1781 American Revolution - After Yorktown

End Game

Yorktown was a great victory for Franco-American arms, but it was not conclusive. The British still occupied New York City, Wilmington, Charleston, and Savannah, and there was no immediate prospect of the Americans taking these cities. However, the British were hard pressed by years of war, and the government in London saw that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to replace Cornwallis's army. The British public was also reaching the limits of its willingness to pay taxes to support the American war. Realizing that the costs of the war were greater than the potential gain, the British government entered into peace negotiations, with Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay representing the United States. The Treaty of Paris, signed in September 1783, officially ended hostilities, recognized American independence, and made the Mississippi River the new nation's western border. It also allowed Britain to retain Canada and returned Florida to Spain. The failure of the British to withdraw from forts in the northwest with "all convenient speed" and difficulties with Spain over the navigation of the Mississippi River would require more negotiations, but American independence, virtually unthinkable in 1763, had been achieved. - NPS



Y/M/D Description Place
1781/10/21 British and German soldiers begin their journey to prison camps in Winchester, Virginia, Frederick, Maryland and Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
1781/10/24 Washington orders the allied fortifications leveled Yorktown Battlefield, Yorktown, VA
1781/11/03 Washington leaves Yorktown, moving the Continental army back to winter quarters at Newburgh, New York. French forces remain in Yorktown, Williamsburg and Gloucester Point over the winter. Washington's Headquarters, City of Newburgh, NY
1781/11/25 Word of the defeat reaches London. When informed of the disaster, Prime Minister Lord North exclaims, "Oh God, it is all over."
1782/02/28 Reflecting popular mood and opinion, Parliament authorizes the King to negotiate an end to the war.
1782/11/30 American and British commissioners agree to terms for peace.
1783/05/04 Washington meets with Lieutenant General Sir Guy Carleton to negotiate the British evacuation of New York City and the exchange of prisoners, May 4-8 1783 DeWint House, Orangetown
1783/09/03 John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay meet at David Hartley's hotel and sign the Treaty of Paris in his room. Hotel d'York, 56 Rue Jacob, Paris, France. Hotel d'York Building, Rue Jacob, Paris
1783/11/25 British forces evacuate New York City, their last stronghold in the United States
1783/12/00 Most of the Continental Army is disbanded after the ratification of the Treaty of Paris. Washington's Headquarters, City of Newburgh, NY
1783/12/04 With Knox at his side, GW says farewell to his officers, "with a heart full of love and gratitude, I now take leave of you. I most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable." Fraunces Tavern, New York City

Data »

Military Event: American Revolutionary War
Area of Significance: Rebellion

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