Howe stepped down to his second-in-command, Sir Henry Clinton. The word came in from spies that the British were leaving Philadelphia in a rush. Orders had been sent the British to leave quickly and head to New York. One of Washington's detractors, General Lee, who had been captured earlier in the war had been released.
On the 18th of June the British had crossed the Delaware and was heading to New York. General Lee was not impressed with how the army was insufficiently ready to fight face to face with the British.
6/28/1778 The Battle of Monmouth Monmouth, New Jersey
> Though Washington has failed to destroy the British column, he had inflicted damage to their troops, and proven that Americans can stand against the regulars, without the advantage of surprise. - - Click Here to Continue - -
The battle at Monmouth Court House (now Freehold) began with General Lee hesitating and causing his troops to retreat almost immediately. As General Washington arrived he rallied the Americans along a hilltop hedgerow to stand up to the British. Cornwallis pressed his attack. Washington used his artillery under Major General Nathanael Greene's command to attack the British from afar. As nightfall came, both armies held the field. General Clinton withdrew at night to continue his march to New York.
This was the first time the Continental Army was able to stand head to head to the British in a European battle style. Washington's reputation was climbing due to the hard work by Major General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, General Nathanael Green, and Major General Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette. General Lee would face court martial at Englistown.
Once the British made it to New York they hid behind their fortifications.
Washington gave his troops a time to rest. The French fleet under Count d'Estaing appeared in Philadelphia.
The French were difficult to pin down. One minute they were ready to help and promised to do so and then they departed without warning. It was difficult for Washington to prepare a plan of action because the french were not dependable.
The finances of the colonies was terrible. There was no way to raise funds for the army. The army was needed but the soldiers were not getting paid. The only thing keeping the army together was the officers good leadership and their patriotism. Inflation was making money almost useless. Things were getting desperate financially. Washington and Alexander Hamilton were suggesting ways for printed money that would have value. There were many proposals but were considered too novel. Nothing happened. The army was not taken care of properly.
It was getting so difficult, communications were nearly stopped because of the cost of feed for the horses making the trips.
The war was dragging on.
The end seemed eminent. Washington felt that there might be a peace without victory. The British were having a difficult time funding their navy and army across the Atlantic and the Americans were not giving up.
10/9/1781 The Battle of Yorktown Yorktown, Virginia
> The Articles of Capitulation were signed on October 19, 1781. Cornwallis' British men were declared prisoners of war, promised good treatment in American camps, and officers were permitted to return home after taking their parole. At 2:00 pm the allied army entered the British positions, with the French on the left and the Americans on the right. The British and Hessian troops marched between them, while according to legend the British drummers and fifers played to the tune of "The World Turn'd Upside Down". The British soldiers had been issued with new uniforms hours before the surrender and until prevented by General O'Hara some threw down their muskets with the apparent intention of smashing them. Others wept or appeared to be drunk. 8,000 troops, 214 artillery pieces, thousands of muskets, 24 transport ships, wagons and horses were captured. Cornwallis refused to meet formally with Washington, and also refused to come to the ceremony of surrender, claiming illness. Instead, Brigadier General Charles O'Hara presented the sword of surrender to Rochambeau. Rochambeau shook his head and pointed to Washington. O'Hara offered it to Washington, but he refused to accept it, and motioned to his second in command, Benjamin Lincoln, who had been humiliated by the British at Charleston, to accept it. The British soldiers marched out and laid down their arms in between the French and American armies, while many civilians watched. At this time, the troops on the other side of the river in Gloucester also surrendered. - - Click Here to Continue - -
The British were hemmed in without escape due to the French ships creating a blockade. The battle went as the French planned with their new style of extra large canon that could fire rounds further than the British. The engineers dug an extremely distant trench to fire these long range canon. This tactic worked as planned and the first canon attack destroyed the British canon and earthworks without taking any hits from the British. The French gave George Washington the honor of firing the first canon.
As the French continued to build a closer trench system for more canon fire both the American and French troops were digging fortifications and new trenches for the 2nd phase of the siege. The British tried to escape at night but a storm stopped them.
The battle of Yorktown was a success for the Americans and French and won the war in the hearts and minds of all involved even though it would take some time for the British to leave. The British surrendered at Yorktown for the battle but not the war. It would take some time for the British to meet with the Americans in Paris for the official documents to be signed.
The traitor Benedict Arnold was one of the British Generals that was defeated as he lead a British army battle group.
Liberty's Kids #136