This note accompanies the follow episode(s):
The Writer’s Almanac for October 19, 2016: Sonnet 73: That Time of Year Thou Mayst in Me Behold

Oct. 19, 2016: on this day: the British surrender at the Siege of Yorktown

On this day in 1781, Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis of the British army surrendered at the Siege of Yorktown, ending the American Revolutionary War. The British army had been routed by the defensive forces of the American Army, led by General George Washington, and the French troops, led by Comte de Rochambeau. Lord Cornwallis claimed to be ill and skipped the surrender ceremony. At the ceremony, his soldiers, despondent and drunk, wept and threw down their muskets. Cornwallis had requested his army be afforded the traditional “honors of war,” at the surrendering ceremony, which included marching out with flags waving, bayonets fixed, and the army band playing a tune, but Washington refused. In Cornwallis’s absence, Brigadier General Charles O’Hara presented the sword of surrender to Rochambeau, but Rochambeau refused to accept it and pointed to George Washington, who also refused to accept it, and pointed instead to his second in command, Benjamin Lincoln. When Lord North of the British Parliament learned of Cornwallis’ surrender, he exclaimed, “Oh, God! It’s all over!”