Surrender at Yorktown
On October 19, 1781, British General Charles Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, giving up almost 8000 men and any chance of winning the Revolutionary War. Cornwallis had marched his army into the Virginia port town earlier that summer expecting to meet British ships sent from New York. The ships never arrived.
In early October, some 17,000 American and French troops led by Generals George Washington and Jean-Baptiste Rochambeau surrounded British-occupied Yorktown. Off the coast, French Admiral François de Grasse strategically positioned his naval fleet to control access to the town via the Chesapeake Bay and the York River.
The Franco-American siege exhausted the British army's supplies of food and ammunition. With no hope for escape, Cornwallis agreed to the terms of Washington's Articles of Capitulation, signing the document at Moore House on October 19. Hours after the surrender, the general's defeated troops marched out of Yorktown to the tune "The World Turned Upside Down."
Cornwallis's surrender at Yorktown effectively ended the Revolutionary War. Lacking the financial resources to raise a new army, the British government appealed to the Americans for peace. Almost two years later, on September 3, 1783, the signing of the Treaty of Paris brought the war to an end