Sunday, October 19, 2014

Battle Of Yorktown

Battle Of Yorktown

October 19, 1781

  Thomas McKean USCA Presidency and Yorktown

19th Century Revolutionary War historian David Ramsay, who would later serves as Chairman of the USCA, wrote of this march through Virginia to Yorktown:

In the course of this summer they passed through all the extensive settlements which lie between Newport and York-Town. It seldom, if ever happened before, that an army led through a foreign country, at so great a distance from their own, among a people of different principles, customs, language, and religion, behaved with so much regu­larity. In their march to York-Town they had to pass through 500 miles of a country abounding in fruit, and at a time when the most delicious productions of nature, grow­ing on and near the public highways, presented both opportunity and temptation to gratify their appetites. Yet so complete was their discipline, that in this long march, scarce an instance could be produced of a peach or an apple being taken, without the consent of the inhabitants.

By great fortune the private letters of British General Clinton were captured. Elias Boudinot recounts the good fortune in the following extract from his wartime reminiscences:

Before the capture & at the first preparation for the seige before Count de Grasse arrived- General Clinton sent a row Boat well manned with a Confidential Officer along the coast, to get into Yorktown with a Letter to Lord Cornwallis, setting forth his situ­ation and the impossibility of his relieving him with a fleet till a certain day and encouraging him to holdout till that period. The boat was driven on shore somewhere near Egg Harbor [New Jersey] & the Crew taken & brought to Philadelphia. One of the men dis­covered in private, where they were bound & that the Confidential Letter had been hidden under a certain large Stone on the Shore by the Officers. A person was sent to the Place & brought it to Congress. It was in Cipher and after some trouble it was discovered to be in three different Cyphers. However it was deciphered by a Mr. Lovell, a Member of Congress from Boston, after about two days' labor. The original letter was carefully returned to the Stone or some means used so that it finally got to Lord Cornwallis, but not before Count de Grasse' arrival and having the copy fairly trans­lated. By this means W. was enabled to counteract all their intended measures.

On 14th President McKean communicated the following letter to the Comte de Grasse:

I had the honor to write to your Excellency yesterday, and now can confirm more than the intelligence then communicated. Enclosed herewith you will receive copies of two original letters in Cyphers now in my possession, which have been faithfully decyphered, from Sir Henry Clinton to Lord Cornwallis, respecting the designs of the Enemy. This information has been forwarded to his Excellency General Washington. The British General & Admiral seem to be desperate, and willing to risque all on the intended attempt. If they fail it appears to me that they are disposed to give up the contest for North America.

I pray God to direct your Counsels, and protect you in the hour of battle
P.S. The British Admiral has now 26, if not 29 ships of the line. He had not sailed on Thursday the 11th instant, by the best information I can get.

To George Washington on the 14th the President wrote:

My two last letters must, I know from your opinion of my character, have spread the wings of your expectation. My intelligence was true; the inclosed copies of two original letters from Sir Henry Clinton to Lord Cornwallis, which I have in cyphers, and which have been faithfully decyphered by Mr Lovell (whose key I had the honor to forward to you about a fortnight ago) more than prove the fact. I shall make no comment on the letters of Sir Henry, lest I should wade beyond my depth, but I rest assured you will excuse what I think it a duty to add. From comparing all my secret informations together, I firmly believe the British Admiral has now twenty nine ships of the line, and a very respectable number of Frigates; which, with ten fire-Ships, have probably sailed yesterday for the Chesapeake, having on board between five & six thousand Land forces. As to the three additional ships, they are supposed to have come from the West Indies, and are said to have arrived the beginning of last week. Sir Henry expected to be ready to sail on the 5th instant, I am greatly deceived if he sailed before Friday, for I have had faithful Friends to myself, as well as to the cause, who left the Sea-coast yesterday, some distance, 'tis true, from the Hook to the Southward, who know noth­ing of it; and if he had sailed before Friday, I believe they would have known it-These are the Gentlemen who brought me Sir Henry's dispatches. Among the letters (all being carefully enclosed in lead) I have found some, that will enable me to prevent some men of Sussex County in the State I have the honor to represent, from doing us much mischief, and perhaps they may enable me to make further discoveries: they have little relation to your immediate concerns, and therefore I shall not trouble you with the contents, except that intelligence is intended to be conveyed to & from Lord Cornwallis by way of the Tanjier Islands in the Chesapeake near the Eastern shore. I never heard of them before, and not having time to satisfy myself where they lie, must refer it to your enquiry.

It is far from my thoughts to intermeddle in the operations of the campaign, but I know you will pardon me for suggesting to Major General Heath, that after Sir Henry Clinton sails, it is my opinion there will not be above Four thousand land forces left in New-York and it's environs, of whom there cannot be above a thousand regulars, and that therefore it may be adviseable for him to be in readiness to attack it, if he should be so directed by you. Should you, Sir, think this practicable, or adviseable, there will, in less than a fortnight after I shall have information of it, be five thousand militia to co-operate with him. The use that may be made of the three large smoaks, if you shall have succeeded against Lord Cornwallis, will readily suggest itself, to you, and if not, the knowledge of it may prove advantageous.

Ramsay writes, in 1789, of the Yorktown effort:

The combined forces proceeded on their way to Yorktown, partly by land, and partly down the Chesapeake. The whole, together with a body of Virginia militia, under the command of General Nelson, amounting in the aggregate to 12,000 men, ren­dezvoused at Williamsburg on the 25th of September, and in five days after, moved down to the investiture of Yorktown.  The French fleet at the same time moved to the mouth of York River, and took a position which was calculated to prevent lord Cornwallis, either from retreating, or receiving succour by water.

Previously to the march from Williamsburg to Yorktown, Washington gave out in general orders as fol­lows. 'If the enemy should be tempted to meet the army on its march, the General par­ticularly enjoins the troops to place their principal reliance on the bayonet that they may prove the vanity of the boast, which the British make of their peculiar prowess, in deciding battles with that weapon.'

The combined army halted in the evening, about two miles from Yorktown, and lay on their arms all night. On the next day Colonel Scammell, an officer of uncommon merit, and of the most amiable manners, in approaching the outer works of the British, was mortally wounded and taken prisoner. About this time Earl Cornwallis received a letter from Sir Henry Clinton, announcing the arrival of Admiral Digby with three ships of the line from Europe, and the determination of the General and flag officers in New-York to embark 5000 men in a fleet, which would probably sail on the 5th of October - that this fleet consisted of 23 sail of the line, and that joint exertions of the navy and army would be made for his relief. On the night after the receipt of this intelligence, Earl Cornwallis quitted his outward position, and retired to one more inward.

The works erected for the security of Yorktown on the right, were redoubts and bat­teries, with a line of stockade in the rear. A marshy ravine lay in front of the right, over which was placed a large redoubt. The morass extended along the center, which was defended by a line of stockade, and by batteries: On the left of the center was a horn-work with a ditch, a row of fraize and an abbatis. Two redoubts were advanced before the left. The combined forces advanced and took possession of the ground from which the British had retired. About this time the legion cavalry and mounted infantry, passed over the river to Gloucester, General de Choisy invested the British post on that side so fully, as to cut off all communication between it and the country.    

In the meantime the royal army was straining every nerve to strengthen their works and their artillery was constantly employed in impeding the operations of the combined army. On the 9th and 10th of October, the French and Americans opened their bat­teries. They kept up a brisk and well directed fire from heavy cannon, from mortars and howitzers. The shells of the besiegers reached the ships in the harbor, the Charon of 44 guns and a transport ship were burned. On the 10th a messenger arrived with a dispatch from Sir Henry Clinton to Earl Cornwallis, dated on the 30th of September, which stated various circumstances tending to lessen the probability of relief being obtained, by a direct movement from New-York. Earl Cornwallis was at this juncture advised to evacuate York-town, and after passing over to Gloucester, to force his way into the country. Whether this movement would have been successful, no one can with certainty pronounce, but it could not have produced any consequences more injurious to the royal interest, than those which resulted from declining the attempt. On the other hand had this movement been made, and the royal army been defeat­ed or captured in the interior country, and in the meantime had Sir Henry Clinton with the promised relief, reached Yorktown, the precipitancy of the noble Earl, would have been perhaps more the subject of censure, than his resolution of standing his ground and resisting to the last extremity. 

[OCT. 11]  From this uncertain ground of conjectures, I proceed to relate real events. The besiegers commenced their second parallel 200 yards from the works of the besieged. Two redoubts which were advanced on the left of the British, greatly impeded the progress of the combined armies. It was therefore proposed to carry them by storm. To excite a spirit of emulation, the reduc­tion of the one was committed to the French, of the other to the Americans. The assailants marched to the assault with unloaded arms; having passed the abbatis and palisades, they attacked on all sides, and carried the redoubt in a few minutes with the loss of 8 killed and 28 wounded, Lieutenant Colonel Laurens personally took the commanding officer prisoner.  His humanity and that of his associates, so overcame their resentments that they spared the British, though they were charged when they went to the assault, to remember New-London (the recent massacres at which place shall be hereafter related) and to retaliate by putting the men in the redoubt to the sword. Being asked why they had disobeyed orders by bringing them off as prisoners, they answered, "We could not put them to death, when they begged for their lives." About five of the British were killed and the rest were captured. Colonel Hamilton who conducted the enterprise, in his report to the Marquis de la Fayette mentioned to the honour of his detachment, "that incapable of imitating examples of barbarity, and forgetting recent provocations, they spared every man who ceased to resist."

The French were equally successful on their part. They carried the redoubt assigned to them with rapidity, but lost a considerable number of men. These two redoubts were included in the second parallel, and facilitated the subsequent operations of the besiegers. The British could not with propriety risqué repeated sallies.

[OCT. 16]  One was projected at this time consisting of 400 men, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Abercrombie. He proceeded so far as to force two redoubts, and to spike eleven pieces of cannon. Though the officers and soldiers displayed great bravery in this enterprise, yet their success produced no essential advantage. The cannon were soon unspiked and rendered fit for service.

By this time the batteries of the besiegers were covered with nearly a hundred pieces of heavy ordnance, and the works of the besieged were so damaged, that they could scarcely show a single gun. Lord Cornwallis had now no hope left but from offering terms of capitulation or attempting an escape."

Copyright © 2004 & 2008 President Who? Forgotten Founders

On the evening of October 16, Cornwallis ordered about 1,000 of his troops to attempt an escape across the York River but a sudden storm forced them to abort the retreat to Gloucester. The 17th brought more than 90 guns into the siege. Cornwallis could no longer hold out against such over­whelming odds for reinforcements from General Henry Clinton. Cornwallis finally offered a white flag and sought to negotiate a favorable surrender. The website of the Moore House where the negotiations took place which is now part of the Colonial National Park reports:

At 10 o'clock on the morning of October 17, 1781, a drummer beating a 'parley,' and a British officer with a flag of truce, mounted a parapet south of Yorktown. The allies saw the signal, and soon the incessant, devastating artillery fire ceased. A hushed still­ness fell over the field. Lord Cornwallis, realizing the defeat of his army was inevitable, sent a message to General George Washington: "Sir, I propose a cessation of hostilities for twenty-four hours, and that two officers may be appointed by each side, to meet at Mr. Moore's house, to settle terms for the sur­render of the posts of York and Gloucester."

Why Cornwallis selected the Moore House for the negotiations was not explained, however, there are a number of possibilities. The Moore House was well outside the line of siege fire, and therefore, not damaged. It was a neutral location, hiding the British situation in town, and possibly selected in the hope of securing better surren­der terms. And finally, it was a convenient location for both sides to reach, as it was situated along the York River.

Washington agreed to only a two hour cease fire for Cornwallis to submit general terms of surrender. Messages continued to pass over the battlefield between the two commanders.

Finally, on the afternoon of October 18, the two British commissioners, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Dundas and Major Alexander Ross met in 'Mr. Moore's house' with the allied officers, Lieutenant Colonel John Laurens, for the Americans, and Second Colonel Viscount de Noailles (Marquis de Lafayette's brother-in-law), representing the French.
The negotiations ended before midnight, and Laurens carried a rough draft of the articles to General Washington. Washington, however, was not completely happy with the results and made a few minor changes. Once the articles were revised and redraft­ed, a copy was sent to Cornwallis in Yorktown for his signature.

The Articles of Capitulation were terms for the surrender of Cornwallis's British army. The 14 articles directed the surrender from the disposition of the troops, artillery, and arms, to even the surrender ceremony itself.

The articles directed where the troops, now prisoners of war, were to be sent. The sol­diers were marched off to camps in Frederick, Maryland, and Winchester, Virginia. One field officer for every 50 men was allowed to reside near their respective regiments to witness their treatment and deliver clothing and other necessaries to the soldiers at the camps. All other officers were paroled and allowed to go to Europe, New York, or any other American post then in possession of the British forces; on the condition they would no longer fight until properly exchanged.

Another article provided for the care of the sick and wounded prisoners. Proper hos­pitals would be furnished, with patients attended by their surgeons on parole. Medicine and supplies were to be provided by the American hospitals, the British stores in both York and Gloucester, and passports would be issued to procure further supplies from New York if necessary.

The third article referred to the surrender ceremony and contained the provision that deprived the British of the honors war. Customary honors allowed the surrendering troops to march out of their works with their regimental flags flying and playing an enemy's tune in honor of the victor. George Washington was not going to allow these honors, instead he stated, 'The same honors will be granted to the surrendering army as granted to the garrison of Charlestown'. In May, 1780, an American army was cap­tured at Charleston, South Carolina and not given the honors of war, therefore, in retaliation, the British would not be granted them at Yorktown. The troops, the article read, were to '...march out...with shouldered arms, colors cased, and drums beating a British or German march. They are then to ground their arms and return to their encampment, where they will remain until they are dispatched to the places of their destination...'

By the afternoon of October 19th, 1781, both commanders had signed the Articles of Capitulation, and the defeated British army was marching out from Yorktown to lay down their arms, ending the last major battle of the American Revolution.

After the surrender, Washington dispatched aide Colonel Tilghman to Philadelphia carrying the news of the surrender of Cornwallis.  It was near midnight when he entered the city October 23, 1781.   

Original handwritten Journal of the United States in Congress Assembled for Tuesday, October 23rd, 1781, recording President Thomas McKean's resignation of the USCA Presidency.

Earlier that day, President McKean had addressed a letter to USCA Secretary Charles Thomson resigning the presidency stating:

Sir: I must beg you to remind Congress, that when they did me the honor of electing me President, and before I assumed the Chair, I informed them, that as Chief Justice of Pennsylvania, I should be under the necessity of attending the Supreme Court of that State, the latter end of September, or at farthest in October. That court will be held to-day; I must therefore request, that they will be pleased to proceed to the choice of another President.

The USCA accepted the resignation on that day but postponed the election of president until the next day. 

Tilghman, in his excitement, arrived at McKean’s house just past midnight and knocked   so vehemently that a watchman was disposed to arrest him for disturbing the peace. McKean arose, and presently the glad tidings were made known.  The City watchman, an old German named Hurry, called the midnight hour proclaiming in a loud sonorous voice, “Basht dree o'clock and Gornwallis isht daken.”   

Students and Teachers of US History this is a video of Stanley and Christopher Klos presenting America's Four United Republics Curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. The December 2015 video was an impromptu capture by a member of the audience of Penn students, professors and guests that numbered about 200. - Click Here for more information

Later that morning, the USCA assembled amidst the happy tidings of Cornwallis’ surrender.  On motion by John Witherspoon and seconded by Joseph Montgomery, the USCA unanimously resolved “that Thomas McKean be requested to resume the chair, and act as President till the first Monday in November next; the resolution of yesterday notwithstanding.”[xxi]  To this the President acceded.

The October 19th letter from General Washington was the read to the USCA giving information of the reduction of the British army under the command of the Earl of Cornwallis, on the 19th instant with a copy of the articles of capitulation. A motion by Edmund Randolph followed and the USCA resolved:

That Congress will, at two o'clock this day, go in procession to the Dutch Lutheran church, and return thanks to Almighty God, for crowning the allied arms of the United States and France, with success, by the surrender of the whole British army under the command of the Earl of Cornwallis.[xxii]

Original handwritten Journal of the United States in Congress Assembled for Wednesday, October 24th, 1781, recording the resolutions enacted by Congress after being informed that Earl Cornwallis had surrendered at Yorktown.

On October 26, 1781, the USCA issued a Proclamation, drafted in part by the President, to the citizens of the United States:

Whereas, it hath pleased Almighty God, the supreme Disposer of all Events father of mercies, remarkably to assist and support the United States of America in their important struggle for liberty, against the long continued efforts of a powerful nation: it is the duty of all ranks to observe and thankfully acknowledge the interpositions of his Providence in their behalf. Through the whole of the contest, from its first rise to this time, the influence of divine Providence may be clearly perceived in many signal instances, of which we mention but a few.

In revealing the councils of our enemies, when the discoveries were seasonable and impor­tant, and the means seemingly inadequate or fortuitous; in preserving and even improving the union of the several states, on the breach of which our enemies placed their greatest dependence; in increasing the number, and adding to the zeal and attachment of the friends of Liberty; in granting remarkable deliverances, and blessing us with the most signal success, when affairs seemed to have the most discouraging appearance; in raising up for us a powerful and generous ally, in one of the first of the European powers; in confounding the councils of our enemies, and suffering them to pursue such measures as have most directly contributed to frustrate their own desires and expectations; above all, in making their extreme cruelty of their officers and soldiers to the inhabitants of these states, when in their power, and their savage devastation of property, the very means of cementing our union, and adding vigor to every effort in opposition to them. And as we cannot help leading the good people of these states to a retrospect on the events which have taken place since the beginning of the war, so we beg recommend in a particular manner that they may observe and acknowledge to their observation, the good­ness of God in the year now drawing to a conclusion: in which A mutiny in the American Army was not only happily appeased but became in its issue a pleasing and undeniable proof of the unalterable attachment of the people in general to the cause of liberty since great and real grievances only made them tumultuously seek redress while the abhorred the thoughts of going over to the enemy, in which the Confederation of the United States has been completed by the accession of all without exception in which there have been so many instances of prowess and success in our armies; particularly in the southern states, where, notwithstanding the difficulties with which they had to struggle, they have recovered the whole country which the enemy had overrun, leaving them only a post or two upon on or near the sea: in which we have been so pow­erfully and effectually assisted by our allies, while in all the conjunct operations the most perfect union and harmony has subsisted in the allied army: in which there has been so plentiful a harvest, and so great abundance of the fruits of the earth of every kind, as not only enables us easily to supply the wants of the army, but gives comfort and happiness to the whole people: and in which, after the success of our allies by sea, a General of the first Rank, with his whole army, has been captured by the allied forces under the direction of our illustrious Commander in Chief.

It is therefore recommended to the several states to set apart the 13th day of December next, to be religiously observed as a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer; that all the people may assemble on that day, with grateful hearts, to celebrate the praises of our gracious Benefactor; to confess our manifold sins; to offer up our most fervent supplications to the God of all grace, that it may please Him to pardon our offences, and incline our hearts for the future to keep all his laws; to comfort and relieve all our brethren who are in distress or captivity; to prosper our husbandmen, and give success to all engaged in lawful com­merce; to impart wisdom and integrity to our counsellors, judgment and fortitude to our offi­cers and soldiers; to protect and prosper our illustrious ally, and favor our united exertions for the speedy establishment of a safe, honorable and lasting peace; to bless all seminaries of learning; and cause the knowledge of God to cover the earth, as the waters cover the seas.  By Order of the United States in Congress Assembled  Thomas McKean, President"  [xxiii]

Copyright © 2004 & 2008 President Who? Forgotten Founders
Thanksgiving Proclamation dated October 26, 1781 as printed in the Journals of the United States, in Congress Assembled, 1781 – 1782, published by Order Of Congress, Volume VII. New York: Printed by John Patterson. 1787 United States in Congressed Assembled under the leadership and partial authorship of President McKean issued a Proclamation after the Battle of Yorktown. – Stanley L. Klos Collection

During this celebratory period, Congress did not forget the good work of Nathanel Greene and enacted the following resolutions:

Resolutions of Congress Voting a Medal to General Greene, etc.
By the United States in Congress Assembled.

Resolved, That the thanks of the United States in Congress assembled, be presented to Major-General Greene for his wise, decisive, and magnanimous conduct in the action of the 8th of September last, near the Eutaw Springs, in South Carolina, in which, with a force inferior in number to that of the enemy, he obtained a most signal victory.

That the thanks of the United States in Congress assembled, be presented to the officers and men of the Maryland and Virginia brigades, and Delaware battalion of continental troops, for the unparalleled bravery and heroism by them displayed, in advancing to the enemy through an incessant fire, and charging them with an impetuosity and ardour that could not be resisted.

That the thanks of the United States in Congress assembled, be presented to the officers and men of the legionary corps and artillery, for their intrepid and gallant exertions during the action.

That the thanks of the United States in Congress assembled, be presented to the brigade of North Carolina for their resolution and perseverance in attacking the enemy, and sustaining a superior fire.

That the thanks of the United States in Congress assembled, be presented to the officers and men of the state corps of South Carolina, for the zeal, activity, and firmness by them exhibited throughout the engagement.

That the thanks of the United States in Congress assembled, be presented to the officers and men of the militia, who formed the front line in the order of battle, and sustained their post with honour, propriety, and resolution, worthy of men determined to be free.

Resolved, That a British standard be presented to Major-General Greene as an honourable testimony of his merit, and a golden medal emblematical of the battle and victory aforesaid.

That Major-General Greene be desired to present the thanks of Congress to Captains Pierce and Pendleton, Major Hyrne and Captain Shubrick, his aids-de-camp in testimony of their particular activity and good conduct during the whole of the action.
That a sword be presented to Captain Pierce, who bore the general's despatches giving an account of the victory, and that the Board of War take order herein.

Resolved, That the thanks of the United States in Congress assembled, be presented to Brigadier-General Marion, of the South Carolina militia, for his wise, gallant, and decided conduct in defending the liberties of his country; and particularly for his prudent and intrepid attack on a body of the British troops, on the 30th day of August last, and for the distinguished part he took in the battle of the 8th of September.
Monday, October 29, 1781.

MAJOR-GENERAL NATHANIEL GREENE GOLD MEDAL, Victory of Eutaw Springs,NATHANIELI GREEN (sic) EGREGIO DUCI COMITIA AMERICANA. (The American Congress to Nathaniel Greene, a distinguished general.) Bust of General Greene, in uniform, facing the left. SALUS REGIONUM AUSTRALIUM. (The safety of the southern regions.) A winged Victory holds a crown of laurel in her right hand, and a palm branch in her left; one foot is resting on a trophy of arms and flags of conquered enemies. Exergue: HOSTIBUS AD EUTAW DEBELLATIS DIE VIII SEPT (Septembris) MDCCLXXXI. (The enemy vanquished at Eutaw on the 8th of September, 1781) DUPRÉ. Obverse.
The legend of the reverse of this medal, as originally proposed by the French Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres was, SALUS PROVINCIARUM AUSTRALIUM. Nathaniel Greene was born at Potowhommet, Warwick County, Rhode Island, May 27, 1742. He began life as a blacksmith, but entered the "Kentish Guards" as a private in 1774. He was made brigadier-general of the Rhode Island contingent to the army before Boston, in May, 1775, and a brigadier-general in the Continental Army, June 22, 1775, and remained in active service throughout the war. In 1776 he commanded in Long Island as a major-general; and fought at Trenton, Princeton, the Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth, Newport, and Springfield. He was quartermaster-general from March 2, 1778, to August, 1780; and was commander of the army, in September, when Arnold's treason was discovered. The same year he was appointed commander-in-chief of the southern department, retook the two Carolinas and Georgia, and won the battle of Eutaw Springs, September 8, 1781, for which victory Congress gave him a vote of thanks and a gold medal. After the war he removed to a plantation, which the State of Georgia had given him, on the Savannah river, and died there of a sunstroke, June 19, 1786.
On October 29th Congress passed the following resolutions to commemorate the victory at Yorktown:

Resolutions of Congress Voting Thanks, etc., for the Taking of Yorktown
By the United States in Congress Assembled:

Resolved, That the thanks of the United States, in Congress assembled, be presented to His Excellency General Washington, for the eminent services which he has rendered to the United States, and particularly for the well concerted plan against the British garrisons in York and Gloucester; for the vigour, attention, and military skill with which that plan was executed, and for the wisdom and prudence manifested in the capitulation.

That the thanks of the United States, in Congress assembled, be presented to His Excellency the Count de Rochambeau, for the cordiality, zeal, judgment, and fortitude, with which he seconded and advanced the progress of the allied army against the British garrison in York.

That the thanks of the United States, in Congress assembled, be presented to His Excellency Count de Grasse, for his display of skill and bravery in attacking and defeating the British fleet off the Bay of Chesapeake, and for his zeal and alacrity in rendering, with the fleet under his command, the most effectual and distinguished aid and support to the operations of the allied army in Virginia.

That the thanks of the United States, in Congress assembled, be presented to the commanding and other officers of the corps of artillery and engineers of the allied army, who sustained extraordinary fatigue and danger in their animated and gallant approaches to the lines of the enemy.

That General Washington be directed to communicate to the other officers and soldiers under his command the thanks of the United States, in Congress assembled, for their conduct and valour on this occasion:

Resolved, That the United States, in Congress assembled, will cause to be erected, at York, in Virginia, a marble column, adorned with emblems of the alliance between the United States and His Most Christian Majesty, and inscribed with a succinct narrative of the surrender of Earl Cornwallis to His Excellency General Washington, commander-in-chief of the combined forces of America and France, to His Excellency the Count de Rochambeau, commanding the auxiliary troops of His Most Christian Majesty in America, and to His Excellency the Count de Grasse, commanding-in-chief the naval army of France in Chesapeake.

Resolved, That two stands of colours taken from the British army under the capitulation of York, be presented to His Excellency General Washington, in the name of the United States in Congress assembled.

Resolved, That two pieces of the field ordnance, taken from the British army under the capitulation of York, be presented by the commander-in-chief of the American army to Count de Rochambeau; and that there be engraved thereon a short memorandum, that Congress were induced to present them from considerations of the illustrious part which he bore in effectuating the surrender.

Resolved, That the Secretary of Foreign Affairs be directed to request the Minister Plenipotentiary of His Most Christian Majesty, to inform his Majesty that it is the wish of Congress that Count de Grasse may be permitted to accept a testimony of their approbation, similar to that to be presented to Count de Rochambeau.

Resolved, That the Board of War be directed to present to Lieutenant-Colonel Tilghman, in the name of the United States in Congress assembled, a horse properly caparisoned, and an elegant sword, in testimony of their high opinion of his merit and ability.

Monday, October 29, 1781.

On October the 31st Thomas McKean wrote to George Washington:

It affords me ineffable pleasure to present to your Excellency the Thanks of the United States in Congress assembled, for the distinguished services you have rendered to your Country, and particularly for the'conquest of Lord Cornwallis and the British Garrisons of York and Gloucester, and the wisdom and prudence manifested in the Capitulation. You have herewith inclosed a copy of the Act of Congress passed on this occasion upon the 29th instant, which fully expresses the sentiments with which they are impressed by this glorious event. Words fail me when I attempt to bestow my small tribute of thanks and praise to a Character so eminent for wisdom, courage and patriotism, & one who appears to be no less the Favorite of Heaven than of his Country; I shall only therefore beg you to be assured, that you are held in the most grateful remembrance; and with a peculiar veneration, by all the wise and good in these United States.

That you may long possess this happiness; that you may be enabled speedily to annihilate the British power in America, which you have so effectually broken by this last capital blow; that you may be ever hailed The Deliverer of your Country and enjoy every blessing Heaven can bestow, is the sincere and ardent Prayer of one, who professes himself to be, with every sentiment of regard and all possible attachment, Sir, Your Excellency's Most obedient and devoted humble Servant,
Tho M:Kean, President

P.S. A proclamation recommending a day of thanksgiving & prayer is enclosed for your information"

 A circular  letter to Caesar Rodney from President McKean transmitting
 the Thanksgiving Proclamation to each of the states.

Also on the 31st President McKean drafted and sent this letter to the Comte de Grasse

The Thanks of the United States in Congress assembled is the highest honor that any of their citizens can receive for the most distinguished services. I feel myself pecu­liarly happy in being the instrument of conveying these Thanks to your Excellency in Obedience to their Act of the 29th instant, a copy of which I have the honor to inclose herewith.(1) Be pleased therefore to accept, what in the name of the United States of America in Congress assembled I most cheerfully give you, Their Thanks for the dis­play of your skill and bravery in attacking and defeating the British Fleet off the Bay of Chesapeake, and for your zeal and alacrity in rendering with the Fleet under your command the most effectual and distinguished aid & support to the operations of the allied Army in Virginia.

I will only add, Sir, that your name will be ever dear to the good people of these States as long as gratitude is a virtue. Your wisdom, your attachment to the essential inter­ests of this country, your effectual completion of the wishes of your Sovereign, and your whole conduct justly endear you to us, and intitle you to every mark of honor that we can possibly confer upon you. May you long retain the smiles and approbation of your Prince, and of all good men, and enjoy all the happiness this world can afford.

President Thomas McKean did not forget to honor the other commanding area generals writing these three letters in his final days as President of Congress, Chief Justice and President of the United States of America.  McKean wrote to Benjamin Lincoln:

 Sir, Philadelphia, October 31 st. 1781. Enclosed you will receive the copy of an Act of Congress of the 30th instant; by which you will observe that you are honored with a new mark of their confidence. You will likewise receive the copy of an Act of the 7th February last, respecting the Powers & duty of the Secretary at war. They are, you will readily conceive, great and important. But the reflection is pleasing that the abilities of the person elected are equal to the arduous Task. The copy of an Act of the 1st instant is also enclosed for your information. Give me leave to congratulate you on this occasion, and to request your speedy determination and answer.  I have the honor to be, with very great respect, sir, Your most obedient & most humble servant, Tho M:Kean President" [xxiv]

Copyright © 2004 & 2008 President Who? Forgotten Founders
President McKean letter to General Nathanael Greene

Thomas McKean to General Nathanael Greene:

 Sir Philadelphia, November 2d. 1781. I had the honor to receive your dispatches of the lst,2d, 3d, 5th & 11th Sept. By Captain Pierce and to lay them before Congress on the 18th last, being the day on which they came to hand. You will receive enclosed herewith the copy of an Act of Congress of the 29th last month respecting the Battle at the Eutaw Springs in South Carolina and also a Proclamation recommending the thirteenth day of December next to be observed as a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer throughout the United States.

In obedience to the former I am happy in having another opportunity of testifying the high sense that Congress entertain of the services you have rendered your Country, particularly in the well fought Battle of the eighth day of September last.

I am to present to you, Sir, and do hereby most cheerfully present you the Thanks of the United States of America in Congress assembled for your wise, decisive and mag­nanimous conduct in the Action of the eighth of September last near the Eutaw Springs in South Carolina, in which with a force inferior in number to that of the Enemy you obtained a most signal victory.

Accept also my congratulations on the conquest of the Garrisons of York & Gloucester under the command of Lieutenant General Earl Cornwallis, who on the l9th of October last surrendered Prisoners of war to his Excellency the Commander in Chief of the Allied Army.  I am, Sir, with very great respect, Your most obedient, humble servant, Tho M:Kean President" [xxv]

Thomas McKean to William Heath:

"Sir, Philadelphia, November 3d. 1781. Enclosed herewith I have the honor to send you a Proclamation for a day of Thanksgiving and Prayer throughout the United States. I most heartily congratulate you on the conquest of Lord Cornwallis and the Garrisons of York & Gloucester under his command. The power of Britain in these States is now broken, I trust it will soon be annihilated. Our internal enemies are struck with horror and despair, and I flatter myself this event will appear so important in Europe as to induce the wavering Powers connected with us in the war speedily to acknowledge our Independence, and to incline our Enemies to listen to reasonable terms of peace. I take this oppor­tunity of acknowledging the receipt of your letters of the 9th, 16th, 24th, 27th and 30th of October, the two last of which came to hand last night. We have no accounts of either of the Fleets since they sailed, nor have we yet received the returns of the Prisoners &c taken with General Cornwallis. I am, Sir, with very great regard, Your most obedient humble servant, Tho M:Kean President"[xxvi]

The British prisoners were equal to about 25% of all the regular British Forces deployed in the 13 United States. This along with the active participation of the French raised fears in England of another war between Britain and France. Upon word of Cornwallis’ surrender to Washington reaching England, Lord North, the British Prime Minister, resigned.

The election of the new Delegates under the Articles of Confederation by the States finally relieved Thomas McKean of the USCA Presidency.  The transition from the McKean's to the Hanson's presidency was penned in the hand of Samuel Sterett, in John Hanson's presidential journal:

November 5th, 1781. This day the United States in Congress Assembled elected His Excellency John Hanson, Esquire, President; the honorable Thomas McKean, late President, having resigned on the 23d of October last, but acted by special request until the present time.

Yorktown Centennial

By John Austin Stephens

The Yorktown peninsula, which the memories of two wars have made famous, is about thirty miles in length, at its neck twelve miles, and has a mean width of five miles. In shape it resembles a cleaver, the socket at the upper northwestern extremity. The York River and the Chesapeake Bay bound it on the north and east, and the James, flowing by its southern shore, mingles its waters with those of the Chesapeake at Hampton Road. The entrance to the bay from the Atlantic Ocean is between Capes Charles and Henry, the extreme seaboard points of the Virginia coast, an opening of some fifteen miles.

The peninsula is divided into the three counties of York, Warwick and Elizabeth City, of which York, Warwick Court House and Hampton are the shire towns. Elizabeth City lies at the mouth of the James River, its eastern shore upon the waters of the Chesapeake and its southern on Hampton Roads. Its population, by'the census of 1880, was 10,691, of which 4,155 white and 6,536 colored. Hampton, the capital of the county, is on the north side of the Roads, fifteen miles from Norfolk and two miles from Fortress Monroe, the most imposing stronghold of the United States on the southern coast, under the shadow of which lies the famous watering place of Old Point Comfort. York, bordering on the Chesapeake and York River on the east and north, and extending across the peninsula to the James River, has an area of about one hundred square miles. Its population in 1880 was 7,348, of which 2,836 white and 4,512 colored. Its capital, York, or Yorktown, as it is now generally called, lies upon the York River, at the northern end of the neck of the peninsula. Warwick is situated between the counties of Elizabeth City and York, and the James River bounds its limits on the south. Its population in 1880 was 2,257,of which 778 were white and 1,479 colored.

The country in these three counties is low and undulating, covered with pine woods and occasional small areas of cultivation, and the soil is sandy.


The capitulation of Burgoyne with his entire army to Gates, at Saratoga, on the 19th October, 1777, showing the strength of the American cause and the skill of its commanders, determined France to enter into a treaty of alliance with the United States, which was signed on the 6th February, I778. The personal influence of Lafayette, who returned to France to take service in the army of the King, in anticipation of immediate hostilities against England, persuaded the French Ministry to send an army to America to act in concert with the forces of General Washington. Count de Rochambeau, a veteran officer of long experience in the wars of the European continent, was placed in command, and a number of the highest nobility of the kingdom hastened to join his standard and strike one blow against the ancestral enemy, who, with the assistance of the colonies, had stripped Canada from France, and inflicted upon her in the treaty of 1763 the severest humiliation in her history. A French fleet, under the command of Admiral de Ternay, having on board Rochambeau's army of five thousand and eighty-eight men, sailed from Brest on the 20th May, 1780, and entered the harbor of Newport, in Rhode Island, on the nth July of the same year.

The French troops consisted of the regiments of Bourbonnais, commanded by the Marquis de Laval-Montmorenci; of Soissonnais, by the Marquis de Saint-Maime; of Royal Deux-Ponts, by Count Christian de Deux-Ponts; of Saintonge, by the Marquis de Custine; a corps of artillery, by M. d'Aboville, and a legion, consisting of infantry, cavalry and artillery, by the Duke de Lauzun. The general officers were the Baron de Viomenil, the Count de Viomenil, his brother, and the Chevalier de Chastellux, who, to his reputation as an officer, united that of a man of letters, being one of the famous French Academy of Forty. Among the aids were young gentlemen of the highest rank—some illustrious in later years. There were the Count de Fersen, the chivalrous young Swede, whom Marie Antoinette had already distinguished by her favor, and who later devoted himself to her cause in her captivity; the Count de Dumas, who rose to the rank of General of Division in the armies of the French Republic, and left "Memoirs" of his own times; Berthier, Napoleon's favorite Chief of Staff; the Vicomte de Noailles, brother-in-law of Lafayette, and de Montesquieu, son of the author of L'Esprit des Lois.

During the fall and winter of 1780-81 Rochambeau remained in quiet at Newport, awaiting the arrival of a second division, which, though promised, was not sent; changes in the French Ministry and the low state of the exchequer interfering with the original plans. In May, 1781, Washington and Rochambeau, in a conference at Weathersfield, in Connecticut, agreed upon a plan of operations. The first joint operation was against Arnold, who, after his treason in the fall of 1780, had been sent to Virginia, where he was ravaging the country. Lafayette marched south with a select body of men, and a fleet went out from Newport to secure the mouth of the Chesapeake. Pursued by the English Admiral on the Rhode Island Station, they fought a gallant action off the Capes, but the English succeeded in reaching the bay, and the allied expedition was frustrated. The land forces went no farther than Annapolis, whence they marched, under Lafayette, to the southward to reinforce Greene, who was campaigning in the Carolinas against Cornwallis. Lafayette moved to Richmond, where he was confronted by the English Early  in May. A series of manceuvers ensued, at the close of which Cornwallis, closely followed by the Marquis, withdrew down the peninsula, and fortified himself at York and Gloucester.

In the conference at Weathersfield two alternative plans had been discussed for the summer campaign. One to threaten New York, and, on the arrival of the French fleet which was promised, to concentrate the forces at this point and terminate the war by seizing it, the British base of supplies. This was Washington's plan. That suggested by Rochambeau was for a movement southward to free the Carolinas. The concurrent arrival of dispatches from the Count de Grasse announcing that he would be at the Capes of the Chesapeake by the close of August with a powerful fleet and a land force on board, and of letters from Lafayette, giving intelligence of the trap in which Cornwallis had placed himself, decided Washington and Rochambeau upon a sudden march to the southward. Making a final feint upon New York, which alarmed Clinton to such an extent that, not only he did not dare to send any reinforcements to Cornwallis, but ordered him to send up his own troops, the allied armies broke camp at Philipsburg, in Westchester County, on the 19th August, 1781, crossed the Hudson at Kings Ferry, from Verplancks to Stony Point, on the 20th and 21st, and passing through New Jersey under the cover of the Pompton Hills marched to the Head of Elk. The march through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland to Elkton, the head of water navigation at the Chesapeake Bay, was a gala progress. The population of the thriving towns through which it lay turned out en masse to welcome the army and to witness the unaccustomed sight of the gay French regulars. The country wagons and even the chariots of the gentry came laden with stores and provisions which were given with lavish hand; and well deserved were these favors, for it is said of the French troops that in all their stay and in their long marches from Newport to Yorktown and back on their return not a sheaf of wheat was taken without payment, or even an apple plucked from the orchards which skirted the road-sides. As they approached the cities the French halted, and putting on their gay uniforms, passed through the streets in dress parade. The uniforms were striking, the coats and waistcoats of white cloth, the regiments being distinguished by the colors of the hppels, ornaments and buttons. These were of crimson, green, red, and sky blue. The artillery were in iron gray, with lappels of red velvet; the non-commissioned officers wore white plumes, the grenadiers red, and the chasseurs white and green. All this was in strange contrast with the half clothed, half armed condition of the American troops; but in the serious business of long and rapid marches, the Americans excited equal astonishment by their endurance, their celerity, and their perfect silence. Out of the chaotic elements of 1776, Washington had formed a body of men which, for any purposes of campaigning, had no superiors in the soldiery of any nation; on these, the "Continentals," he confidently relied. On special occasions they were admirably supported by the militia of the country, all more or less trained. 


Washington left the allied armies at Philadelphia, ready to move, on the 5th September, 1 781, and hastened lo the Head of Elk. At Chester, he heard of the arrival of De Grasse with the fleet. Rochambeau, who followed him at a short interval, was first made aware of the welcome news by the unusual spectacle of the grave American chief standing on the bank of the river waving his hat in enthusiasm as the boat which carried the French commander came in view. Hastening the army movement with the greatest expedition, although the means of transportation were small and inadequate, part being mirched by land and the remainder sent down the Chesapeake from Annapolis in boats of every class and size, the allied commanders effected a junction with Lafayette at Williamsburg on the 19th September, just one month from the day they left their northern encampment. Here at the head of the peninsula Lafayette held Cornwallis  in check. All the troops and the artillery had arrived .by the 26th, and the next day Washington issued his

Headquarters, Williamsburg,Thursday, 27th September, 1781.Parole, Virginia. Countersign, York, Gloucester.
 Officers of the day for tomorrow: Major General Lincoln, Colonel Dayton, Lieut. Col. Axtell, Brigade Major Hobbey. 
The rolls are to be called with the greatest strictness at retreat beating this evening and again at tattoo in presence of the field officers, at which time no officer or soldier in condition to march is to be absent from his post in camp. The general confides in the commanders of corps for the punctual execution of these orders. Till circumstances shall render a change of disposition necessary, the following will be the order of battle for the army:  
The American troops composing the Right Wing will be formed into two lines, the Continental Forces in the front line, consisting of the following divisions and in the following order, viz., Muhlenbergh's and Hazen's brigades to form the division on the right, under the command of the Marquis de Lafayette;  
Wayne's and the Maryland brigade, the division of the centre for the present to be commanded by Baron de Steuben. 
Dayton's and Clinton's brigades that on the left. The senior Continental officer will command the right wing, and his Excellency Count Rochambeau, the left wing, of which he will be pleased to make his own disposition. The two companies of Delaware are for the present to be annexed to the 3d Maryland Regiment. Stevens' and Lawson's brigades of militia will form the second line—the park of artillery — the corps of Sappers and Miners and the Virginia State Regiment will be posted between the two lines in the order above mentioned, commencing from the right.  
The whole army will march by the right in one column at 5 o'clock to morrow morning precisely. The particular order of march for the right wing will be distributed by the Quartermaster General. The General desires that the officers will confine themselves in point of baggage to objects of the first necessity, that the army may march as light and unencumbered as possible. The Quartermaster General will have directions to appoint a proper deposit for the effects that will be left—from whence they will be transported to the army as soon as permanent position is taken. The Quartermaster General will allot a proportionate number of the wagons in his possession for the service of the left wing. If the enemy should be tempted to meet the army on its march, the General particularly enjoins the troops to place their principal reliance on the bayonet, that they may prove the vanity of the boasts which the British make of their particular prowess, in deciding battles with that weapon. He trusts that a generous emulation will actuate the allied armies, that the French, whose national weapon is that of close fight, and the troops in general that have so often used it with success will distinguish themselves on every occasion that offers the justice of the cause in which we are engaged, and the honor of the two nations must inspire every breast with sentiments that are the presage of Victory.  
General Muhlenbergh's brigade of infantry with the artillery attached to it, preceded by Colonel Lewis' corps of riflemen and the light dragoons, will form the advanced guard. The present camp guards, the rear guard under the command of Major Reed. It will form on the great road on the left, and in the rear of the encampment at five o'clock.

On the morning of the 28th September, the army left its encampment in front of Williamsburg, and commenced the march for the investiture of York. The American Continentals and the French troops formed one column on the left of the line, the Continentals in the advance. The militia formed the right column, and marched by way of Harwood's Mill. At the fork of the road, half a mile beyond the Half-Way House, the French and Americans separated. The French continued on the direct road to York by the Brick House, and the Americans filed off to the right for Munford Bridge, where they made a junction with the militia. At noon the head of each column arrived at the ground assigned to it; the British pickets were driven in by a corps of the French troops advanced for the purpose, and the enemy's right was reconnoitered. At the same time the enemy's Horse, who were reconnoitering the right column of the allies, were forced from their encampment. The line was formed, and all the troops, officers and men, lay on their arms during the night. The next day, the 39th, Washington moved the American troops further to the right, encamped them on the east side of Beaver Dam Creek, with a morass in front, about cannon-shot from the British lines, and spent the rest of the day in reconnoitering the entire position and determining on a plan of attack and approach. On the 3rd October it was found that the enemy had abandoned all their exterior works and positions, and retired within their interior works during the night, whereupon the allies immediately took possession of the deserted posts, and with slight alteration made them serviceable for their purposes.


Immediately on taking possession of these works, Washington began two enclosed works between Pigeon Hill and the ravine above Moore's Mill. On the morning of this day the American army met with a serious loss in the person of Colonel Alexander Scammell, of the Light Infantry, one of its most esteemed officers. He had distinguished himself in various branches of service, as Adjutant General of the Army for a long period, and afterwards as Colonel of the First New Hampshire Regiment, until the summer of 1781, when the Light Corps was formed for the campaign. He was of great stature, six feet two inches in height, and not only a conspicuous figure, but beloved for his amiable character, as well as honored for his daring bravery. On the morning of the evacuation of the advanced redoubts by the British, he was Officer of the Day. While engaged in reconnoitering the enemy, he ventured too far, and fell among a party of horsemen who were patrolling the lines, by whom he was seized; and, although he acknowledged himself a prisoner, was brutally shot and plundered. He was sent out on parole the next day, but his wound proved fatal, and he died in the hospital at Williamsburg on the 6th, and was buried in the town. Colonel Humphreys, of Washington's staff, wrote an epitaph for his tomb. 

Little of interest transpired until the 6th, the time being occupied in bringing up the stores and cannon from Trebell's Landing on the James River. The climate was already telling upon the troops; the night dews were heavy, wetting the tents like rain, and the malaria of the peninsula had fastened its grip on both armies; nearly all the Americans had the fever and ague, and the French, though better equipped for campaigning, were not exempt. On the 6th the trenches of the Americans were sufficiently advanced to cover those engaged, in pushing the approaches, from the fire of the enemy. They were constructed at night with such dispatch that the British were not aware of their progress until the dawn revealed it. The French were not so fortunate, and the Regiment of Touraine, which was engaged upon the parallel on the left, was sharply cannonaded. The general orders of the 6th gave minute regulations for the conduct of the siege. Fifty-four in number, they were fitted for every emergency.

On the 8th, the trenches being ready, General Knox, who commanded the American artillery, ordered the detachment for the batteries to parade in the afternoon under Colonel Lamb. This officer, Colonel of the 2nd New York Artillery, Lieutenant Colonel Ebenezer Stevens, and Major Bauman, of the same regiment, and Lieutenant Colonel Edward Carrington, of the Virginia battalion of artillery, commanded alternately upon the batteries and at the Park of Artillery. They directed the fire in person, and leveled every piece themselves. 

On the 9th Washington himself put the match to the first gun, and a furious fire followed, the first salutation to Earl Cornwallis. In the French lines the Marquis de St. Simon, the Chevalier de Chastellux. and the brothers de Viomenil commanded in the trenches.

On the 9th the British frigate Guadalupe, making a hostile movement, the French battery opened upon her with hot shot; she sought shelter under the town, but the Charon, a gunship, took fire, and the flames communicating to other vessels, they were consumed in the night, the conflagration, accompanied by the bursting of shells, presenting a sublime spectacle. Closely pressed by the enfolding parallels, Cornwallis made one effort to evade their toils. On the 10th he embarked a large force on flatboats, and an attempt was made to turn the force which had been posted to watch Gloucester. Here M. de Choisy was in command, with a body of French troops and some American militia under General Weedon. A few days before the famous Tarleton, with his dragoons, had been routed by the. Duke de Lauzun with his hussars. Tarleton was unhorsed and nearly captured. De Choisy was too good an officer to be surprised, and received the British with so warm a fire of artillery that they could not effect a landing, and returned discomfited to the beleaguered post of York.

On the 12th the Allies began their second parallel within three hundred yards, and in parts of it less, of the British lines. On the 14th these works were completed, and preparations were made for an assault. Nightfall was fixed upon. Soon after it was fully dark, the bursting of six consecutive bomb-shells fired from the French batteries gave signal for the sudden dash. Baron de Viomenil commanded the entire movement. Washington, in the trenches, witnessed and approved all the dispositions at the moment of attack. The American light infantry, commanded by Lafayette, stormed the left battery on the river bank; the French grenadiers, led by the Baron de Viomenil, the right British redoubt. Lieut-Colonel Gimat's battalion led the van of the Americans, closely followed by Lieut-Colonel Hamilton and Major Nicholas Fish. The famous cavalry officer, Colonel Armand, Marquis de la Rouerie, marched as a volunteer. 

Lieut-Colonel Laurens, with a party of eighty, turned the redoubt. The troops moved rapidly, not a gun being fired, and such was their ardor that they went over the abattis without halting for the sappers and miners to open a way. Captain Stephen Olney, of the light company of the Rhode Island regiment, was the first to mount the parapet, and fell, severely wounded. Resistance was immediately overcome, and the Americans were masters of the position. The troops behaved with the greatest moderation and magnanimity; and although their officers, as well as themselves, were excited by the recollection of the brutal treatment of their late commander, and still further by the news just brought into camp of the atrocities committed by the British under the renegade Arnold at New London and Groton, no thought of retaliation was entertained, and the life of every man that submitted was spared.

The French advanced with equal bravery, the Baron de Viomenil, the Marquis de Rostaing and the Count de DeuxPonts leading, sword in hand. The grenadiers marched with fixed bayonets, and were subjected to a severe fire, which lasted from eight to ten minutes, halting until the abattis was cut away. They then dashed over the works. Six of their officers were wounded, of whom the Count de Deux-Ponts and Alexander de Lameth. For their gallantry on this occasion, the name of Royal Auvergne, with its famous motto, "Auvergne sans tache," was restored to the regiment of Gatinois, at the request of Rochambeau, by the King's order, under his own royal hand.

On the 15th the British made one last effort to break through the tightening net. In a strong sortie they entered the right battery of the French and spiked four of the guns, wounding five of the officers and carrying off prisoner M. de Persignan, who was in command, but the reserve, under the Chevalier de Chastellux, came quickly to the relief, and recovered the position. The guns were at once repaired, and within six hours were again in service.

On the 16th the batteries of the second parallel were opened. So great was the interest excited by the approaching consummation of the grand drama, and such the crowd of spectators who nocked to the trenches, that it became necessary to direct in General Orders that no persons should enter them except upon a pass from the Major-General commanding the trenches, nor any officers even, except those on duty.  

Early in the morning of the 17th the American grand battery, consisting of twelve twenty-four and eighteen-pounders, four mortars and two howitzers, opened fire, and the obstinate Earl was brought to terms. The rapidity with which the guns were served by Lieut-Colonel Stevens alarmed Knox, who feared that the ammunition would give out, and sent word to him to husband his resources; but Stevens, who was on intimate terms with the French officers, and who had served in the spring as Lafayette's chief of artillery, replied that there was no need for fear, as his friends, the Frenchmen, would make up all his deficiencies from their ample supply. 

At ten o'clock on the morning of the 17th the British beat a parley, and Lord Cornwallis proposed a cessation of hostilities for twentyfour hours, that commissioners might meet to arrange terms of capitulation, and the house of a widow Moore, in the rear of the first American parallel, was proposed as the scene of conference. Washington replied, with a grant of two hours cessation, that terms might be proposed in writing. 

Finding their general tenor admissible, hostilities were suspended for the night, and Washington proposed his own terms. Commissioners were appointed: Lieut-Colonel Laurens, the Vicomte de Noailles and M. de Grandchain on the part of Washington; Lieut-Colonel Dundas and Major Ross on that of Cornwallis. The day of the 18th was consumed in negotiations, which Washington brought to a close by having the draft of the agreement copied, and sending it in on the morning of the 19th, demanded that it should be signed by eleven o'clock, and the garrison march out at two o'clock. There was no alternative but unconditional submission. A few hours more of the fatal, well directed fire would have annihilated the British force. The capitulation was signed on one part by Washington, the Count de Rochambeau and the Count de Barras in his own name and that of the Count de Grasse; and by Cornwallis, commanding the land, and Thomas Symonds, Esquire, the British naval forces in York River, on the other part.

It is worthy of notice that the proposal to capitulate was made on the 17th, the anniversary of the surrender of Burgoyne in 1777, four years previous.

Moore House was the site of the British surrender negotiations at Yorktown, Virginia. Why Cornwallis selected the Moore House for the negotiations was not explained, however, there are a number of possibilities.The Moore House was well outside the line of siege fire, and therefore, not damaged. It was a neutral location, hiding the British situation in town, and possibly selected in the hope of securing better surrender terms. And finally, it was a convenient location for both sides to reach, as it was situated along the York River.


Settled between his Excellency General WASHINGTON, Commander in Chief of the combined Forces of America and France; his Excellency the Count de ROCHAMBEAU, Lieut. General of the armies of the King of France, Great Cross of the Royal and Military Order of St. Louis, commanding the auxiliary Troops of His Most Christian Majesty in America; and his Excellency the Count de GRASSE, Lieut. General of the naval Armies of His Most Christian Majesty, Commander of the Order of St. Louis, commanding in chief the naval Army of France in the Chesapeake, on the one Part 
AND The Right Hon. Earl CORNWALLIS, Lieut. General of his Britannic Majesty Forces, commanding the Garrisons of York and Gloucester; and THOMAS SYMONDS, Esq; commanding his Britannic Majesty naval Forces in York river in Virginia, on the other part.

ARTICLE I. The garrisons of York and Gloucester, including the officers and seamen of his Britannic Majesty ships, as well as other mariners, to surrender themselves prisoners of war to the combined forces of America and France. The land troops to remain prisoners to the United States: The navy to the naval army of his Most Christian Majesty. Granted.

ART. II. The artillery, arms, accoutrements, military chest, and public stores, of every denomination, shall be delivered unimpaired, to the heads of departments, appointed to receive them. Granted.

ARTICLE  III. At 12 o’clock this day the two redoubts on the let flank of York to be delivered, the one to a detachment of American Infantry, the other to a detachment of French Grenadiers --- The garrison of York will match out to a place to be appointed, in front of the posts, at two precisely, with shouldered arms, colors cased and drums beating a British or German march --- they are then to ground their arms and return to their encampment, where they will remain until they are dispatched to the place of their destination --- Two works on the Gloucester side, will be delivered at one to detachments of French and American troops appointed to possess them --- The garrison will march out at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, the cavalry with their swords drawn, trumpets sounding, and the infantry in the manner prescribed for the garrison of York --- They are likewise to return to their encampment until they can be finally marched off. Granted.

ARTICLE  IV. Officers are to retain their side arms --- both officers and soldiers to keep their private property of every kind, and no part of their baggage or papers to be at any time subject to search or inspection --- The baggage and papers of officers and soldiers taken during the siege to be likewise preserved for them --- It is understood that any property obviously belonging to the inhabitants of these States, in the possession of the garrison, shall be subject to be reclaimed. Granted.

ARTICLE V. The soldiers to be kept in Virginia, Maryland or Pennsylvania, and as much by regiments as possible, and supplied with the same rations of provisions as are allowed to soldiers in the service of America: A field officer from each nation, viz. British, Anspach and Hessian, and other officers on parole, in proportion of one to fifty men, to be allowed to reside near their respective regiments, to visit them frequently and be witnesses of their treatment --- and that these officers may receive and deliver clothing and other necessaries for them, for which passports are to be granted when applied for. Granted.

ARTICLE  VI. The General --- Staff and other officers, not employed as mentioned in the above article, and who chose it, to be permitted to go on parole to Europe, to New York, or to any other American maritime ports at present in the possession of the British forces, at their own option; and proper vessels to be granted by the Count de Grasse, to carry them, under flags of truce, to New York within ten days from this date, if possible, and they to reside in a district to be agreed upon hereafter, till they embark. The officers of the civil department of the army and navy to be included in this article. Passports to go by land to be granted to those to whom vessels cannot be furnished. Granted.

ARTICLE VII. Officers to be allowed to keep soldiers as servants, according to the common practice of the army --- Servants, not soldiers, are not t be considered as prisoners, and are to be allowed to attend their masters. --- Granted. ART. VIII. The Bonetta sloop of war to be equipped and navigated by its present Captain and crew, and left entirely at the disposal of Lord Cornwallis, from the hour that the capitulation is signed, to receive an Aid de Camp to carry dispatches to Sir Henry Clinton, and such soldiers as he may think proper to send to New York, to be permitted to said without examination, when his dispatches are ready. --- His Lordship engaging on his part, that the ship shall be delivered to the order of the Count de Grasse, if she escapes the dangers of the seas --- that she shall not carry off any public stores --- any part of the crew that may be deficient on her return and the soldiers, passengers, to be accounted for on her delivery. Granted. ART. IX. The traders are to preserve their property, and to be allowed three months to dispose of or remove them --- and those traders are to be considered as prisoners of war.

ANSWER. The traders will be allowed to dispose of their effects --- the allied army having the right of pre-emption. The traders to be considered as prisoners of war on parole.

ARTICLE X. Natives or inhabitants of different parts of this country, at present in York and Gloucester, are not to be punished on account of having joined the British army.

ANSWER  This article cannot be assented to, being altogether of civil resort.

ARTICLE XI. Proper hospitals to be furnished for the sick and wounded - they are to be attended by their own surgeons on parole, and they are to be furnished with medicines and stores from the American hospitals.

ANSWER The hospital stores now in York and Gloucester shall be delivered for the use of the British sick and wounded. Passports will be granted for procuring them further supplies from New York, as occasion may require, and proper hospitals will be furnished for the reception of the sick and wounded of the two garrisons.

ARTICLE XII. Wagons to be furnished to carry the baggage of the offices attending the soldiers, and the surgeons when traveling on account of the sick, attending the hospitals, at the public expense.

ANSWER They will be furnished if possible.

ARTICLE XIII. The shipping and boats in the two harbors, with all their stores, guns, tackling and apparel shall be delivered up in their present state to an officer of the navy appointed to take possession of them, previously unloading the private property, part of which had been on board for security during the siege. Granted.

ARTICLE XIV. No article of the capitulation to be infringed, on pretext of reprisal, and if there be any doubtful expressions in it, they are to be interpreted according to the common meaning and acceptation of the words. Granted.

Done at York, in Virginia, this 19th day of October, 1781.

The Americans and French troops took possession of the British batteries at noon. The garrison marched out at two o'clock between the two allied armies drawn up in line with shouldered arms, their drums beating a march, the cavalry with their swords drawn, trumpets sounding, the colors (twenty-four in number) of the whole cased, and grounded their arms on a field assigned for this ceremony. Lord Cornwallis, pleading illness, remained in the town. General O'Hara marched out at the head of the garrison. Approaching Rochambeau he tendered his sword, but the French commander motioned him to General Washington, saying that it was from the American General he must take his orders. Washington in turn directed him to surrender his sword to General Lincoln. The manner of the capitulation was modeled on the harsh terms Cornwallis imposed on Lincoln at the capture of Charleston, the year preceding. The colors were cased and the defeated army were ordered to play an English or German tune.

The same order was followed on the surrender of the Gloucester posts. The two redoubts were delivered up at one o'clock to the French and Americans under Generals de Choisy and Weedon, and the garrisons marching out at three were surrendered, and stacked their arms. 


Some interesting incidents are preserved of the scene. The British officers affected to treat the French as the conquerors and the Americans as inferiors. Abercrombie bit his sword and wept in discomfiture. The Germans of the two armies, the Hessians of Cornwallis' command and the Chasseurs of Lauzun's regiment, fell into each others arms, embracing each other; so strong is the feeling of language and of race. The next day Rochambeau entertained General O'Hara and several British officers at dinner, and the French were surprised to find how gaily the captured gentlemen accepted their defeat. After the entertainment the company called upon Cornwallis, who, although sick, received them with dignity and cordiality. The British and Hessian officers expressed surprise at the admirable proficiency, of the French fire, and the French were no less complimentary to the American aHies; and future history has thown the superiority of the two nations over the rest of the world in the accuracy and improvement of artillery practice.

On the 20th Washington congratulated the army on the glorious event in the following general order:

The General congratulates the army upon the glorious events of yesterday. The generous proofs which his Most Christian Majesty has given of his attachment to the cause of America, must force conviction on the minds of the most deceived among the enemy relative to the good consequences of the alliance, and inspire every citizen of these States with sentiments of the most unalterable gratitude. His fleet, the most numerous and powerful that ever appeared in these seas, commanded by an admiral whose fortune and talents ensure great events—an army of the most admirable composition, both in officers and men, are the pledges of his friendship to the United States, and their cooperation has secured us the present signal success. The General on this occasion entreats his Excellency, the Count de Rochambeau, to accept his most grateful acknowledgments for his counsels at all times, he presents his warmest thanks to the Generals Baron de Viomenil, Chevalier Chastellux, Marquis de Saint Simon, and Count de Viomenil, and to Brigadier General de Choisy who had a separate command, for the illustrious manner in which they have advanced the interests of the common cause. He requests that Count de Rochambeau will be pleased to communicate to the army under his immediate command the high sense he entertains of their distinguished merits, of the officers and soldiers of every corps, and that he will present in his name to the regiments of Agenois and Deux Fonts the Iwo pieces of brass ordnance captured by them (as a testimony of t .eir ^alla try) in storming the enemy's redoubt on the night of the 14th, when officers and men so universally vied with each other in the exercise of every soldierly virtue. The General's thanks to each individual merit, would comprehend the whole army, but he thinks himself bound by affection, duty, and gratitude, to express his obligations to Major Generals Lincoln, Lafayette, and Steuben for dispositions in the trenches to General Du Portail and Colonel Carney, for the vigor and knowledge which were conspicuous in the conduct of the attacks, and to General Knox and Colonel d'Aboville for their great care, attention, and fatigue in bringing forward the artillery and stores, and for their judicious and spirited arrangement of them in the parallels. He requests the gentlemen above mentioned to communicate his thanks to the officers and soldiers of their respective commands. Ingratitude, which the General hopes never to be guilty of, would be conspicuous in him should he omit thanking in the warmest terms his Excellency Governor Nelson for the aid he has received from him and from the militia under his command, to whose activity, emulation, and courage much applause is due. The greatness of the acquisition will be an ample compensation for the hardships and hazards which they encountered with so much patriotism and firmness. In order to diffuse the general joy through every breast, the General orders that those men, belonging to the army, who may be in confinement shall be pardoned, released, and join their respective commands. Divine service is to be performed to-morrow in the several brigades and divisions. The commander-in-chief recommends that the troops not on duty should universally attend with seriousness of deportment and gratitude of heart which the recognition of such reiterated and astonishing interpositions of Providence demand of us.

In accordance with the request of General Washington, on the 20th October General Knox thanked the officers and men of the corps of artillery under his command in Brigade orders.

It is with the highest degree of pleasure General Knox obeys the request of his Excellency, the Commander-in-Chief, in communicating his Excellency's thanks to the Corps of Artillery. The attention to the public interests in all ranks of officers in bringing forward, with uncommon labour, to this point the cannon and stores, which have, in conjunction with those of our good friends, the French, in a capital degree effected the joyful event of the iqth, merits the warmest effusion of gratitude. The skill, so conspicuously manifested in the management and direction of the cannon and mortars, have amazed our noble Allies, and brought home to the feelings of our enemies that the officers of the American artillery have acquired a respectable portion of knowledge in the profession. Gen'l Knox particularly requests Col. Lamb to accept of his most sincere acknowledgments for his care and attention in conducting the stores and troops from the Head of Elk to this place; He also thanks Lt. Col. Stevens for his great exertions at Christiana Bridge in forwarding the stores from that place, and for the essential assistance he afforded Colonel Lamb in the other paths of duty, and Major Bauman for the separate transportation of stores with which he was charged. He is highly impressed with the merit of the above Gentlemen, and with that of Lt. Col. Carrington, in the important duties of the Batteries, which they discharged in a manner highly honorable to themselves and their Country, and of all the officers and men for their talents and good conduct in their respective stations. Capt. Stevens is entitled to his esteem and thanks for his cire and industry in bringing forward the remainder of the stores, and Capts. Machin and Ferguson for their great exertions in erecting the Batteries with which they were charged. Lts. Price and Ford, with the other officers and men of the Laboratory, are also requested to receive the warmest acknowledgments of their General for the great attention and skill exhibited by them in the preparation of the numerous stores, upon which the success of the whole operation depended. The General also thanks Lt. Col. Dabney, the officers and privates of the Virginia State Regiment, Major Jones, with the militia, Capt. McKennon, the officers and privates of the Delaware detachments who have been annexed to the Artillery, for the zeal and alacrity with which they have performed the several duties assigned them, and assures their Corps that he shall ever retain the most grateful sense of their services on this occasion.

On the 21 st October the British troops were marched to Winchester, in Virginia, and to Fort Frederic and Frederic Town in Maryland, the places assigned for their reception, whence they were subsequently removed to Lancaster, in Pennsylvania, and guarded by Continental troops. The Bonetta sloop-of-war was ordered to be equipped and assigned to Lord Cornwallis, to carry an aid-de-camp to Sir Henry Clinton with dispatches announcing the surrender; after which the ship to be delivered to the Count de Grasse. Cornwallis himself was released on parole and went to New York. Washington sent a portion of the American troops to reinforce Greene, who was besieging Charleston; the remainder, under Lincoln, marched northward ; and the peninsula was left to the care of Rochambeau, whose first care was to demolish the batteries and outside redoubts, and repair the fortifications of the town proper. Later these works also, both at York and Gloucester, were razed to the ground before the final evacuation of Virginia by the French army.


September 27th, 1781

His Excellency, General George Washington, Commander-in-ChiefRight Wing {first line) American forcesLeft Wing (first line) French Auxiliary ForcesRight Wing (American). Major General Benjamin Lincoln, U. S. A., of Massachusetts, Commanding First Or Right Division (right-wing) Major General the Marquis De Lafayette, U. S. A., Commanding, Advance Guard T. Pennsylvania Volunteer Battalion Riflemen, Major Wm. Parr of Pa., Commanding 2. 4th Regiment Continental Light Dragoons, Colonel Stephen Moylan of Penn.Second or Left Brig. (1st Division)Colonel Moses Hazen, Canadian Regiment, Continental Infantry, Commanding Brigade, viz:Regiment of Light Infantry composed of the Light Infantry Companies of the 1st and 2d New Hampshire Continental Infantry, of the Canadian Regiment, and 1st and 2d New Jersey Continental Infantry, under Colonel Alexander Scammell, 1st New Hampshire Continental Infantry, and Major Nathan Rice, A. D C, of Mass.2d Battalion of Light Infantry (4 Companies) composed of the Light Companies 1st and 2d New York Continental Infantry, and 2 Companies of New York Levies, under Lieut. Colonel Alexander Hamilton, of New York, and Major Nicholas Fish, 2d New York Continental Infantry. 3d Canadian Continental Regiment, Infantry, Lieut. Colonel Edward Anhill. Commanding.Second Or Centre Division (right wing) Major General Baron De St Si: Ben, Inspector General U. S. A., Commanding1st or Right Brig. (2d Division) Brig. General Mordecai Gist, U. S. A., of Maryland, Commanding, viz:2d or Left Brig. (2d Division) Brig. General Anthony Wayne, U.S.A., of Pennsylvania, Commanding, viz:1st Regiment Pennsylvania Continental   Infantry, composed of 1st and 2d Regiments consolidated. Colonel Daniel  Brodhead, Commanding. 2d Regiment Pennsylvania Continental  Infantry, composed of 3d and 5th Regiments consolidated. Col. Richard Butler, Commanding. 3d Regiment Pennsylvania Continental Infantry, composed of the 4th and 6th Regiments consolidated. Wm. Butler, Commanding. 1st Virginia Continental Infantry, Lieut. Thos. Gaskins, 3d Virginia Continental Infantry, Commanding.3d Maryland Continental Infantry, Lieut. Colonel Peter Adams, Commanding.4th Maryland Continental Infantry, Lieut. Colonel Thos. Woolford, Commanding.5th Maryland Continental Infantry,   Major Alexander Roxburgh, Commanding. Baltimore Light Dragoons, Col. Nicholas Ruxton Moore.  Frederick Light Dragoons,Third Or Left Division {right wing) Brig. General James Clinton, U. S. A., of New York, Commanding Left Brig. {3d Division) Colonel Elias Dayton, 2d New Jersey Continental Infantry, Commanding, 1st Regiment New Jersey Continental Infantry, Colonel Matthias Ogden, Commanding.2d Regiment New Jersey Continental Infantry, Lieut. Colonel Francis BarBer, Commanding.Rhode Island Regiment Continental Infantry, Lieut. Colonel Comd't JereMiah Olney, Commanding.or Right Bfig. (3d Division) Colonel Goose Van Schaick. 1st Regiment New York Continental Infantry, Commanding, viz.:1st Regiment New York Continental Infantry, Lieut. Colonel Cornelius Van Dyck, Commanding.2d Regiment New York Continental Infantry, Colonel Philip Van CortLandt, Commanding.Left Wing; (French) Lieut. General Count De Rochambeau, Commanding1st Virginia State Regiment   Infantry in Continental  Service, Colonel George  Gibson, Commanding. Intermediate Line  Centre Brig. General Chevalier   Le Begue Du Portail,  Chief of Engineers,   U. S. A., Commanding. Battalion of Sappers and  Miners. Right Brigadier General Henry  Knox, U. S. A., of the    Artillery, Commanding   Park of Artillery, viz: 2d Regiment Continental   Corps of Artillery, Col.   Jno. Lamb, of New York,   Commanding, Lieut. Colonel Ebenezer Stevens.  Major Sebastian   Bauman. Detachment of Regiment of Artillery, Lt. Col. EdWard Carrington, of Virginia, Commanding.Reserve Or Second Line His Excellency, Thomas Nelson, Governor of Virginia (ranking as Major General U. S. A.), Commanding Division Virginia Militia.Left Brigade Brigadier General Edward Stevens. Virginia Militia (formerly Colonel 10th  Virginia Continentals), Commanding   Brigade Virginia Militia. Right Brigade; Brigadier General Robert Lawson, Virginia Militia (formerly Colonel 4th Virginia Continentals), Commanding Brigade Virginia Militia.Rear Guard Major James R. Reid, Canadian Continental Regiment Infantry, Commanding Rear Guard and Camp Guard

COUNT DE ROCHAMBEAU Jean Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, Comte de Rochambeau, was born at Vendom, in the year 1725, entered the French military service in 1742, and was distinguished for bravery and conduct in the wars of the continent. When the government of Louis XVI. determined to send a contingent force to the aid of the Americans, Rochambeau was selected to command the expedition. His services have not had their due honor in the annals of the revolution. He alone could have brought the allied op rations to a successful termination and kept an unbroken harmony between the troops and population of races whose history was one long career of antagonism. Left for nearly a year without assistance or counsel from the French ministry, which was passing through vital changes; subjected in a foreign land to reproaches and importunities to which he would not or could not reply; distrusted even by his own officers, with whom his credit was impaired by the negligence of his government, his serenity was unbroken, and he maintained his authority without stooping to an explanation even to the highest of his general officers Of a concentrated and reserved nature, he kept his own counsel even from his own military family, and left nothing to chance or indiscretion. In his character there was a self-control, the unerring accompaniment of greatness. He had every quality of a commander, prudence in counsel, activity in preparation, precision and certainty in execution. He was moderate and courteous as he was wise, and in his perfect deference to Washington, the commander-in-chief, he set an example: to his officers and troops which, perhaps more than any other ciuse, conduced to the good feeling which at the time alone rendered victory possible, and the fruits of which are the amity which has since been maintained between France and the United States. The French troops under his command remained in the United States first at the southward and later in New York and the Eastern States until the 24th December, 1782, when the fleet upon which it was embarked sailed from Boston under the command of the Marquis de Vaudreuil, for the West Indies. Rochambeau himself, with his staff, sailed in the frigate Emeraudefrom the Chesapeake Bay on the 14th January, 1783, and, after a narrow escape from the English men-of-war which watched for and pursued him, reached Nantes in safety. On his arrival at Versailles he was received by the king with great distinction. He was named Chevalier of the Order of St. Louis and promised the government of the first province which should become vacant. This was of Picardy, to which he succeeded the next year. From this he passed to that of Alsace in 1789, and, by his calmness and force of character, maintained order in the province during the popular excitement which spread over France.

In 1790 he was appointed to the command of the army of the north, and displayed the same superior military talent which marked his career in America. In 1791 he was promoted by the king to the rank of Marshal of France. Believing that the true policy of France was a defensive war, and a contrary opinion prevailing in the councils of the government, he withdrew to his estate of Rochambeau, in the Vendome. Here he heard of the storming of the Tuileries on the 10th August, 1792, the downfall of the monarchy, and the proclamation of the French Republic. Soon after, he was arrested by order of the Committee of Public Safety, taken to Paris and imprisoned in the Conciergerie for nine months. Demanding an examination, he was tried and acquitted, and finally released on 6th Brumaire, 1793. In 1804 he received the cordon of Grand-Officier of the Legion of Honor. He died in 1807. Rochambeau organized the French Order of the Cincinnati, a branch of that instituted by the American officers in 1 83, and with the consent of the King nominated its members. There is an interesting incident connected with the two cannon captured at Yorktown, which, presented to him by order of Congress, and sent to him after the war, were mounted at his estate. They were demanded by the French authorities at the time that his fidelity was unjustly doubted, but the order was not carried out, and they are still tu be seen—honorable trophies of his service in America—at the chateau of Rochambeau at Vendome, in the department of Loir-et-Cher, where the representative of the family, Count A. de Rochambeau, now resides. This gentleman will represent the family of the General at the Yorktown celebration in October.


Claude Anne, Marquis de Saint Simon, of the ducal family of this name, illustrious in the history of the France, also in that of the republic of letters, was born at the chateau de la Faye, in 1743. He entered the French artillery school at Strasburg and made the Flanders campaign as a lieutenant in the regiment of Auvergne. In 1775 he became colonel of the regiment of Touraine, and in 1779 was assigned to take part in the expedition of France against Martinique, and embarked at Brest with his regiment. During his voyage, the vessel which carried him was three times attacked by Admiral Rodney. On the 1st March, 1780, he received the grade of Marechal-de-Camp, and was transferred to the service of his Catholic Majesty of Spain, to take part in the operations which were concerted between the allied sovereigns of France and Spain in their tripartite alliance with America, and was selected to command the land forces sent from the West Indies on the fleet of de Grasse, to take part in the combined military and naval operation in the Chesapeake. The military force which he brought to the aid of the operations of France and the United States before York is described in a letter from an officer in the army of Lafayette with highest praise. "You have seen" he wrote, " the British troops and the troops of other nations, but you have not seen troops so universally well made, so robust, or of such an appearance as those General St. Simon has just brought to our assistance—and," he adds, " I pretend to see a great general in the Marquis de Saint Simon." The archives of the French war department bear the testimony of Rochambeau '' that he was one of the bravest men that lived." On the 16th, the last day of the siege, while commanding in the French trenches as Marechal-de-Camp, he was wounded. Immediately after the surrender of Cornwallis he returned to the West Indies with his detachment. At the peace he returned to France, received the grade of Commander of the Order of Saint Louis, and was appointed Governor of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. In 1789 he was elected by the nobility of Angoumois to the States-General. In 1790 he declared adhesion to the new Republican order, but after the session of the Assembly he protested against the revolutionary acts and withdrew to Spain, where he entered the military service and rose to high rank. In 1796 he was appointed Captain-General of Old Castile. In 1802 he received the Grand Order of Charles III., and in 1803 his Catholic Majesty confirmed him and his succession in the grade of Grandee of Spain. In 1808 he defended Madrid against the French with great bravery, but taken prisoner was condemned to death under his old prescription as a French emigre^ His life was spared by Napoleon on a personal intercession of his daughter. He was, however, confined in the prison at Besancon till 1814. On the re-establishment of Ferdinand VII. the Marquis de Saint Simon returned to Spain and received the grade of Captain-General, analogous to that of Marshal of France. He died in this rank about 1820. His only child was the daughter whose intercession saved his life, and who devoted herself to him in his captivity. Thus no male representative can represent this admirable officer in the approaching centennial of the scene of his conduct and of his wound.


Count De Rochambeau, Lieutenant-general, Commanding

General Officers—Baron de Viomenil Cheva'ier de Chastellux Marquis de Saint-Simon, Chevalier de Viomenil, Marichaux-de-Camp; M. de Choisy, Brigadier; M. de Beville, Quartermaster-General; M. Blanchard, Commissary-General, Aides-de-camp To Count De Rochambeau—First Aid, Count de Fersen, Second Lieutenant; Chevalier de Lameth (Charles), Colonel; Count de Damas, Colonel; Count de Dumas, Colonel; Baron de Closen, Captain; M. de Lauberdiere, Captain; Baron Cromot-du-bourg, Chevalier de Beville. Captain. To Baron De Viomenil—Chevalier d'Olonne, Second Lieutenant; Marquis de Vauban, ;To Chevalier De Chastellux—M. de Montesquieu. 

General Staff—Aides Major-general—M. de Menonville, Lieut-Colonel; M. de Tarle, Lieut.-Colonel; M. de Bouchet, Captain;    Aid-major Of Infantry—M. Lynch, Captain; Aide Major—     M. de Saint-Felix, Captain; Aide-major Of Artillery—Chevalier de Plessis-Mauduit, Capitaine-en-Second; Quartermaster    General's Aids—M. Collot, ,• M. de Beville (Junior) Captain; Count de Chabannes; Chevalier de Lameth (Alexandre), Captain; Topographical Engineers — Alexander de Berthier, Captain; Captain OF The Guides—M. Mullens, Lieutenant. 

Field Officers Of Rochambeau's Army 

REGlMENT Bourbonnais—Marquis de Laval-Montmorenci, Colonel; Vicomte de Rochambeau, Colonel-en-Second; M. de Bressolles, Lieut.Colonel; M. de Gambs, Major. Regiment Soissonnais—Count de Saint-Maime, Colonel; Vicomte de Noailles, Colonel-en-Second; M. d'Anselme, Lieut.-Colonel; M, Despeyron, Major. Regiment Royal Deux-ponts—Marquis Christian des Deux-Ponts, Comte de Forbach, Colonel; Count Guillaume des Deux-Ponts, olonel-en-Second; Count de Fersen, Mestre-de-Camp. Regiment Saintonge—Count de Custine, Colonel; Count de Charlus, Colonel-en-Second; Chevalier de la Vallette, Lieut.-Colonel; deFleury, Major. Lauzun's Legion—Duke de Lauzun, Brigadier Commanding; M. Schel don, Mestre de-Camp of Hussars. Regiment Dillon—Count Arthur de Dillon, Colonel; Barthelemy Dillon, Lieut.-Colonel, Jacques O'Moran.

Field Officers Of Marquis De Saint-simon's Army Regiment Touraine—Vicomte de Pondeux, Colonel; M. de Montlezun, Lieut.-Colonel; M. de Menonville, Major; Count de Flechin, Chevalier de Mirabeau (brother of the famous Tribune), Mestres-deCamp. Regiment Agenois—Count d'Audichamp, Colonel; Chevalier de Cadinau, Lieut.-Colonel; M. de Beauregard, Major. Rrgiment Gatinois (royal Auvergne)—Marquis de Rostaing, Colonel; Vicomte de Bethisy, Colonel-en-Second; M. de l'Estrade, Lieut.-Colonel; M. Chapuy de Tourville, Major.

Royal Engineers—M. de Guerenet, Colonel; Cantel Daneteville, Major Artillery (regiment Auxijnne) M. de Buzalet.

Second Battle of the Virginia Capes - Initially, Admiral Jacques-Melchior de Barras of St. Lawrence expressed reluctance to join his squadron in the fleet.  In theory, Barras aged 61, had more seniority in the rank of Grasse, and was therefore higher-level, but it had been given greater power and appointed to command of all operations under the French theater in North America. Barras who was considering launching raids on Newfoundland rather than go support the Yorktown campaign honored Grasse orders to send artillery reinforcements to strengthen the siege of Yorktown. Admiral Barras left Rhode Island on August 24 with 12 new vessels and 18 transports loaded with siege material (mainly artillery). He chose the safest route navigation, keeping the sea about sixty nautical miles east of the coastline. Barras precious siege equipment was in jeopardy when engaged the British  on September 5th in the "Second Battle of the Virginia Capes." Here he engaged Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Graves in a tactically inconclusive battle that proved to be a major defeat for the British, since it prevented the Royal Navy from reinforcing or evacuating the blockaded forces of Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia. The French, after the battle, were able to achieve temporary control of the sea lanes against the British and this resulted in the reinforcement of the Continental Army with siege artillery and fresh French troops, which proved decisive in the Siege of Yorktown, leading to he surrender of General Cornwallis on October 19th, 1781.


The French fleet, without the cooperation of which the magnificent manoeuvre, of which the feint on New York was the beginning and the surrender of Yorktown the close, could not have succeeded, was the most formidable naval armament that had ever been fitted out by France. The Count de Grasse, the admiral in command, sailed from the port of Brest on the 226 March, 1781, with a convoy of 150 ships valued at thirty millions of livres. The shores were lined by thousands of people as the fleet sailed into the offing, and the Minister of marine went up in person from Versailles to witness its departure. By the close of April it was before Martinique and broke the British blockade.

On the 5th August, De Grasse sailed from St. Domingo, his pennant hoisted on the Ville de Paris, a magnificent three-decker of 104 guns. Stopping at Havana he took in a supply of coin, and passing out through the Ville De Paris Bahama Channel, came to anchor in Chesapeake Bay on the 26th August. On the evening of his arrival he was boarded by an officer whom Lafayette had posted at Cape Henry, to inform him of his own position, of that of Cornwallis, and of the expected arrival of the allied armies. The land forces whom he brought with him from the West Indies, 3,600 in number, were at once embarked in transports and sent up the James River to Jamestown, where they arrived on the 27th, and made a junction with Lafayette's command. The two armies marched the next day to Williamsburg, and with an observing force at Gloucester, commanded every avenue by which the escape of the British was possible. But it must not be imagined that no efforts were made to frustrate the purposes of the French admiral. On the 5th the English squadron was signaled off the Capes. De Grasse at once went out with his fleet, twenty-four ships and two frigates, carrying 1,826 guns, and met the British under Admiral Graves, with twenty-one ships, carrying 1,694 guns. A sharp action ensued, in which the English were worsted, the Terrible, one of their best ships, being so badly crippled that she could be with difficulty kept afloat, and four others seriously damaged. The fleets manoeuvred from the 6th to the 10th, the English avoiding a general engagement and finally sailing northward, leaving de Grasse in peaceful mastery of the bay. On his return to his position behind the shelter of the Middle Ground banks, he found the Count de Barras, who had brought down his vessels and the contingent of troops and heavy artillery which had been left at Newport, in Rhode Island, safely at anchor. They had passed the British fleet unobserved. No further effort was made by the British to interfere with the operations of the Allies until the 24th October, when a squadron of twenty-five ships of the line, with Sir Henry Clinton and seven thousand men on board, appeared off the Capes; on the fleet also was Prince William Henry, later the sailor King William IV. To his chagrin Clinton found that it was too late, and returned in dismay to New York. The wind not favoring, de Grasse did not attempt to pursue.

The presence of de Grasse on the American coast was but an incident in the campaign laid out for him by the French government, and after the capitulation of Cornwallis he made haste to sail to the West Indies, where he had an appointment to meet the Spanish admiral, to take part in a concerted attack on the British posts in the Islands. Taking on board the Marquis de St. Simon and his troops, he sailed out of the bay on the 5th November. His later operations were not so fortunate as his American campaign. In a combat with Rodney in April of the next year he was defeated, his flag ship, the Ville de Paris, was captured, and he himself fell prisoner into the hands of the English admiral.


Francois Joseph Paul, Comte de Grasse, Marquis de Grasse—Tilly, was born at Valette, in Provence, in 1723. At the beginning of the American war he was in command of the Robuste, a seventy-four gun ship, in which he took part in the naval battle of Ouessant in July, 1778. He was with d'Estaing during the period of his operations on the American coast in 1779, and the next year distinguished himself under de Guichen in his engagement with Rodney. On his return to France he was made Lieutenant-General or Admiral, and given the command of the fleet in the West Indies, succeeding de Guichen, who had succeeded d'Estaing, and was entrusted with the naval operations on the American coast in concert with the land operations of the allied forces under Washington and Rochambeau. After his brilliant engagement with Admiral Graves off the Capes of the Chesapeake in September, 1781, which redeemed the credit of the French marine, he carried his fleet to the West Indies, where he met with a serious disaster. In a contest of seven hours with Rodney, during which he bravely but fruitlessly opposed his six ships to fourteen of the enemy, he lost his vessels and was himself captured in the Ville de Paris, his flag ship. He was held prisoner in England until the signature of peace in 1783. On his return to France he demanded a trial and fully justified himself, but paid the penalty of his defeat in the loss of the king's favor, and withdrawing from active service lived in retirement till his death, January 14, 1788. Washington, in reply to Rochambeau, who announced to him the death of their old companion in the glories of Yorktown, said of him, "that his name will be long deservedly dear to this country" on account of his successful cooperation in the campaign of 1781. He was three times married. His sixth child by the first wife, Sylvie de Grasse, was married to Francis de Pau, and died in New York January 5, 1835. Descendants of the admiral are to be found in America in the New York families of Fox, Livingston, Fowler, and Coster.


Louis Comte de Barras St. Laurent, of an ancient family, distinguished in the annals of France by its military services, was born in Provence, about 1721. Entering the navy, his early years of service were not marked by any special merit, and he first appears prominently, in the operations of the French squadron on the American coast, when he was well advanced in years. He accompanied the Count d'Estaing on the expedition of 1779, and commanded his vanguard when he forced his way into the harbor of Newport in July, 1778. On the death, in Newport, of the Chevalier de Ternay, who commanded the fleet which brought over Rochambeau and his army in the summer of 1780, and remained on the Rhode Island station, M. de Barras was appointed to to the command. Receiving the rank of Chef d'Escadre, he sailed from Brest on the 22d March, 1781, in the fleet of de Grasse, who, although his junior in rank, had command of the expedition, with the provisional grade of LieutenantGenera]. On the 29th March de Barras left the squadron, in the Concorde, and sailed for his destination. He arrived at Boston on the 8th May, and hastening to Newport took command of the squadron in the waters of Rhode Island, hoisting his pennant on the Duc de Bourgogne of eighty guns. He was at once invited by Washington to the conference at Weathersfield on the 22d of that month, at which the plans of campaign for the allied forces were arranged with Rochambeau. The arrival of Admiral Arbuthnot, with a British squadron off Newport, prevented his taking part in lhe discussion. In the arrangements which followed, De Barras manifested every disposition to second the views of the land officers, but held himself strictly within the line of his instructions. Count de Grasse left him free to act in his discretion, and his own desire was to make an expedition against Newfoundland, which was within the instructions of the French ministry; but, urgently dissuaded by Washington and Rochambeau, who desired the transport of the heavy artillery left behind at Newport on the march of the army, he waived all considerations of rank, and, on the 25th of August, 1781, with eight ships of the line, four frigates, ten transports, and eight American vessels, sailed out of the harbor of Newport, and, fortunately avoiding the powerful fleet which Admiral Graves took out from New York, reached the mouth of the Chesapeake on the 10th September, where de Grasse found him safely at anchor on his return from his victorious engagement with the squadron of Graves. De Barras appended his signature to a certificate of the articles of capitulation of Cornwallis in behalf of himself and the Count de Grasse, and his name goes down to fame on that famous document side by side with that of Washington and Rochambeau^ During the period of his command on the American coast he had no opportunity for personal distinction, the superiority of the English squadron over that of the French being incontestible until the arrival of de Grasse.

At the close of the siege of Yorktown he followed De Grasse from Chesapeake Bay to the West Indies, and distinguished himself in the attack of the 25th and 26th January, 1802, upon the squadron of Admiral Hood, which anchored under the guns of St. Christopher. Upon the surrender of this island to the French troops under the Marquis de Bouille, Admiral Barras was detached to take possession of the English islands of Nevis and Montserrat, which were also surrendered. Returning to Europe, he was fortunate enough to escape the disaster which befell De Grasse in his naval engagement with Admiral Rodney on the 12th April following. On the reorganization of the French navy in 1782, De Barras was made Vice-Admiral. On the signature of peace he withdrew entirely from the service and public affairs, and died shortly before the revolution of 1789, esteemed by his brothers in arms and beloved by all who knew him.


De Grasse, Lieut.-GeneralVine de Pans. . De Vaugirault, Major de l'ArmeeAuguste UagnainViIle' Chef d'Escadre Sceptre 80 De VaudreuilSaint Esprit 80 De ChabertCesar 74 Coriolis d'EspinouseDestin 74 Dumaitz de GoimpyVictoire 74 D'Albert Saint-HyppoliteNorthumberland 74 De BriquevillePalmier 74 D'Arros d'ArgelosPluton 74 DAlbert de RionsMarseillais 74 De Castellane de MasjastreBourgoyne 74 De Charittekeflechi 74 Cillart de SuvilleDiademe 74 De MonteclercCaton 74 De KramondCitoyen 74 D'EthyScipion 74 De ClavelMagnanime 74 Le BegueHercule 74 De Turpin de BreuilZele 74 De Gras Pre'villeHector 74 Renaud dAleinsSouverain 74 De GlanedevesGlorieux 74 D'EscarsVaillant 70 Chevalier Bernard de MarignySolitaire 64 De Cice ChampionTriton 64 Brun de BoadesExperiment 50Fleet Of De BarrasDue de Bourgogne 80 Count de Barras, Chef d'EscadreNeptune 74 DestouchesConquerant 74 La GrandiereProvence 64 LombardEveille 64 De TillyJasnn 64 La ClocheterieArdent 64 Chevalier de MarignylielloneRomulus 44Sarveillante 40 SillartAmazone La PerouseHermione 36 De la ToucheSibylle 36CuttersGuepe Chevalier de MaulevrierSerpent 18 Anne de la Lanne



Immediately on the signature of the capitulation, Lieutenant-Colonel Tench Tilghman, one of the military staff of General Washington from the beginning of the war, was dispatched by him with a copy of the articles and a letter to the President of Congress. Accomplishing his journey, partly by water, in the course of which he was delayed by fogs in the Chesapeake, and partly by land, he reached Philadelphia at midnight of Tuesday, the 23d. The news spread rapidly, and the watchmen in the streets, in their peculiar vernacular, aroused the sleeping city with the cry, "Cornwallis is laaken!" The proceedings of the Government, the next day, were marked with stately ceremony. The Vice- President of the State and the members of the Council waited on the President of Congress and members of that august body, and upon the Chevalier de la Luzerne, the Minister of France. On the appearance of Colonel Tilghman with the dispatches, Wednesday (24th October), Congress, on motion of Mr. Randolph, adopted the following resolutions:

Original handwritten Journal of the United States in Congress Assembled for Wednesday, October 24th, 1781, recording the resolutions enacted by Congress after being informed that Earl Cornwallis had surrendered at Yorktown.


Resolved, That Congress will at 2 o'clock this day go in procession to the Dutch Lutheran Church and return thanks to Almighty God for crowning the allied arms of the United States and France with success, by the surrender of the whole British army under the command of the Earl Cornwall is. Ordered, That the letter, with the papers inclosed, be referred to the Committee of Intelligence.

Resolved, That the letters of General Washington of the 19th, inclosing the correspondence between him and the Earl Cornwallis, concerning the surrender of the garrisons of York and Gloucester, and the articles of capitulation, be referred to a committee of four: the members Mr. Randolph, Mr. Boudinot, Mr. Varnum, Mr. Carroll.

Resolved, That it be our instruction to the said committee to report what in their opinion will be the most proper mode of communicating the thanks of the United States, in Congress assembled, to General Washington, Count de Rochambeau and Count de Grasse, for their effectual exertions in accomplishing this illustrious work, and of paying respect to the merit of Lieutenant-Colonel Tilghman, Aid-de-Camp of General Washington, and the bearer of his dispatches announcing this happy event.

Ordered, That the Secretary of Foreign Affairs communicate this intelligence to the honorable the Minister Plenipotentiary of France.

On Friday, October 26th, Thursday, the 13th day of December, was set apart by Congress as a day of public thanksgiving, and on the 26th a Proclamation was adopted, acknowledging the "influence of Divine Providence in raising up for us a powerful ally in one of the first of the European powers," and praying God to "protect and prosper our illustrious ally, and favor our united exertions for the speedy establishment of a safe, honorable and lasting peace."

The committee, to whom were referred the letters of General Washington, on the 29th October reported the following resolutions, which were adopted:

Resolved, That the thanks of the United States in Congress assembled be presented to his Excellency General Washington for the eminent services which he has rendered to the United States, and particularly for the well-concerted plan against the British garrisons in York and Gloucester; for the vigor, attention and military skill with which the plan was executed, and for the wisdom and prudence manifested in the capitulation. That the thanks of the United States in Congress assembled be presented to his Excellency Count de Rochambeau for the cordiality, zeal, judgment and fortitude with which he seconded and advanced the progress of the allied army against the British garrison in York. That the thanks of the United States in Congress assembled be presented to his Excellency Count de Grasse for his skill and bravery in attacking and defeating the British fleet off the Bay of Chesapeake, and for his zeal and alacrity in rendering, with the fleet under his command, the most effectual and distinguished aid and support in the operations of the allied army in Virginia. That the thanks of the United States in Congress assembled be presented to the commanding and other officers of the Corps of Artillery and Engineers of the allied army, who sustained extraordinary fatigue and danger in their animated and gallant approaches to the lines of the enemy. That General Washington be directed to communicate to the other officers and the soldiers under his command the thanks of the United States, in Congress assembled, for their conduct and valor on this occasion.

Resolved, That the United States, in Congress assembled, will cause to be erected, at York, in Virginia, a marble column, adorned with emblems of the alliance between the United States and his Most Christian Majesty, and inscribed with a succinct narrative of the surrender of Earl Cornwallis to his Excellency General Washington, Commander-inChief of the combined forces of America and France, to his Excellency the Count de Rochambeau, commanding the auxiliary troops of his Most Christian Majesty in America, and his Excellency the Count de Grasse, commanding in chief the naval army of France in the Chesapeake.

Resolved, That two stands of colors, taken from the British army under the capitulation of York, be presented to his Excellency General Washington, in the name of the United States in Congress assembled.

Resolved, That two pieces of the field ordnance, taken from the British army under the capitulation of York, be presented, by the Comma der-in-Chief of the American army, to Count de Rochambeau, and that there be engraved thereon a short memorandum, that Congress were induced to present them from considerations of the illustrious part -which he bore in effectuating the surrender.

Resolved, That the Secretary of Foreign Affairs be directed to request the Minister Plenipotentiary of His Most Christian Majesty to inform His Majesty that it is the wish of Congress that Count de Gr sse may be permitted to accept a testimony of their approbation similar to that to be presented to Count de Rochambeau.

Resolved, That the Board of War be directed to present to Lieutenant Colonel Tilghman in the name of the United States in Congress assembled, a horse properly caparisoned and an elegant sword in testimony of their high opinion of his merits and ability.

On the 27th November Congress further Resolved, That an elegant sword be presented in the name of the United States in Congress assembled, to Colonel Humphrey, Aid-deCamp of General Washington, to whose care the standards taken under the capitulation of York were consigned, as a testimony of their opinion of his fidelity and ability, and that the Board of War take order thereon.


In token of their intention to lose no time in the erection of the monument ordered by their previous resolution, Congress on the 7th November, on the motion of Mr. Randolph, further

Resolved, That the Secretary for Foreign Affairs be directed to prepare a sketch of emblems of the alliance between His Most Christian Majesty and th; United States, proper to be inscribed on the marble column to be erected in the town of York under the resolution of the 29th October last.

'In accordance with these instructions, Robert R. Livingston, Secretary for Foreign Affairs, addressed a letter to Benjamin Franklin, the American minister at the Court of Versailles, requesting him to obtain a suitable design. The services of French artists had previously been availed of for the execution of medals and other testimonials ordered by Congress, and Franklin had directed the details and proposed the emblematic devices.

Livingston To Franklin — Philadelphia, December 16, 1781 — I enclose a resolution of Congress for erecting a pillar to commemorate the victory at Yorktown. I must request your assistance in enabling me to carry it into effect, so far as it relates to me, by sending the sketch they require with an estimate of the expense with which it will be attended. I could wish it to be such as may do honor to the nations whose union it designs to celebrate, and for that reason should think the execution ought to be deferred till our finances are in a better situation than they are at present; but >s this lies with Congress only, you will be so obliging as to enable me to do my duty by laying the sketch before them as soon as you can conveniently get the same executed.

On the 2d of November Livingston also inclosed the resolutions of Congress to the Chevalier de la Luzerne, the French Ambassador to the United States, and the following correspondence ensued, which distinctly shows that the idea which prevailed at the time was that the chief purpose of Congress, in ordering the monument, was to commemorate the alliance.

Luzerne To Livingston—Philadelphia, November 4, 1781—Sir, I have received the letter with which you honored me on the 2d inst., with the resolutions of Congress of the 28th October, which accompanied it. I have no doubt that they will be most agreeable to his Majesty, and that he will learn with pleasure that the remembrance of the success obtained by the allied armies is to be preserved by a column on which a relation of this event will be inscribed and mention made of the alliance. I shall be glad before any further resolutions are taken on the subject to communicate to you some ideas relative to this monument. It is so honorable to the two nations to perpetuate this remembrance of their union that we ought to be mutually desirous of giving it all the solidity and durability of which the works of man are susceptible.

Livingston To Luzerne—November 6, 1781—Sir, Having been honored with your letter of the 4th instant, I remark with pleasure that the mode in which Congress propose to perpetuate the success obtained by the allied armies at York is such as will in your opinion be agreeable to His Most Christian Majesty. As Congress must concur with you in wishing to render this monument of the alliance and of the military virtues of the combined forces as lasting, if possible, as the advantages they may reasonably hope to reap from both, they will, without doubt, pay all due deference to any ideas you may think proper to suggest relative to the manner of carrying the resolution of the 28ihof October into effect. I shall receive, sir, with pleasure, and submit to Congress any communications that you will do me honor to make on the subject.

Here the correspondence on the subject between the representatives of the two governments seems to have dropped. Mr. Livingston hinted in his letter that the state of the finances of the United States did not admit of an immediate execution of the resolution of Congress, and it does not appear that Franklin sent any design to the United States. Other and more important subjects, relating to the negotiations for peace, left no time for other considerations.

No further action was taken on the subject until Congress, urged by a request of a convention of the Governors of the Colonial States, held at Carpenter's Hall in Philadelphia on the 18th October, 1879, determined to carry into effect the purpose of the Congress of 1781. Their proceedings were as follows:

On the 3d December, 1879, on motion of Mr. Goode of Virginia, the following preamble and resolution were read, considered and agreed to:

Whereas, on Monday, the 29th day of October, 1781, it was "Resolved, That the United States in Congress assembled will cause to be erected at York in Virginia a marble column, adorned with emblems of the alliance between the United States and his most Christian Majesty, and inscribed with a succinct narrative of the surrender of Earl Ccrnwallis to his Excellency General Washington, Commander-in-Chief of the combined forces of America and France; to his Excellency the Count de Rochambeau, commanding the auxiliary troops of his most Christian Majesty in America, and his Excellency the Count de Grasse, commanding in chief the naval army of France in the Chesapeake; and

Whereas, that resolution has not been carried into effect, and the pledge of the nation, made nearly one hundred years ago, remains as yet unfulfilled; and

Whereas, it is eminently proper that the centennial anniversary of the decisive victory achieved by Washington and the continental army, with the assistance of their French allies, at Yorktown, should be appropriately celebrated by the American people: therefore,

Resolved, That a select committee of thirteen be appointed by the Speaker, whose duty it shall be to inquire into the expediency of appropriating a suitable sum to be expended, under the direction of the Secretary of War, in erecting at Yorktown in Virginia the monument referred to in the aforesaid resolution of Congress, and of making the necessary arrangements, in conjunction with the authorities of the State of Virginia, for an appropriate celebration by the American people on the 19th day of October, 1881, for the surrender of the British forces under Lord Cornwallis; and that said committee have leave to report, by bill or otherwise, at any time.

On the 19th December, 1879, the Speaker of the House announced the appointment of the Committee called for by the resolution:

John Goode, of Virginia, Chairman; J. G. Hall, of New Hampshire; George B. Loring, of Massachusetts; N. W. Aldrich, of Rhode Island; Joseph R. Hawley, of Connecticut; Nicholas Muller, of New York; Lewis A. Brigham, of New Jersey; Samuel B. Dick, of Pennsylvania; E. L. Martin, of Delaware; J. F. C. Talbott, of Maryland ; Joseph J. Davis, of North Carolina ; John S. Richardson, of South Carolina, and Henry Persons, of Georgia.

A bill was introduced into and passed by the House, Jan. 27, 1880, and with amendments, made by the Senate, June 1, concurred in by the House, was approved June 7, 1880:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled. That the sum of $100,000, or so much thereof as may be necessary, be, and the same is hereby appropriated, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, to be expended, under the direction of the Secretary of War, in erecting at Yorktown. in Virginia, the monument referred to in the aforesaid resolution of Congress.

Provided, however, that the material used may be such as the Secretary of War may deem most appropriate and durable.

Sec. 2. That a commission of three persons shall be appointed by the Secretary of War, whose duty it shall be to recommend a suitable design for said monument, to prepare a sketch of emblems of the alliance between his Most Christian Majesty and the United States, and a succinct narrative of the surrender of Earl Cornwallis to be inscribed on the same, subject to the approval and adoption of the Select Committee of Thirteen appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, on the 19th of December, 1879, and of thirteen Senators to be appointed by the presiding officer of the Senate; to inquire into the expediency of appropriating a suitable sum to be expended in erecting at Yorktown, in Virginia, the monument referred to.

Sec. 3. That it shall be the duty of the sail Joint Committee to select the site for the location of said monument, to obtain the cession of the same from the State of Virginia, and to make all the necessary arrangements for such a celebration by the American people of the Centennial Anniversary of the battle of Yorktown on the 19th of October, 188 [, as shall befit the historical significance of that event and the present greatness of the nation.

Sec. 4. That the sum of $20 000, or so much thereof as may be necessary, be hereby appropriated out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, for the purpose of defraying the expenses incurred in the said Centennial celebration, and to be disbursed under the direction of the said Joint Committee.

The President of the Senate appointed the following Committee:

John W. Johnston, Chairman, of Virginia; Rollins, of New Hampshire; Dawes, of Massachusetts; Anthony of Rhode Island; Eaton, of Connecticut; Kernan, of New York; Wallace, of Pennsylvania; Randolph, of New Jersey; Bayard, of Delaware; Whyte, of Maryland; Ransom, of North Carolina; Butler, af South Carolina, and Hill, of Virginia.

In accordance with the joint resolutions the Secretary of War named as the commission of three persons, Messrs. R. W. Hunt, Samuel Van Brunt, and J. Q. A. Ward, whose report was transmitted to the Senate by the Secretary of War on the 2d December, 1880, and their model sent to the war office. Its form is that of a column, and the height will vary, according to the scale adopted, from ninety-seven to one hundred and thirty-five feet. The model is thus described:

The model forwarded is five feet and a half high. It consists of a Corinthian column and capital designed by Mr. Hunt, surmounted with a figure, bearing a round of others in high relief. For the statue at the top Mr. Ward submits four figures of liberty and victory for selection. In recesses in the sides of the pedestal, from which the column springs, are in front the coats of arms of France and the United States, side by side, on the right, naval; and on the left, army attributes ; beyond are emblems of peace. On a cylinder above are thirteen female figures in alto relief, representing the original colonies, hand joined to hand; on a hand above each figure is an incised star. Beneath the figures the legend "One Country, one Destiny, one Constitution." There are numerous other emblematic and architeciural ornaments.

The following are the inscriptions submitted by the commission for the four sides of the column.

North side—Erected in pursuance of a resolution of Congress adopted October 29, 1781, and an act of Congress June 9, 1880, to commemorate the victory by which the Independence of the United States of America was achieved. South side—On this spot, October 19, 1781, after a siege of nineteen days by 5,500 American and 7,000 French troops of the line, 3,500 American militia and 36 French ships of war, Earl Cornwallis, commander of the British forces at Yorktown and Gloucester, surrendered with his whole army, 7,251 officers and men, 840 seamen, 244 cannon, and 24 standards, to George Washington, Commander-in-Chief of the combined forces of America and France, to the Comte de Rochambeau, commanding the French troops, and to the Comte de Grasse, commanding the French fleet. East side—The provisional articles of peace concluded November 30, 1782, and the definitive treaty of peace concluded September 3, 1783, between the United States of America and George III., the King of Great Britain and Ireland, declare "His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz., the Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free, sovereign and independent States." West side—The treaty concluded February 6, 1778, between the United States of America and LouisXVI., King of France, declares: "The essential and direct end of the present defensive alliance, is to maintain effectually the liberty, sovereignty and independence absolute and unlimited, of the said United States, as well in matters of government as of commerce.


The initiative for the commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the surrender of Lord Cornwallis wastaken by his Excellency, F. W. M. Holliday, Governor of Virginia, in an invitation to the Governor of the Thirteen Colonial States, to meet in Philadelphia, to confer as to the ways and means for holding a celebration. In response to the request, the Governors convened in Carpenter's Hall on the 18th day of October, 1879, and appointed a committee of one from each State, to be nominated by the Governors thereof, to make the necessary arrangements. The following gentlemen were appointed by the Governors of the States and territories, in response to the resolution.

Committee Of States And Territories—Alabama, Gen. B. D. Fry; Arkansas, Hon. James P. Walker, U.S. S.; California, Hon. Jas. W. Farley, U. S. S.; Colorado, Hon. Irving W. Stanton; Connecticut, Gen. W. H. Bulkeley; Delaware, Hon. B. F. Biggs; Florida, Hon. R. A. Gamble; Georgia, Capt. Jno. Milledge; Illinois, Col. Thos. Snell; Indiana, Hon. W. H. English; Iowa, Hon. B. F. Hart ; Kansas, Hon. E. F. Ware; Kentucky, Hon. Samuel B. Churchill; Louisiana,; Maine, Col. E. P. Mattocks; Maryland, Col. H. S.Taylor; Massachusetts, Col. Sol. Lincoln, Jr.; Michigan, Hon. Philo Parsons; Minnesota, Hon. W. D. Washburne, M. C; Mississippi, Gen. Jas. R. Chalmers; Missouri, Hon. J. L. D. Morrison; New Hampshire, Hon. Jas. W. Patterson; New Jersey, Gen. Lewis Perrine; New York, Hon. John A. King; Nevada, Hon. H. G. Blasdel; North Carolina, Hon. R. B. Peebles; Ohio, Judge M. A. Dougherty; Oregon, Hon. LJ. Grover, U. S. S.; Pennsylvania, Gen. J. F. Hartranft; Rhode Island, Gen. H. Rogers; South Carolina, Major S. P. Hamilton; Tennessee, Hon. Moses White; Texas, ;Vermont, Major J. I. Barstow; Virginia, Col. M. Glenman; West Virginia, Hon. George W. Thompson; Wisconsin, Hon. Milo P. Jewett, LL.D.

A preliminary celebration was held at Yorktown, Virginia, on the 23d October following, and resolutions were adopted, calling upon Congress to make an appropriation to carry into effect the act passed by the Colonial Congress on the 29th October, 1781, authorizing the erection of a monument. Thus urged, Congress passed an act, which was approved June 7, 1880, appropriating one hundred thousand dollars for the monument, and twenty thousand dollars for the celebration, and appointed a Joint Commission, composed of a Senator and member of the House of Representatives from each of the Colonial States. Congressional Commission

Senators.—Connecticut, Eaton ; Delaware, Bayard; Georgia, Hill; Maryland, Whyte; Massachusetts, Dawes; New Hampshire, Rollins; New yersey, Randolph; New York, Kernan; North Carolina, Ransom; Pennsylvania, Wallace; Rhode Island, Anthony; South Carolina, Butler; Virginia, Johnston, Chairman.

House Of Representatives.—Connecticut, Hawley; Delaware, Martin; Georgia, Nichols; Maryland, Talbot; Massachusetts, Loring; New Hampshire, Hall; New yersey, Bingham; New York, Muller; North Carolina, Davis; Pennsylvania, Dick; Rhode Island, Aldrich; South Carolina, Richardson; Virginia, Goode, Chairman.

This national commission decided that the ceremonies, in which the United States officials will participate, shall be limited to three days, and issued the following general programme:


The guests of the National Government will assemble at Washington October 18, 1881, and be received there with proper ceremonies by the Congressional Committee. The committee will proceed, with the invited guests and such government officials as may join them, to Yorktown, to arrive there on the morning of the 19th. Preparations will be made during the morning for the landing of troops, and the oration and poem will be delivered at two o'clock P. M., with such accompanying services as the committee may determine. These services will consist of brief addresses of welcome by the Governor of Virginia and others; an original ode, the laying of the corner-stone, with an address by the President of the United States, who will be invited to preside on the occasion. The exercises will be interspersed with music by the military bands present, and with salutes by the artillery. On the 20th there will be a grand parade of all the military organizations on the battle-field, and a review by the President of the United States. The military exercises will be concluded with a dress parade. A competent army officer will be selected to take command of the parade. It is hoped that a naval review may be held on the 2lst in the adjacent waters. The Governorsand Commissioners of all the States will be invited to be present; the former with their military staffs and such military organizations as may wish to accompany: and it is particularly desired that at least the original thirteen States should provide for as imposing a representation as possible, by the presence of their civil officers and military organizations. The committee suggests, without presuming to give any directions in the matter, that each State provide itself with means of transportation and accommodation while present at the celebration as will enable it to take part in any local services which may take place. The details of the celebration will be arranged hereafter, and, with the list of invited guests, will be published for general information. John W. Johnson, Chairman Joint Committee of Congress for the Yorktown Centennial Celebration. John S. Tucker, Clerk of the Committee.


The initiative to secure a representation of the French? Republic at the ceremonies ofTaying the corner-stone of the Yorktown monument was taken at the annual meeting of the Society of Cincinnati in the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, held in the State House at Providence on Independence Day, 5th July, 1880, when the following resolutions were unanimously adopted:

Whereas, It has been proposed by the executive authorities in several of the original thirteen States of the Union to celebrate, in an appropriate manner, on the ground, on the 19th October, 1881, the centennial of the siege of Yorktown, Va., and surrender of the British army under Lieutenant-General Earl COrNWALLIS, to the allied French and American armies under His Excellency General Washington, and the surrender at the same time of the British naval force to the co-operating French fleets under Lieutenant-General Count Degrasse; and

Whereas, This great event, which had so much influence in securing American independence, was due largely to the efficient and gallant co-operation of the auxiliary army and navy of France; and

Whereas, It seems particularly appropriate that the armies and navies of the two governments should be suitably represented at this national celebration of an event highly honorable to the allied arms; and

Whereas, The hereditary members of this State Society of Cincinnati, as representing the officers of the Rhode Island Continental Line of the revolution, recall with special satisfaction the friendship and harmony which existed between the Rhode Island and French officers, when the auxiliary army of Lieutenant-General Count De Rochambeau was quartered in this State, and the generous rivalry which existed between the French and American detachments at the siege of Yorktown on the night of the 14th October, 1781, when the American detachment, led by a company of the Rhode Island Continental Line and the French detachment respectively, assaulted and carried the two British redoubts; therefore

Resolved, That the Standing Committee of this State Society respectfully memorialize the Congress of the United States, and request that an act be passed authorizing the President to invite the government of the French Republic to send a suitable representation from the French Army and Navy to the celebration of Yorktown.

Also, That suitable detachments of the army and navy of the United States (t xluding Bat cry F, 4th Regt. U. S. Artillery, formerly known as the Alexander Hamilton Company of New York Artillery at that siege) be sent to Yorktown to represent America in the celebration.

And that a sufficient sum be appropriated to properly entertain and provide for such detachments.

At a duly called meeting of the Standing Committee of the same society held in the State House, Providence, October, 1880, the Honorable Nathanael Green and Professor Asa Bird Gardner were appointed a committee to carry into effect these resolutions, by memorializing Congress and the President of the United States, and by such other action as they deemed proper; in accordance with which a memorial was addressed to the President, Senate and the House of Representatives. Professor Gardner visited Washington and and went before the Joint Commission of Congress, which invited the Society of the Cincinnati to appoint a committee of one to confer with it on the celebration. 


In order to secure with due ceremony the suitable representation of our ancient Ally, and of the family of Lafayette, the friend of America, the Joint Commission then introduced a formal resolution of invitation, which was adopted by Congress, approved on the 18th February, 1881, and is thus entitled:

Public Resolution No. 13

Joint Resolution, authorizing and requesting the President to extend to the Government and people of France and the family of General Lafayette an invitation to join the Government and people of the United States in the observance of the Centennial Anniversary of the Surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia.

Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That the President be, and is hereby authorized and requested to extend to the Government and people of France, and the family of General Lafayette, a cordial invitation to unite with the Government and people of the United States, on the nineteenth day of October, eighteen hundred and eighty-one, in a 6t and appropriate observance of the Centennial anniversary of the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown. And for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this resolution, the sum of twenty thousand dollars is hereby appropriated, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, the same, or so much thereof as may be necessary, to be expended under the direction of the Secretary of State.

In accordance with this request, the President of the United States addressed letters of invitation to M. Jules Grdvy, President of the French Republic, and to the family of Lafayette, and reply was received from Mr. Gr6vy, through M. Maxime Outrey, the French Minister to the United States, on the 29th April, 1881. The following is a translation:


"Jules Grevy, President of the French Republic, to the President of the United States of America:

Great And Good Friend.

I have just received a letter, whereby your honorable predecessor, his Excellency Rutherford B. Hayes, announced to me that, in pursuance to a resolution of Congress, he invited the government and people of France to unite with the government and people of the United States, on the 19th of next October, in celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of the battle of Yorktown. I have accepted this invitation in the name of the government of the republic and in that of the whole French people. This solemn testimony of remembrance, which has been preserved by your fellow citizens, of the part taken by eminent individuals of France in the glorious struggle "which secured independence and liberty to the United States, has called forth a feeling of deep emotion in France, of which it has afforded me pleasure to be the interpreter by informing General Noyes, your worthy representative, that, 'having taken part in the toil, we would participate in the honor.' The American nation, which has become so powerful and prosperous, by inviting a fraternal cooperation on the occasion of this anniversary, forever consecrated the union which was created by noble and liberal aspirations, and by our alliance on the battlefield, and which our institutions, which are now of the same character, must draw closer and develop for the welfare of both nations. Offering the assurance of my high esteem for yourself, personally, and my best wishes for the glory of the United States, I desire also to convey my sincere thanks to Mr. Hayes for the cordial feelings which he expressed to me and for his good wishes for the prosperity of the French Republic.

Your good friend, Jules Grevy

Countersigned, B. N. Hilaire."


Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, a scion of a noble family, illustrious in the profession of arms from the fourteenth century, was born at Chavaniac, Auvergne, on the 6th September, 1757. On the nth April, 1774, he married Marie-Adrienne Francoise, second daughter of the Duke d'Ayen and grandchild of the Marechal de Noailles. After three years of happiness, inspired by a love of liberty and thirsting for glory, he left all the endearments of country and of home, and with his private fortune fitted out a vessel, with which he set sail for the United States, where he arrived on the 14th June, 1777. Landing at Winyaw Bay at the mouth of the Peedee, near Georgetown on the South Carolina coast, he hastened to Charleston, where he was received by Major Huger, who accompanied him to Philadelphia, in which city Congress was in session. He immediately offered his services to the United States without pay, was appointed Major - General in the Continental army 31st July, 1777, and was soon received by Washington into his military family. His services to the American cause are part of the history of the country. He won his spurs at Brandywine, nth September, 1779, and was wounded in the leg. After the battle of Yorktown, he availed of the lull in hostilities to visit his family and promote the interests of the United States abroad. He was engaged as chief of staff in the preliminary arrangements of the formidable armament preparing at Cadiz by the French and Spanish Governments,when the peace was signed. He revisited America and his father, as he delighted to call General Washington, in the year 1784, and made an extensive tour of the country. Faithful to the political convictions of his youth, which his American experience confirmed, he adopted the liberal cause in the revolution which broke out in France in 1789. The key of the Bastile, the trophy of the popular uprising, sent by him to General Washington, is now among the treasured relics of Mt. Vernon. Disapproving of the duress put upon the King after the storming of the Tuileries on the 10th August, 1792, he fell under the suspicion of the Paris extremists, and commissioners were sent to arrest him in his camp at Sedan, where he was engaged in protecting the frontier. Compelled to fly, he crossed into the neutral territory of Luxembourg, with the intention of passing to America, but was arrested by the Austrian force, in breach of the law of nations and of personal right, and delivered up to the King of Prussia, by whom he was confined in the prison of Magdebourg for more than a year, when, on the demand of Baron de Breteuil, the ambassador representing the sovereigns of France in the councils of the coalition, he was surrendered to the Austrians, and confined in the dungeons of Olmutz for four years. Mr. Francis Kinloch Huger, son of his first American friend, was concerned in an attempt for his rescue which was nearly successful. His release was one of the consequences of the victories of Bonaparte in Italy and a condition of the treaty of Campo Formio in 1797. He was faithful to the Consulate, but stood aloof from the Imperial Court, and in 1814 he was a member of the Assembly which voted the downfall of the Empire. He served in the Chamber of Deputies from 1818 to 1824, and from 1827 to 1830. Strongly opposed to the arbitrary acts of the Restoration, he was the chief actor in the revolution of 1830, which put a civic crown on the head of Louis Philippe, and made him King of the French. He died at Paris on the 20th May, 1834

In 1824, accompanied by his son, George Washington Lafayette, he crossed the Atlantic and paid his fourth and last visit to the country of his adoption. His progress throughout the entire land was one unbroken ovation. His reception at Yorktown was of peculiar interest, surrounded as he was by the very men with whom he had achieved imperishable glory.

Few men have filled a larger place in history, or are remembered with more affectionate regard. From the age of twenty years he was closely connected with the great events which changed the face of the world. He was the intimate friend or companion of Washington, of Frederick the Great, the Emperor Joseph, the First Consul, and Louis Philippe. The most conspicuous traits of his character were his devotion to liberty and his enthusiastic nature, which he maintained unbroken to the close of his remarkable career of a half century of public life. Neither the example of Washington's calm wisdom nor the cutting sarcasm of the great Frederick's wit corrected his impetuosity, nor was his ardor chilled even by his long confinement in the damp cells of the Austrian dungeon. Yet it must be remembered that in his American career his dash was equaled by his prudence, and that Cornwallis, the best of English commanders, found in the young Marquis—" the boy," as he arrogantly termed him—a military talent equal to his own.

By his wife, to whom he was tenderly attached, and who returned his affection with perfect fidelity and devotion until her death in 1807, Lafayette had three children. The eldest, a daughter, Anastasie, who was born soon after Lafayette's first departure for America, was married to Charles de Latour Maubourg, brother to General de Latour-Maubourg, the oldest and dearest of Lafayette's friends, who had shared the captivity of his beloved chief. She left two daughters, Madame de Brigode and Madame de Perron. General de Perron, President of the Council of Ministers of Piedmont, was killed at the battle of Novara. The second daughter of the General was named Virginie, in memory of the American State in which Lafayette, in his first independent command, acquired his military reputation. About 1800 she was married to the Marquis Louis de Lasteyrie, who served in the French army, was wounded, and retired, on the establishment of the Empire by Napoleon, to the Chateau of Lagrange, to which Lafayette gathered his family. Under the Restoration he served again as Colonel of the Legion of the Nievre. Dying before Lafayette, he left four children; 1st, Madame Charles de Remusat, mother of the present Senator of the Haute-Garonne; 2d, Madame de Corcelle, wife of a former ambassador to Rome. A daughter of Madame de Corcelle was married to the Marquis de Chambrun, and now resides in Washington, D. C, where the Marquis has a post in the Department of State; M. Jules de Lasteyrie, Senator, who married a Rohan-Chabot. His only son is Receiver at Abbeville; 3d, Madame d'Assailly, mother of the CounsellorGeneral of the Department of Deux-Sevres and of a Captain of chasseurs. 4th, the second child and only son of General Lafayette was George Washington Lafayette, namesake and godson of the great chief, in whose family he resided for ihree years. He served with distinction in the army of Italy, and was twice wounded. He continued his military career until 1807, when, disgusted with Napoleon's unwillingness to give him any advancement, he resigned his commission. He married in 1802 Mademoiselle Destutt de Tracy, by whom he had two sons and three daughters—1st, Oscar, Senator of France, who died on the 27th March, 1881. His wife, of the family of Bureaux de Pusy, one of Lafayette's military staff in his campaign of 1792, and companion of his flight* and of his captivity; she died in childbirth in the first year of marriage. 2d, Edmond, Senator of the Haute-Loire, President of the Council-General of this department, a bachelor, and in his sixty-third year. 3d, Madame Adolphe Perier (nephew of Casimir), who died a few years since. One of the daughters of Madame Perier married M. de Lahune. 4th, Madame Bureaux de Pusy, and 5th, Madame Gustave de Beaumont. These two ladies are living. Madame de Pusy has a son, one of the superior officers of engineers, and two daughters. M. Paul de Beaumont, son of the other, was head of the Cabinet of M. Dufaure. These are the direct descendants of the General. It is seen that M. Edmond de Lafayette, who is unmarried, is the only descendant of the General in the male line and the sole representative of the illustrious name of Lafayette. It is he who will receive from the people of the United States the expression of that gratitude, which has been handed down from sire to son, for the friend of America.


The resolution of Congress, extending an invitation to the government and people of France, and the family of Lafayette, being with this one exception general in character, at a conference meeting of the Congressional Commission, the State Commission, and the Yorktown Centennial Association, held on the 30th April, 1881, at the Governor's room in the City Hall of New York, Hon. John Goode, President of the Yorktown Centennial Association, in the chair, the following resolutions were adopted:

Whereas, The Government of the United States has officially invited the Government of France to take part in the celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of the siege and surrender of Yorktown, and the latter has signified its intention of participating therein;

Whereas, This invitation is an indication of the feelings of gratitude felt by the American nation towards that of France, for its material help and sympathy in times of sore trouble and anxiety;

Whereas, The celebration by the two people of this common anniversary can but accentuate and increase the present feelings of good will and friendliness existing between the two Republics;

Whereas, It is proper that the representatives of the French, who helped to establish finally and for ever the success of American Indedence at the battles before Yorktown, should be enabled to witness the development which has been the result of the endeavors and self denial of their ancestors;

Whereas, It is desired that as many of the descendants of those who in any way partook in the operations before Yorktown should be present, to fitly commemorate the actions of their fathers and visit the scenes made memorable by them;

Whereas, The descendants of General Lafayette have already been personally invited on account of his being an American Major-General; and

Whereas, This association represents the part of the people at large in the celebration, therefore be it

Resolved, That we invite personally the descendants bearing the name of Comte de Rochambeau, Admiral de Grasse, and Admiral de Barras, to be present at the celebration, and to become our guests during its continuance.

Resolved, That we also invite the descendants of all officers in any way connected with the French army or fleet before Yorktown, to be equally present, promising them the largest hospitality and the best of welcomes in the land made free by the help of their ancestors.

Resolved, That the French Government be requested to send as large detachments of its fleet and army as it may deem possible, including, especially, members of each of the corps engaged at Yorktown.

Resolved, That whilst in American waters, the fleet and army, its commanders and officers, be the guests of the nation, that a series of receptions be organized in the principal cities of the land, to properly commemorate their visit.

To carry out the purposes of the resolution a letter was addressed by the superintendent of the association to the Marquis de Rochambeau at Paris, and through him to the descendants of the French officers who served at Yorktown.

Office Of The Yorktown Centennial Association

Richmond, Virginia, June, 1881 

Dear Sir—

You have been informed that the Government of the United States will celebrate on the 19th October next, the one hundredth anniversary of the victory of Yorktown achieved by the allied armies of the United States and France under the command of Generals Washington and the Count de Rochambeau, with the co-operation of the fleet under Admiral de Grasse, on the ground of the surrender of Lord Cornwallis. On this occasion the President of the United States, with his Cabinet, the Governors of the thirteen original States wiih their suites, and the chief officers of the army and navy, will be present, and the corner-stone of the monument voted by Congress to perpetuate the memory of the victory and the alliance with France, will be then laid.

The Congress of the United States has by public resolution invited the French Government to be represented on the occasion, and also the family of the Marquis de Lafayette, who held the rank of Major-General in the American service, and was also an adopted citizen of the United States, and suitable appropriations were made for their reception and entertainment.

To aid the commission appointed by Congress to take charge of the general details of the celebration, an association has been formed of distinguished citizens of the thirteen original States. In their name I have the honor to invite your presence on the occasion as the representative of the illustrious General, the Count de Rochambeau, whose name is dear to every American heart for the rare combination of prudent counsel and brilliant execution which distinguished his command in this country; and further to request that you as the representative of the commander-in chief of the French forces in the American campaign, will extend this our invitation to the male representative of each and all of the superior officers who served in his command, and in that of the Admiral de Grasse and Marquis de Saint Simon. You are invited, gentlemen, as the guests of the nation at large, which the Yorktown Centennial Association has undertaken to represent on the occasion. You will be received, on your arrival, at any port of the United States which you may designate, by a committee from our body, and from that hour, until the hour of your departure for France, the entire charge of your honored persons will be assumed by ourselves. The governments of our States and cities have already begun to give formal public invitations to the representatives of France and thu descendants of the French officers of 1781, to visit their soil as their guests. In the intervals of these visits, and in your journeying from point to point in your own good pleasure, you will be in our care and at our charge.

It will be our pleasure, gentlemen, to receive with open arms the descendants of the gallant men by whose aid our fathers achieved their independence, and to unite with them in the dedication of the monument upon the field where their blood was mingled and their great triumph achieved; the monument which will perpetuate, not alone that alliance of two nations which the changes of a century have not disturbed, but the closer bond of two mighty Republics, free and independent. And while not forgetting the glories of the past, it will be our pride to exhibit to you the marvels of agriculture, of mechanical industry, and of social progress which have resulted from that Republican form of government which we hold to be the most perfect yet devised, and which we rejoice to feel is now as dear to the French nation as to ourselves.

Come, gentlemen, accept our hospitality as freely as it is tendered, and believe in the cordial sincerity of the friendly regard with which I have the honor to remain, 

M. de Rochambeau and gentlemen, Your obedient servant,

J. E. PEYTON, General Superintendent Yorktown Centennial Association Edward Everett Winchell, Secretary


In view of the extremely limited resources of the little village of Yorktown, and the absolute want of any accommodation whatever, either to receive or entertain the vast concourse of people which the enthusiasm of the historic celebration will inevitably attract to the peninsula from all parts of the United States, a number of gentlemen, representing the Thirteen Colonial States and the District of Columbia, formed a Yorktown Centennial Association, organized under the laws of the State of Virginia, and declared their purpose as follows:

The association is composed of citizens of the colonial States, and its object and purpose is to secure the necessary accommodations for the military and citizens of all the States and territories, who shall in respect to the memory of those whose sacrifices and services in defense of American independence virtually ended upon the field of Yorktown, attend the centennial celebration of the event in October next. Whilst Yorktown is but a small village, it is yet accessible by water and rail from all parts of the Union, and is situated in a sparsely settled portion of the country, which rendered it necessary that the citizens should organize an association and secure, through the issue of stock, sufficient means to provide the proper accommodations for the many thousands who will desire to visit the historic ground on that interesting occasion, and to supply the military conducting the celebration with encampment grounds, fuel and water. The grounds will be free to all government and State officials, and the invited guests of the Federal Commission. The citizens will be expected to pay a trifling admission to, at least partly, reimburse the few who advanced the funds to provide the essential accommodations. Should there be a surplus, the association intend to appropriate it to improve the grounds surrounding the monument. The names and residences of the officers who shall conduct the affairs of the association are as follows:

Officers Of Yorktown Centennial Association—Hon. John Goode, President, Norfolk, Virginia; Hon. Thos. Cochran, 1st VicePresident, Philadelphia, Penn.; Hon. Alex. H. Rice, 2d Vice-President, Boston, Mass.; Gen. John S. Preston, 3d Vice-President, Columbia, S. C; Edward Everett Winchell, Secretary, New York, N. Y.; Isaac Davenport, Jr., Richmond, Va.; Col. T. E. Peyton, General Superintendent, Haddonfield, N. J.

The President's Appeal To The Public.—A joint stock company known as the Yorktown Centf.nnial Association has recently been incorporated and organized under the laws of the State of Virginia. The object of this company as set forth in its charter is to promote and secure the proper celebration in October, 1881, of the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Surrender of Yorktown, Virginia, of the British forces under Lord Cornwallis. By the act of Congress approved June 7,1880, the sum of twenty thousand dollars was appropriated for the purpose of defraying the expenses incurred in the said centennial celebration. It is conceded now by all who have bestowed any reflection upon the subject, that the amount named is wholly inadequate to meet the requirements of a celebration which will be commensurate with the historical significance of the event and the present grandeur of our country. Under these circumstances the organization of an association to cooperate with, and to iissist the Congressional Committee having the celebration in charge, has become indispensable. The indications are such as to render it absolutely certain that there will be an immense concourse of people on that occasion from all parts of the country. Our ancient allies, the French, will come in response to an invitation, which will be extended to them by the President, in pursuance of a joint resolution of Congress. Detachments from the regular army and navy will be there, to furnish in connection with the citizen soldiery from every State in the Union, a grand military and naval display. The people will be there, from the North and from the South, from the East and from the West, with hearts full of thanksgiving to Almighty God that after the lapse of one hundred years we are still united, prosperous and free. Catching inspiration from the surroundings, and reviving the patriotic memories'of the past, the.' will raise their glad anthems on the consecrated spot where, one hundred years ago, the word of Washington and his compatriots in arms made good the declaration of JeffeiSon and his associates in " Independence Hall." The Yorktown Centennial Association has undertaken the task of securing transportation at reasonable rates, and of providing suitable accommodations for all who may attend during the celebration, which will continue from the 6th to the 25th of October. It has purchased Temple farm, consisting of five hundred acres, on which is still standing the Moore house, within whose walls the articles of capitulation were prepared and signed. It has donated fifteen acres to the government for the site of the monument, the corner stone of which will be laid on the 19th of October with imposing ceremonies by the Ancient Order of Free Masons. At the close of the celebration the association proposes to donate the residue of the farm to the government to be converted into a park, and called "Lafayette Park" in honor of the illustrious hero, whose unselfish devotion to liberty prompted him to come to the assistance of the struggling colonies, and whose name is inseparably associated with the final commemoration of our Independence at Yorktown. It is necessary to have the farm prepared and put in order for military encampments; to construct additional landings for the accomodation of the large number of steamers which will be employed in transporting the people; to provide comfortable seats for at least thirty thousand people, and to erect a commodious stand for the use of the Congressional Commission and the distinguished visitors, including the President of the United States, the members of his Cabinet, the Governors of the States, the Judges of the Supreme Court, and the Society of Cincinnati. To enable the association to meet these and other expenses which will be necessarily incurred in making suitable arrangements, it is estimated that at least two hundred and fifty thousand dollars must be raised by private subscription. The capital stock of the association has been fixed at that sum and has been divided into shares of ten dollars each, for which will be issued certificates handsomely engraved and adorned with vignette portraits of Generals Washington and Lafayette, and Counts de Rochambeau and De Grasse. Competent and reliable agents have been appointed and duly authorized to solicit subscriptions to the capital stock. I commend them and the cause they represent to the favorable consideration of the public, and bespeak for them the cordial cooperation of patriotic Americans everywhere. Let us resolve that the celebration of the crowning event in our revolutionary struggle shall be in all respects worthy of the American people, and worthy of the glorious achievement which it is designed to commemorate. John Goode, President.


Connecticut—Andrews, Hon. C. B., Litchfield; Benedict, Charles, Waterbury; Bissell, Col. Geo. P., Hartford; Brown, Hon. William, Waterbury; Coe, Hon. L. W., Wolcotsville; Cooley, Francis B., Hartford; Curtis, Geo. R., Meriden; Day, Hon. Calvin, Hartford; Douglas, Hon. Benj., Middletown; Harrison, Henry, New Haven; Harrison, Henry B., New Haven; Ingersoll, Hon. C. B., New Haven; Kellogg; Hon. S. W., Waterbury; Mitchell, Hon. Cbas. L., New Haven; Osgood, Hon. Hugh, Norwich; Ripley, Col. Geo. C, Norwich; Robinson, Henry, Hartford; Stanton, Hon. Stiles T., Stonington; Wells, David A Norwich; Wheeler, Nathaniel, Bridgeport.

District Of Columbia—Corcoran, W. W.; Davis, Lewis T.; Duhamel, Dr.W. J.; Duncan, I. C; Gait, W. M.; Knox, John Jay; Stewart, Van Vliet.

Delaware—Bancroft, Samuel, Jr.; Comegys, Hon. Jos. P.; Houston, Hon. J. W.; McComb, Henry S.; Rodney, Csesar A.; Wales, Hon. Leonard E.

Georgia—Bacon, Hon. A. O.; Branch, Major Thomas P.; Crawford, Hon. Reese ; Estill, Hon. J. H.; Howell, Hon. Ebon; Twiggs, Hon. H., D. D.; Walsh, Hon. Patrick; Young, Hon. P. M. B.

Maryland—Appold, George; Booth, Washington; Coale, James Carey ; Coleman, Fred'k W.; Gary, James A,; Hurst, John E.; Janes, Henry; Johnson, Bradley; Matthews, B. Stockett; Pratt, Enoch; Robinson, John M.; Seidenstricker, John B.; all of Baltimore.

Massachusetts—Beard, A. W., Boston; Coolidge, A. L., Boston; Goolidge, T. Jefferson, Boston; Haven, Franklin, Boston; Hyde, A. G. Springfield; Lawrence, Amos A., Boston; Rice, Hon. Alex. H., Boston; Richardson, George C, Boston; Tower, Wm. A., Lexington; Wisson, D. B., Springfield.

New Hampshire—Bedel, Col. Hazen, Colebrook; Cheney, Hon. P. C, Manchester; Cilley, Brad. P., Manchester; Head, Hon. Nat., Hookset; Kent, Hon. Henry O., Lancaster; Prescott, Hon. B. F., Epping; Smyth, Hon. Frederick, Manchester; Stark, Genl. George, Nashua; Weston, Hon. J. A., Manchester.

New Jersey—Bedle, Hon. Jos. D., Jersey City; Brown, Hon. Samuel C, Trenton; Hobart, Hon. G. A., Paterson; Keasbey, Hon. A. Q., Newark; Parker, Hon. Joel, Freehold; Peyton, Col. J. E., Haddonfield; Potter, Col. Wm. E., Bridgeton; Sinnickson, Hoh. Clement H., Salem.

New York—Aspinwall, Genl. Lloyd; Charlier, Elie; Clyde, Wm. P.; Corbin, D. C.; Ford, Gordon L.; Green, Norvin; McCready, N. L.; Stark, I. J. N.; Willmarth, A. F.; Winchell, Edw'd Everett; Winston, F. S.; all of New York City.

North Carolina—Blackwell, W. T.; Cocke, W. M.; Coke, Octavius Cox, Frank; Reade, Hon. E. G.; Russell, Hon. Daniel L. ; Winsted, Hon. C. S. 

Pennsylvania—Benson, Col. R. Dale, Philadelphia; Boker, Hon. Geo. S., Phila'.; Cochran, Thomas, Phila.; Handy, M. P., Phila.; Jamison, B. K., Phila.; Little, Amos R., Phila.; Morrill, Hon. D. J., Johnstown, Paxson, Jos. A., Phila.; Robb, James M., Phila.

Rhode Island— Barstow, Amos C, Providence; Corliss, Geo. H., Providence; Doyle, Robert A., Providence; Norman, George H., Newport; Thurber, Norman, Providence.

South Carolina—Bull, Hon. B. W.; Courtenay, Hon. W. A.; Creighton, Hon. B. F.; Dawson, F. W.; Duncan, Col. W. H.; Erwin, Hon. J. B.; McCall, Hon. C. S.; Marshall, J. Q.; Preston, Genl. John S.

Virginia—Anderson, Col. Archer, Richmond; Armstead, Col. Robt., Williamsburg; Bain, James G., Portsmouth; Batte, Geo. McP., Petersburg; Blackford, Charles M., Lynchburg; Bland, Robert, Prince Geo. C. H.; Blankenship, Robt. E., Richmond; Bocock, Hon. Thos. S., Lynchburg; Burke, John W., Alexandria; Bradford, Major Edmund, Norfolk; Buford, Col. A. S , Richmond; Carrington, J. L., Richmond; Coke, W. W., Princess Ann Co. C. H.; Crocker, J. F., Portsmouth; Davenport, Isaac, Jr., Richmond; Davis, John B., Richmond; Garrett, Dr. R. M., Williamsburg; Ginter, Lewis, Richmond; Goode, Hon. John, Richmond; Green, Judge Berryman, Danville; Griffin, John T., Norfolk Co.; Hargrave, L. P., Sussex C. H.; Haxall, W. H., Richmond; Holland, C. G, Danville; Holt, Dr. M. Q., Wakefield; Jones, Rev. R., Churchland, Norfolk Co.; Lacy, Richmond I., New Kent C. H.; Lamb, J., Wilson Wharf, Charles City C. H.; McCance, Thos. W., Richmond; Marye, John L., Fredericksburg; Newton, Col. C. W., Norfolk; Ould, Hon. Robert, Richmond; Parks, Marshall, Norfolk; Parsons, Col. H. C., Richmond; Pegram, Blair, High Gate, Surrey Co.; Power, Dr. Robert H., Yorktown; Riddick, Hon. Nat., Suffolk; Scott, Fred'k R., Richmond; Shands, Gen. W. B., Jerusalem; Slaughter, Montgomery, Fredericksburg; Smith, Nelson, Hampton; Stearns, Franklin, Richmond; Tabb, Thomas, Hampton; Taylor, Walter H., Norfolk; Thomas, James, Jr.. Richmond: Thomas, R, S., Smithfield; Tyler, D. Gardner Sturgeons' Point, Chas. City C. H.; Watts, Hon. L. R., Portsmouth; West, John T., Great Bridge, Princess Anne Co.; White, Col. Wm., Portsmouth ; Whitehead, Col. John B., Norfolk; Wright, John H., Suffolk ; Young. John W., Portsmouth ; Young, N. P., Isle of Wight C. H.


The Centennial will be formally opened on the 6th day of October under the auspices of the Yorktown CentenNial Association, when all the National and State officials connected with the celebration of the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence at Philadelphia are expected to be present and to take part in the ceremonies. His Excellency, F. W. M. Holliday, Governor of Virginia, will make an address of welcome, to which response will be made by the Hon. Joseph R. Hawley, of Connecticut, United States Senator, President of the United States Centennial Commission of 1876. On this occasion the Commissioners appointed by the Governors of the several States will also be present.

During the interval between this opening of the ceremonies (on the 6th October) and the 18th of October, the day appointed by the Congressional Committee, in the name of the Nation, for the laying of the corner stone of the monument to the Victory and the Alliance, the Yorktown Centennial Association will open the grounds to the people of the United States, when Organized Civic Societies, Universities, Colleges and Schools, Institutions of every kind, and Fire departments, will have opportunity to visit the historic ground. Such as choose to remain may be present at the arrival and encampment of the militia of the several States with due military formality. They may also witness the grand national pageant of the landing at Yorktown from the fleet of the United States of the high officials of the country, together with the guests of the nation, among whom will be the representatives of the French Republic, the family of Lafayette and the descendants of the French general officers who served in the army under Rochambeau and the fleet under de Grasse.

In view of the vast number of people who have announced their intention to be present on this occasion, and the impossibility of securing simultaneous transportation, the Yorktown Centennial Association have arranged a programme for the instruction and pleasure of the visitors.


October 6th—Thursday. The anniversary of the opening of the first parallel ol the siege by the Allied Armies, The opening ceremonies as above described, with music, arranged for the occasion, by one of the best National bands.

7th—Friday. The anniversary of the entrance into the parallel by the Light Infantry, drums beating and colors flying, will be devoted to the reception of the delegates of the Railroad, Steamship and other Transportation Companies. General W, H. Wickham, of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, will preside.

8th—Saturday. This day will be occupied by the Universities, Colleges, Schools and other institutions of learning. John Eliot, LL.D., President of Harvard University, the oldest institution of learning in the country, will be invited to deliver an address.

9th—Sunday. Religious services in the Grand Pavilion. The Right Reverend Bishop Keane, of the Catholic Diocese of Virginia, will officiate.

10th—Monday. The anniversary of the opening of the fire from the American batteries, when Washington, in person, fired the first gun. This day the municipalities of the cities and towns of the Colonial States, and the Chambers of Commerce, Boards of Trade, Produce Exchanges and other commercial bodies will be received. Samuel D. Babcock, President of the New York Chamber of Commerce (organized 1768), and the oldest institution of the kind in the United States, will be invited to preside. In the evening of this day—the anniversary of the grand conflagration which was witnessed in the harbor of York on the night of the 9th October, 1781, when the British vessels set on fire by the French batteries were consumed—there will be a grand pyrotechnic display by land and water.

11th—Tuesday. The anniversary of the opening of the second parallel by the American division, under Baron de Steuben. On this day the Germans of the United States are expected to be present by delegations from their several societies. The Industries and Mechanical Arts will be represented through their organizations. The Hon. Alexander H. Rtce, of Massachusetts, will deliver an address.

12th—Wednesday, Will be assigned to the Farmers and Planters, who will be addressed by the Hon. William Windom, of Minnesota.

13th—Thursday. In respect to the memory of Robert Morris, Financier of the Continental Congress, this day will be devoted to the Financial Institutions of the country, Banks, Bankers and Insurance Companies. Mr. Joseph Patterson, of Pennsylvania, President of the Western National Bank and Philadelphia Clearing House, will preside.

14th—Friday. The anniversary of the Storming of the British Redoubts by the Allied Troops; that on the right by the French; that on the left by the American Light Infantry, the Marquis de La Fayette commanding, under whom Lt.-Col. Gimatv Lt.-Col. Hamilton and Colonel Laurens. In this attack, Major Nicholas Fish was also distinguished for gallantry. This day will be commemorated with appropriate exercises by the Society of Cincinnati. The President of the General Society, the Hon. Hamilton Fish, will preside, assisted by Alexander Hamilton, Esq., of New York, M. de La Fayette, M. de Rochambeau and the representatives of the French Society of the Cincinnati, will be then received. In the evening there will be a grand ball in the Pavilion.

15th—Saturday. Will be exclusively given up to the descendants of the officers and soldiers of the Revolution. An address will be delivered by John Austin Stevens, of New York (Editor of the Magazine of American History), grandson of Lt.-Col. Ebenezer Stevens of the Second Regiment N. Y. Artillery, one of the officers whfr commanded the batteries during the siege. Mrs. Ellen Hardin Walworth, greatgranddaughter of Lieut. Hardin of Morgan's corps of Riflemen, and daughter of Col. John Hardin of Illinois, who fell at Beuna Vista, will receive the ladies.

16th—Sunday. Religious services, conducted by the Rev. Richard S. Storrs, of Brooklyn, N. Y.

17th—Monday. Anniversary of the sending out of a Flag of Truce by Lord Corawallis, asking a cessation of hostilities (also the anniversary of the surrender of Burgoyne at Saratoga). This day the Masonic, the Odd Fellows and other orders, the Militia and the Municipal Fire Departments will be received and escorted to their quarters. This day's proceedings will be under the direction of Col. J. E. Peyton, the General Superintendent of the Yorktown Centennial Association. The control of the grounds will be this day transferred to the Joint Congressional Committee.

On Tuesday, the 18th of October, the grand National Ceremonies will be opened under the direction of the Joint Congressional Committee, and conducted according to their programme, as follows: Prayer and a Chorus of one hundred voices, after which the Honorable John W. Johnston, United States Senator from Virginia, Chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on the celebration, will formally open the proceedings. The Hon. F. W. M. Holliday, Governor of the State of Virginia, will deliver an address of welcome.

The corner stone of the monument to the Victory and the Alliance will be laid with the usual imposing ceremonies by NATIONAL CEREMONIES

Mr. Peyton Coles, Grand Masonic Master of the Order for the State of Virginia, assisted by the Masters of the Order of each of the other Colonial States.

On Wednesday, the 19th, second day of the grand National Ceremonies, an address will be delivered by the President of the United States; an oration by the Honorable Robert C. Winthrop, of Massachusetts; a poem by Colonel James Barron Hope, of Virginia; an ode by Mr. Paul Hayne, of South Carolina.

On Thursday, the 20th, the third day of the celebration, there will be a military review on the field of Yorktown.

On Friday, the fourth day of the celebration, there will be a naval review in Hampton Roads.

The sums of money voted by the Legislatures of the several States to transport the Governors of the States, their suites and escorts to Yorktown and on their return, and the promised attendance of large bodies of militia from all sections of the country, ensure an enormous concourse of people, and will make this occasion memorable in the history of the country.

The government will make at Yorktown a display of vessels of war and military implements of the army and navy service, showing the improvement of the means of national defence in America in the last hundred years, and practice will be had of each arm of the service alternately by land and water during the entire progress of the celebration. The signal service will be represented in both branches.

The ground will be supplied with all the new social and economic appliances of science, including the telegraph, the telephone, and the electric light.

The Yorktown Centennial Association have restored the Moore House, the scene of the capitulation of Cornwallis, to its original condition, and a Register will be there opened for the signature of all who visit this historic building.

The Yorktown Centennial Association will endeavor in every possible way to care for the comfort, the health, and the pleasure of the visitors to this the centennial celebration of the victory which established the independence of the United States.

It is important that there should be a full representation of all engaged in Science, Art and Industry in the United States, to show our progress in one hundred years.


The General Assembly of the State of Rhode Island, the soil of which State was twice visited by the French squadrons, the second time bringing the auxiliary force under Rochambeau, which was quartered for eight months on her soil, on the 3d June, 1881, adopted the following resolutions of invitation to the Representatives of France, who may visit the United States:

Whereas, During the revolutionary war in the year A. D. 1778, the British contro'led the entrance of Narragansett Bay and greatly distressed and oppressed the inhabitants of the adjoining territory, and

Whereas, In the month of July of that year a French fleet arrived in the said bay under the command of Admiral d'Estaing, and occasioned the destruction of many of the vessels of the British fleet, to the great satisfaction and relief of the inhabitants of the State; and

Whereas, In the summer of 1780 another French fleet, bringing a large land force, arrived in the waters of the said bay, and to the great relief of the inhabitants remained within this State for a considerable time, and afforded protection to the lives and property of the inhabitants of the State, and

Whereas, The Government of the United States has invited the government of the Republic of France to participate in the centennial celebration of the surrender of the British forces in America, to take place at Yorktown in October next, and the Republic of France has signified its intention to be represented at and to participate in the said celebration, therefore as a token of gratitude, and as showing the apprecition of the people of Rhode Island of the services rendered this State by the fleets and armies of France, it is

Resolved, that His Excellency, the Governor, be, and he hereby is, directed and authorized to invite the representatives of France who visit the United States, to participate in the celebration in October next, to visit the State of Rhode Island at such time during their sojourn in the United States as may be convenient to them, and while the said representatives are within the State, to remain the guests thereof, and that his Excellency is hereby requested and directed to appoint a committee of such citizens of this State as he may deem proper, to assist him in entertaining the guests of the State while here, in such a manner as the committee may believe will be most acceptable to their guests, and that his Excellency, the Governor, be, and he hereby is, authorized to draw his orders upon the general treasurer for the expenses incidental to carrying this resolution into effect.



In March, 1881, the Legislature of New Jersey passed the following Joint Resolution:

Be it Resolved by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey, That the Governor is hereby authorized and requested to organize a provisional battalion, composed of companies selected from the whole body of the National Guard for their proficiency in drill and discipline and soldierly bearing, in appointments and equipments, to be designated by inspection and competitive drill; and the Governor may detail field and staff officers of suitable rank to command said battalion, and cause to be furnished the necessary transportation, such camp and garrison equipage and commissary and other stores requisite for their accommodation and subsistence while in camp at Yorktown, as may be creditable to this State and the occasion; and the Governor is authorized and empowered to make his requisition upon the Treasury to meet the necessary and proper expenses to carry out the provisions of this resolution, and the Comptroller is hereby authorized to draw his warrant for the same; and the Governor shall cause an accurate and detailed account to be kept of the expenditures, and shall file the same, together with the proper vouchers, with the Comptroller, who shall report the same to the next session of the Legislature.

In accordance with this resolution, and by the order of the Governor, William J. Stryker, Adjutant-General of the State of New Jersey, issued his General Order No. 1 from his office at Trenton, March 31, 1881.


Vermont, the first State admitted into the Union under the Constitution, was the first, by her Legislature, to make an appropriation to celebrate the Yorktown victory. On the 23d June, 1881, his Excellency Governor Farnham, together with Quartermaster-General Kingsley, Adjutant-General Peck and Colonel George T. Childs, arranged for the representation of the State. The Ransom Guards of St. Albans and the Estey Guard of Brattleborough, and Companies I and D of the First Regiment, were designated as a military escort for the Governor and his Staff. The steamer Frances has been chartered for the trip, and will be the Vermont headquarters at Yorktown.

The Legislatures of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Michigan have already made suitable appropriations for the representation of their States at the celebration.

The Governors of Maryland, Kentucky, Tennessee and other States have authority to make the necessary expenditures for their representatives.

Dona M. McDermott, Archivist Valley Forge National Historical Park holding the American Museum, Or Repository Of Ancient And Modern Fugitive Pieces, Prose And Poetica, No. 4 April, 1787, second edition [1789], which records the entire proceedings of The Annapolis Convention that proposed a convention to revise the Articles of Confederation, a full printing of George Washington’s March 15th, 1783 “Farwell Address to the American Army,” and a 1787 petition: To the Honorable Delegates of the United States in Congress assembled by young ladies of Portsmouth. Boston, Newport, New London , Amboy, New-Castle, Williamsburgh, Wilmington, Charleston and Savannah, most ardently sheweth .... This Pamphlet was gifted to Valley Forge National Historic Park from Stanley and Naomi Yavneh Klos in memory of National Collegiate Honor’s Council Partners in the Park Independence Hall Class of 2017. -- For More information please visit NCHC Partners in the Park 2017  


Announcement has been made that the United States steam man-of-war Trenton, Flagship of the European Station, Rear Admiral Howell commanding, will sail for the United States about the 10th of September, having on board the descendants of General Lafayette, who visit the United States as guests of the Government.

Commandant Lichtenstein of President Grevy's military household, will represent his Excellency the President of the French Republic.

Arrangements are making in all the great cities of the seaboard for the reception and entertainment of the French gentlemen during their sojourn in the country.

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United Colonies and States First Ladies


United Colonies Continental Congress
18th Century Term
09/05/74 – 10/22/74
Mary Williams Middleton (1741- 1761) Deceased
Henry Middleton
05/20/ 75 - 05/24/75
05/25/75 – 07/01/76
United States Continental Congress
07/02/76 – 10/29/77
Eleanor Ball Laurens (1731- 1770) Deceased
Henry Laurens
11/01/77 – 12/09/78
Sarah Livingston Jay (1756-1802)
12/ 10/78 – 09/28/78
Martha Huntington (1738/39–1794)
09/29/79 – 02/28/81
United States in Congress Assembled
Martha Huntington (1738/39–1794)
03/01/81 – 07/06/81
07/10/81 – 11/04/81
Jane Contee Hanson (1726-1812)
11/05/81 - 11/03/82
11/03/82 - 11/02/83
Sarah Morris Mifflin (1747-1790)
11/03/83 - 11/02/84
11/20/84 - 11/19/85
11/23/85 – 06/06/86
Rebecca Call Gorham (1744-1812)
06/06/86 - 02/01/87
02/02/87 - 01/21/88
01/22/88 - 01/29/89

Constitution of 1787
First Ladies
April 30, 1789 – March 4, 1797
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Martha Wayles Jefferson Deceased
September 6, 1782  (Aged 33)
March 4, 1809 – March 4, 1817
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March 4, 1825 – March 4, 1829
December 22, 1828 (aged 61)
February 5, 1819 (aged 35)
March 4, 1841 – April 4, 1841
April 4, 1841 – September 10, 1842
June 26, 1844 – March 4, 1845
March 4, 1845 – March 4, 1849
March 4, 1849 – July 9, 1850
July 9, 1850 – March 4, 1853
March 4, 1853 – March 4, 1857
March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865
February 22, 1862 – May 10, 1865
April 15, 1865 – March 4, 1869
March 4, 1869 – March 4, 1877
March 4, 1877 – March 4, 1881
March 4, 1881 – September 19, 1881
January 12, 1880 (Aged 43)
June 2, 1886 – March 4, 1889
March 4, 1889 – October 25, 1892
June 2, 1886 – March 4, 1889
March 4, 1897 – September 14, 1901
September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909
March 4, 1909 – March 4, 1913
March 4, 1913 – August 6, 1914
December 18, 1915 – March 4, 1921
March 4, 1921 – August 2, 1923
August 2, 1923 – March 4, 1929
March 4, 1929 – March 4, 1933
March 4, 1933 – April 12, 1945
April 12, 1945 – January 20, 1953
January 20, 1953 – January 20, 1961
January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963
November 22, 1963 – January 20, 1969
January 20, 1969 – August 9, 1974
August 9, 1974 – January 20, 1977
January 20, 1977 – January 20, 1981
January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989
January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993
January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001
January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009
January 20, 2009 to date


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