The Battle of Yorktown Website
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The Battle of Yorktown Report
By Charlie Ginsburg
The Battle of Yorktown, which was fought in October, 1781, illustrated the strength of the British Army. It also illustrated the various strengths of the Americans (also known as the Colonists). The Battle of Yorktown also emphasized the weaknesses of both sides.
The British Armys strengths were demonstrated clearly in the battle of Yorktown. In particular, the British had a regular, trained and salaried army. This army had well trained officers who knew how to make their soldiers obey their orders. The soldiers were disciplined. The British army was extremely organized.
The Battle of Yorktown also illustrated the weaknesses of the British. First of all the British had a third of their troops killed and many more injured by the Americans when they entered North Carolina, prior to the Battle of Yorktown; therefore the British did not have a full contingent of soldiers available for the battle. When General Charles Cornwallis(the Commander of the British forces) troops went to Yorktown, they were far from home. And it was during the winter. Secondly, the British Army was low on supplies, and awaiting reinforcements from New York City. Unfortunately, the Colonists were planning to attack New York and the British Army in New York was occupied with the Colonists. In fact, General Cornwallis had been ordered to send his troops to New York. On October 17, 1781 a British fleet was sent from New York to help Cornwallis, but they arrived too late. Finally the British were outnumbered (General Cornwallis had 9,800 troops, including slaves, but 2,000 of them were sick).
The Americans strengths in the Battle of Yorktown over-powered the British, and helped the Colonists win the Revolutionary War. The total number of soldiers(8300 Continental Army and 7500 French)fighting for the Americans were two and a half times the number of people fighting for the British. General George Washington, who led the American troops, was an experienced leader. The Americans were familiar with the terrain they fought in. The American soldiers were very motivated fighters, as they tried to regain their rights they had lost as Englishmen when they left England to come to the colonies.
The American weaknesses were clearly shown in the Battle of Yorktown. The Continental Army can be described as almost the exact opposite of the British Army. The officers werent trained and their orders were not obeyed. The soldiers had short terms of service(the regular term was one year and were unskilled in fighting). There was not a lot of tax money to pay for the Continental Army. They did not even have a regular uniforms.
The strengths and weaknesses of the British and Americans could easily be seen in the Battle of Yorktown. While a disciplined and organized army helped the British, a lack of soldiers blocked their path to victory. The Americans may have had an unorganized and undisciplined army, but their size was greater than the British. This was the decisive factor in the battle of Yorktown. If the Continental Army had not won at Yorktown, America would be different than it is today.
Page 2: The Battle of Yorktown Art Gallery
Page 3: The Battle of Yorktown Links
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