Yorktown 1781

Duty Honor Country

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"If we do not deceive our own men, we will never deceive the enemy" General Washington on why he did not tell his men they were marching to Yorktown.

"We must take Cornwallis or be all dishonored" GEN Washington talking to GEN Lafayette on the alternatives to Yorktown.

"There are between thirty and forty sail with in the capes, most of them ships of war and some of them very big." Lord Conwallis reporting to GEN Clinton on the arrival of the French fleet at Yorktown

"My dear little General" GEN Washington as he greeted Admiral de Grasse, commander of the French fleet.

"Be prepared to hear the worse." Lord Cornwallis warning GEN Clinton if he did not come soon.

"In that case, the blame will fall on Clinton, and not me." Lord Cornwallis after being warned that the earthworks at Yorktown were inadequate.

"Against so powerful an attack, we cannot hope to make a very long resistance." Lord Cornwallis's reastion to the initial French and American bombard.

"My children, I have great need for you tonight." GEN Rochambeau addressing his troops before taking a British redoubts.
"We will fight like lions. Until the last man is killed" A French soldier as he replied to GEN Rochambeau's address.

"I am in my redoubt. Where are you?" GEN Lafayette's teasing message to the French Officer in charge. Lafayette was at the rear of Colonel Alexander Hamilton's forces.

"Tell the marquis I am not in mine but will be in 5 minutes." The French commanders response.

"Mr. Evans, you had better carry that home and show it to your wife." GEN Washington talking to his chaplain Israel Evans. A British shell exploded near by and sprayed the party with sand. Evans started to brush the sand off his hat.

"An ardent desire to spare the further effusion of blood will readily incline me to listen to such terms for the surrender of your post and garrisons of York and Gloucester as are admissible." GEN Washington's response to Lord Cornwaliis' request for a 24 hour cease fire while the British drew up terms for surrender. Washington granted the British a 2 hour cease fire and continued the siege until he got a reply.

"We are subordinate to the Americans. General George Washington will give you your orders." GEN Rochambeau as he refused to take the British surrender from GEN Charles O'Hara. GEN O'Hara had intended to present the French with the surrender.

"Never from such a good hand" GEN Washington as he declined to take the sword himself. The honor had been given to Benjamin Lincoln.

"If ponies rode men and if grass ate cows,
And cats should be chased into holes by the mouse...
If summer were spring and the other way around,
Then all the world be upside down"
The tune that the British Band played as they left their positions to surrender. The terms of the surrender said the British must play their own tune and not a mocking version of Yankiedoole.

"Oh, God! It's all over." Lord North of the British Parliment when he learned of Cornwallis' surrender.
That's all I got for Yorktown. I got a few more to post on other subjects about the Revolutionary War. There are a couple quotes in "Last Words" from the same book.

All all those quotes are from Patriots: The Men Who Started the Revolutionary War by AJ Langguth. It's a 560 page book that starts in 1761 and ends with Washington's farwell to his troops and to congress. I like the book because it is solid history, and Languth does not glorify things like the first shot of the war, Paul Revere's ride or Yorktown. Yesterday, I finally finished it :D . It is well worth the $15 I paid for it.

EDIT NOTE: "My dear little General" is amusing because Admiral de Grasse stood at 6 foot 4 inches.
Washington was probably unused to looking up at anybody. He stood 6' 2" himself. Roughly equivelant to 6' 8" for somebody today.
Charge_7 said:
Washington was probably unused to looking up at anybody. He stood 6' 2" himself. Roughly equivelant to 6' 8" for somebody today.

During the meeting, the french sailors and soldiers lined the sides of the boat to catch a glimps of America's general. I know Washington must have felt quite relieved when he heard that the French Fleet arrived. That would explain his humor when meeting with de Grasse. Washington has never been known for his humor.

note since the wife is in the field, I will work on getting more quotes on the forum ;)
That's an interesting quote but I have heard it told a bit differently. Who knows?

While the allied armies were taking position around Yorktown, General Washington went on board the Ville de Paris to meet De Grasse for the first time. Washington was accompanied by General de Rochambeau, General de La Fayette, General Knox, Governor Benjamin Harrison and Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hamilton. The fleet's ships were of course dressed over all, and gave Washington a 13-gun salute as he came aboard. As soon as the Commander in Chief arrived on deck, De Grasse rushed to him, threw his arms around him and kissed him on both cheeks, saying over and over again with obvious emotion: "My dear little general!" While De Grasse stood 6' 4", Washington was 6' 6" [?*] and in any case cut such an imposing figure that the words "dear little general" provoked quickly stifled hilarity among the onlookers. After an excellent luncheon on board, the commanders sat down to a conference. De Grasse finally agreed to prolong his stay in American waters until November 1, to the immense satisfaction of the generals, and plans were adopted for the final stage of the siege.

"In a few minutes after their departure, there came a man alone to us, having on a surtout, as we conjectured (it being dark), and inquired for the engineers. We now began to be a little jealous for our safety, being alone and without arms, and within forty rods of the British trenches. The stranger inquired what troops we were; talking familiarly with us a few minutes, when, being informed which way the officers had gone, he went off in the same direction after strictly charging us, in case we should be taken prisoners, not to discover to the enemy what troops we were. We were abliged to him for his kind advice, but we considered ourselves as standing in no great need of it; for we knew as well as he did that sappers and miners were allowed no quarters, at least are entitled none by the laws of warfare, and of course should be taken care, if taken and the enemy did not find us out, not to betray our own secret.
In a short time the engineers returned and the aformentioned stranger with them; they discoursed together sometime, when,by the officers often calling him 'Your Excellency,; we discovered that it was Gen. Washington. Had we dared, we might have cautioned him for exposing himself so carelessly to danger at such a time, and doubtless he would have taken it to good part if we had. But nothing ill happened to either him or ourselves." Sergeant James Martin

"Sir, you are too much exposed here. Had you not better step a little back...Colonel Cobb, if you are afraid t, you have the liberty to step back." Gen Washington's reaction to COL Cobb's warning during an assualt at Yorktown.

"[P.S.] I trust you wil bear in mind that I write to you most confidentially. Desperate cases require bold remedies." Rear Admiral Sam Hood to George Jackson of the Admiralty giving his assesment of the situation.

"I have the mortification to inform you your Excellency that I have been forced to give up my posts of York and Gloucester and, and to surrender the troops inder my command, by capitulation on the 19th inst. as prisoners of war to the combined forces of America and France. I never saw this post in a very favorible light, but when I found I was to be attacked in it in so unprepared a state, by so powerful an army and artillery, nothing but the hopes of relief would have induced me to attempt its defence..." Lord Cornwallis explaining why he was surrendering to Gen Clinton

As you can tell, SGT Doody has a new book on the American Revolution :D More to follow
Charge_7 said:
40 rods = 640 feet. Danger close!

if I may, what is the basis of measure for a rod??

"I am on fire. By the Great God of War, I think we may all hang up our swords by the last of the year in perfect peace and security." GEN George Weedon to Nathanael Green on the situation at Yorktown

"I felt a secret pride swell my heart when I saw the 'star-spangled banner' waving majestically in the very faces of our implacable adversaries; it appeared to like an omen of success to our enterprize, and so it proved in reality. A simultaneous discharge of all the guns in thr line followed, the French troops accompany it with 'Huzza for the Americans!'" Segeant James Martin

"Cornwallis may now tremble for his fate, for nothing but some extraordinary interposition of his guardian angles seem capable of saving him and his whole army from captivity." COL St. George Tucker in a letter to his wife
What is the measure of a rod?
1 Pole = 1 Rod
1 Rod = 1 pole
1 Rod = 1 perch
1 Rod = 16.5 feet

Too much info? :)
Sea_Cadet said:
how do you get these

any good book on history. The book I have now is the Spirit of Seventy Six. It is a collection of letters, orders, diary entries ect of the people who fought the Revolutionary War. I like history straight from the horses mouth, not translated 100 times like your typical history text book
Actually, the quote from Rochambeau is a little different ... not "I have need of you," but "if I have need of you" -- here it is is from an article in the 1885 Revue francaise de l'etranger et des colonies:
My children, if I have need of you tonight I hope that you won’t have forgotten that we have served together in this grand regiment called “Auvergne sans tache” (Auvergne without stain), an honorable name it has merited since its creation.

They responded to me, added Rochambeau in his Memoirs, that if I promised to give them that name, they would [fight] to the very last man.

We will see that they kept their word.


Actually, the French is weird, because the soldiers actually respond "we will die to the last man" or "we will get killed to the last man." Maybe that would be better ...