Battle of Yorktown: The End of the Revolutionary War

"Surrender of Lord Cornwallis" by John Trumbull. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)
“Surrender of Lord Cornwallis” by John Trumbull. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

On this date in 1781, British Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington, effectively ending the American Revolutionary War.

Here are six things you may not have known about the Battle of Yorktown.

  • The battle was known as “The German Battle” in Germany. About one-third of the 27,000 troops involved in the battle were either German or German-Americans.
  • The U.S. First Battalion Fifth Field Artillery, which is still active today, traces its lineage to the Battle of Yorktown. Four Army National Guard units that still exist participated as well.
  • The custom at the time was to allow the defeated army to march out with its flags waving, bayonets fixed and playing a tune to honor the victors. Washington denied the British the right, as the British had denied it to the Americans the year before at the Battle of Charleston.
  • A legend says that Cornwallis’ sword, which was surrendered by General Charles O’Hara, is on display at the White House. This is not true. The surrender of the sword was symbolic, and it was returned after just a moment.
  • The reason Cornwallis didn’t surrender his own sword was that he refused to attend the surrender ceremony. He claimed to be ill, leaving the duty to O’Hara.
  • The end of the battle led to the negotiation of the Treaty of Paris, which was signed on September 3, 1783, and became effective on May 12, 1784.

Our question: In what state is Yorktown located?


Today is Constitution Day in Niue and Mother Teresa Day in Albania.

It’s unofficially Evaluate Your Life Day, National Seafood Bisque Day, and Dress Like a Dork Day.

It’s the birthday of author John Le Carre, who is 85; actor John Lithgow, who is 71; and “South Park” co-creator Trey Parker, who is 47.

Because our topic happened before 1960, we’ll spin the wheel to pick a year at random.

This week in 1962, the top song in the U.S. was “Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers.

The No. 1 movie was “The Longest Day,” while the novel “Ship of Fools” by Katherine Anne Porter topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.

Weekly question

Which two performers originated the role of Eva Peron in “Evita” in London and on Broadway?



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