The Yorktown Campaign and the Surrender of Cornwallis, 1781

The Yorktown Campaign and the Surrender of Cornwallis, 1781

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The Yorktown Campaign and the Surrender of Cornwallis, 1781

The Yorktown Campaign and the Surrender of Cornwallis, 1781

Read FREE!

Excerpt

It is much to the credit of our people that they are not slow in appreciating an event or anniversary of really national significance. The Centenary of the Declaration of Independence was fittingly celebrated the country over, and the lesser episodes of the Revolution have in turn been remembered in the localities of their occurrence. This disposition to show a proper admiration and gratitude for the great things done by our ancestors, is clearly one not to be discouraged; and if the printer and sculptor succeed in keeping it alive from one generation to another, their work will be recognized as of peculiar value to the nation.

In the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, a century back, we have the last of these interesting events--the crowning success which assured our Independence. How much we owe to it every one must be sensible. The fact that the General Government takes the lead in the observance of its centennial anniversary, is some indication of the importance to be attached to it. We are promised both a grand celebration and a grand monument on the Yorktown field, as a public and authoritative recognition of what the victory helped so greatly to secure for us.

The present work assumes to give an account of this final campaign of the Revolution in the light of the old and such new material as our historical collections offer. The quite recent publication of Washington's Manuscript Journal, covering the operations of 1781, would alone furnish a temptation to re-study that period. Its value can hardly be overrated. Considerable space is given to the movements of Cornwallis and Lafayette in Virginia, which had an important influence in shaping the closing events; and here a number of unpublished letters of Lafayette have served to establish uncertain points. We can now follow him from camp to camp in his many marches over that State. The co-operation of the . . .

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