The year is 1781, and the American Revolutionary War has been raging on for nearly six years and has expanded to include several European powers. You are Lord Cornwallis, and you have just been ordered to set up a defensive naval position on the Virginia Peninsula to shelter British ships of the line. You select Yorktown, on the York River and dig in with 8000+ British and Hessian soldiers. Maybe you realized this on the way in, but it shortly becomes obvious that if your naval reinforcements are defeated, you are utterly trapped in your peninsular position. To make a bad day worse, your naval reinforcements are
defeated, and you are royally (pun intended) screwed. George Washington's army of continentals, militia, and Frenchmen is nearly 20,000 strong, and setting up for a heavy siege, digging in just out of musket range. As if that weren't enough, Admiral de Grasse, the French commander who earlier defeated your reinforcements, is blocking your sea escape with his 29 ships and 3100 men. The situation is hopeless. You try to escape across the York River to Gloucester Point, but after your boats make one trip across, a squall hits, making riverine escape impossible. Yep, you're screwed. Realizing your predicament, you make the wise decision and send an officer to General Washington with a white flag in order to discuss the terms of your surrender. You have suffered over 600 killed and wounded, and now the rest of your army, 8000 strong, have marched through the lines of siege to a field of surrender and laid down their arms. Though the war wouldn't end for another two years, this surrender largely ended the land warfare in the colonies.
This tag is that field of surrender, in Yorktown, VA. An important place in our American history.
Pretty large tree:
Map of the battle, including the location of the field (slightly outdated):
It was a balmy 48 degrees and raining on the way up there, and a sweltering 51 degrees on the way back! Make sure you drink lots of water and wear plenty of sunblock.
Learn more about the Siege of Yorktown.
(tag coordinates: 37.209023, -76.503310)
Go get it!