The British authority aimed to save their influence on the American continent, which caused conducting of military battles. The main one was at Yorktown. This paper analyzes the historical events and military campaign developed during the battle of Yorktown. It highlights the preparation and tactical decisions of the both forces before and during the battle. The paper researches military actions of the battle, its results and lessons that could be taken from this historical event.
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The Battle of Yorktown
The southern strategy of Britain against the independence of the United States of America has long been a minor issue in North America. It became central in the second half of the war. London paid much attention to the military actions conducted in the USA. The Britain’s government did not want to leave their authority and power in the U.S. It provided all possible measures to keep their influence in the southern states. As a result of these actions, some important battles occurred during several years. The last and final battle that finished with the victory of the Continental Army happened in Yorktown. The battle put an end to British ruling in the colonies. It was the last major episode of war during the American Revolution. The defeat of Cornwallis’s army prompted the British government eventually to begin negotiations on ending the conflict.
5,000 French soldiers arrived in Rhode Island. The main goal was to help the American army in the fight against British forces that controlled New York. However, on August 10, Vice Admiral Destouches did not provide assistance in Rhode Island and after several fights had gone to the West Indies. In 1780, Destouches was replaced by Admiral de Grasse. After the arrival of reinforcements from France, which meant including the ability to support the French fleet in the West Indies, Washington and Rochambeau asked De Grasse to help defend New York or conduct military operations against the British Army, serving in Virginia. Cornwallis was in charge of the British army in the Chesapeake Bay. De Grasse convinced Washington to move to the south of the country. He offered to gather their efforts and launch a mutual operation against Continental Army. Washington analyzed his claims and moved the army from New York to Virginia. He wanted to keep in secret the transportation of his army to the south. Washington made everything possible to create the atmosphere of attack on New York. Henry Clinton informed Cornwallis that Washington stayed at New York. Cornwallis was a little bit confused with such orders. However, he ordered to strength the port in Virginia. It was Yorktown. The Continental Army pinned Cornwallis to the sea.
The process of combining of the two American and French armies was held in the summer of 1781. De Grasse gave the consent to help, both two armies moved to the south, using tactics of deception and forced the British to believe that they were planning to besiege New York. De Grasse moved his army from the West and brought it to the final destination in late August. His army contained additional troops. He established a naval blockade of Yorktown and brought extra money from residents of Havana to pay for the soldiers. De Grasse had thought to leave some of their ships in Santo Domingo, but he promised to help the Spanish navy provide protection to the French fleet that did not enable de Grasse to sail north with all warships. In early September, during the Battle of the Chesapeake, he defeated the British fleet, which came to help to Cornwallis. The result of this victory was that de Grasse deprived Cornwallis any possible attempt to withstand a siege. In the end of September, Washington and Rochambeau came to Yorktown. Cornwallis’s army was completely blocked by the joint effort of the American and French armies.
The French and American forces built the first line of the siege and began to bombard the enemy. The British defences were weakened, and Washington ordered to attack the last main remaining area of British defence. French took responsibility for redoubt number 9, and the U.S. took responsibility for redoubt number 10. Such position allowed the Allies to build the second parallel. The increased and intense artillery fire from the Americans created the rapidly worse situation for the British. As a result, on October 17, Cornwallis asked for terms of surrender. After two days of talks, on October 19, the army of Cornwallis surrendered. Admiral Graves came from New York with a new expedition to Yorktown. However, he was too late. In addition, he had no connection with Cornwallis and considered his situation hopeless.
There are several lessons that people can take from this battle. First of all, it is very important to make the tactic decisions before any actions in order to be successful in any battle. It is an advantage of the army to distract its enemy. The army could get benefits if an enemy will use false data. Washington created the atmosphere that he would stay with his army in New York, but in reality he moved to the south. Such actions confused the British forces. It is important to keep the stable communication and connection with the removed forces. Graves was late with his help to Cornwallis because he had not follow the above mentioned principle,. It is necessary to keep in mind that the military operation on the other continent should take more preparations. The proper position in the defence could lead to the opportunity to weaken the enemy and give the chance to attack. The proper use of artillery is a great advantage.
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