The American commanders before the Siege of Yorktown: Rochambeau (center L), Washington (center R), Marquis de La Fayette (behind Washington, L), Marquis de Saint Simon (behind Washington, R), Duke of Lauzun (L, mounted) and Comte de Ménonville (R of Washington)
American storming of Redoubt 10 during the Siege of Yorktown
Realizing the hopelessness of his situation, Cornwallis raised the white flag and had the drummers beat the parley.
General Washington offered generous terms regarding prisoners, but forbade flying the British colors or the bands playing tribute to the victors, in response to similar treatment suffered by the Americans at the surrender of Charleston, South Carolina several years earlier. General Washington also directed the red-coat second in command to surrender to Benjamin Lincoln, his second in command, since Cornwallis was indisposed to attend the ceremony. The American General was a stickler for protocol and respect.
General Charles O’Hara—second in command to and standing in for General Howe—surrenders the British troops to General Benjamin Lincoln, second in command to and standing in for General Washington, who observes from the background
At the loss of less than four hundred casualties, George Washington and the Comte de Rochambeau and the French fleet had humiliated and captured a major British army at a politically sensitive time. The loss brought down the English government and America’s allies in Parliament began negotiation for a final ending of the war, which took place in 1783. For all practical purposes, the Siege of Yorktown put an end to the War for Independence. Now it was up to the politicians to build a Republic, “if they could keep it.”