Yorktown - The World Turned Upside Down

Patriots Storm the Redcoats at Yorktown-Decisive Battle

In the early fall of 1781, the Patriots—fighting for American independence from Britain—had the good fortune of French support.

With that support—including the help of Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur (Comte de Rochambeau), Commander-in-Chief of the French Expeditionary Force, and Admiral de Grasse (who led the French naval blockade, preventing British ships from escaping)—the combined American and French forces began their siege of British-held Yorktown (in Virginia).

According to the U.S. Army Center of Military History: 

On 28 September these armies [the combined Franco-American forces] began siege operations, using the traditional European system of approaches by parallel trenches. In order to complete the second parallel, Washington ordered the seizure of two British redoubts near the York River.

The French were assigned the first, Redoubt No. 9,


and the American Light Infantry under Lt. Col. Alexander Hamilton the second, Redoubt No. 10. 

On the evening of 14 October, as covering fire of shot and shell arched overhead, the Americans and French moved forward. The Americans, with unloaded muskets and fixed bayonets, did not wait for sappers to clear away the abatis, as the French did, but climbed over and through the obstructions.

Within ten minutes the garrison of Redoubt No. 10 was overwhelmed. The French also met with success but suffered heavier losses. (See "Soldiers of the American Revolution," at the U.S. Army Center of Military History, "Yorktown 14 October 1781.")

That event—the Patriots storming the British garrison of Redoubt No. 10—comes alive via artistic interpretation in this painting (at the top of the page) by H. Charles McBarron (1902-1992).

In 1931—the 150th anniversary year of the victory at Yorktown—the U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp honoring the three leaders whose combined efforts led to the British surrender at Yorktown.

Click on the image for a full-page view of McBarron's painting.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5155stories and lessons created

Original Release: Dec 11, 2016

Updated Last Revision: Dec 11, 2016

Media Credits

Storming Redoubt No 10, painting by H. Charles McBarron for Soldiers of the American Revolution.


Image, information and quote from U.S. Army Center for Military History web site.


In-text painting, of the French storming redoubt #9 during the Siege of Yorktown, is by Onfroy de Breville (created, circa 1900.) Online via Wikimedia Commons.


To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"Yorktown - The World Turned Upside Down" AwesomeStories.com. Dec 11, 2016. Jul 21, 2018.
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