradition of surrendering his sword.

In an unusual twist, the British originally tried to surrender to the French, but the French refused and sent them to the Colonial Army to surrender.

A document entitled the Articles of Capitulation was drawn up, and General Cornwallis signed it on October 19, 1781, for the surrender of the British. The battle lasted for a total of twenty days.
One of the things that surprised the British is that they had nearing 8,000 troops at Yorktown and more that were spread out. They thought that their finely trained and well-armed troops would easily win in any fight with the Colonial Army. They knew that the Colonial Army lacked the kind of training as well as weapons and ammunition that the British had. They underestimated the fact that between the French and the Colonial Army, there were over 18,000 troops. The surrender at Yorktown made them realize that there would be a high cost associated with war with the colonies, and it was smarter to consider peace.

Of the troops on both the British and French sides, around one-third of them were Germans.

Q&A:

How long did the Battle of Yorktown last?
20 days

What did General Cornwallis due to show the ultimate act of surrender?
Give up his sword

Both the French and British troops had one-third of what additional group of men?
Germans

How many British troops did General Cornwallis have at the siege of Yorktown?
18,000

The French Navy was responsible for what defeat that enabled the British to fail at Yorktown?
Defeat of the British Navy

What weird thing did the British do that was rejected as surrender?
Surrender to the French