Revolution, 1753-1783

Author: George Washington  | Date: 1781

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Washington Reports the Yorktown Surrender

I HAVE the honor to inform Congress that a reduction of the British army, under the command of Lord Cornwallis, is most happily effected. The unremitted ardor, which actuated every officer and soldier in the combined army on this occasion, has principally led to this important event at an earlier period than my most sanguine hopes had induced me to expect.

The singular spirit of emulation, which animated the whole army from the first commencement of our operations, has filled my mind with the highest pleasure and satisfaction, and had given me the happiest presages of success.

On the 17th instant, a letter was received from Lord Cornwallis, proposing a meeting of commissioners to consult on terms for the surrender of the posts of York and Gloucester. This letter (the first which had passed between us) opened a correspondence, a copy of which I do myself the honor to enclose; that correspondence was followed by the definitive capitulation, which was agreed to and signed on the 19th, a copy of which is also herewith transmitted and which, I hope, will meet the approbation of Congress.

I should be wanting in the feelings of gratitude, did I not mention on this occasion, with the warmest sense of acknowledgment, the very cheerful and able assistance which I have received in the course of our operation from his Excellency the Count de Rochambeau and all his officers of every rank in their respective capacities. Nothing could equal the zeal of our allies, but the emulating spirit of the American officers, whose ardor would not suffer their exertions to be exceeded.

The very uncommon degree of duty and fatigue, which the nature of the service required from the officers and engineers and artillery of both armies, obliges me particularly to mention the obligations I am under to the commanding and other officers of those corps.

I wish it was in my power to express to Congress how much I feel myself indebted to the Count de Grasse and the officers of the fleet under his command, for the distinguished aid and support which has been afforded by them, between whom and the army the most happy concurrence of sentiments and views has subsisted, and from whom every possible cooperation has been experienced, which the most harmonious intercourse could afford.


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Chicago: George Washington, "Washington Reports the Yorktown Surrender," Revolution, 1753-1783 in America, Vol.3, Pp.307-309 Original Sources, accessed December 2, 2022,

MLA: Washington, George. "Washington Reports the Yorktown Surrender." Revolution, 1753-1783, in America, Vol.3, Pp.307-309, Original Sources. 2 Dec. 2022.

Harvard: Washington, G, 'Washington Reports the Yorktown Surrender' in Revolution, 1753-1783. cited in , America, Vol.3, Pp.307-309. Original Sources, retrieved 2 December 2022, from