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SURRENDER OF THE ROYAL ARMY.
soldiers were to be kept in Virginia, Maryland, or Pennsylvania,
as much by regiments as possible, and supplied with the same rations of provisions as the American soldiers. The officers were to be permitted to proceed, upon parole, to Europe or to any maritime port on the continent of America in possession of British troops. The Bonetta sloop-of-war was to be at the disposal of Lord Cornwallis; to convey an aide-de-camp, with despatches to Sir Henry Clinton, with such soldiers as he might think proper to send to New York, and was to sail without examination. (We will here observe that in this vessel, thus protected from scrutiny, a number of royalists, whose conduct had rendered them peculiarly odious to their countrymen, privately took their departure.)
It was arranged in the allied camp that General Lincoln should receive the submission of the royal army, precisely in the manner in which the submission of his own army had been received on the surrender of Charleston. An eye-witness has given us a graphic description of the ceremony.
"At about 12 o'clock the combined army was drawn up in two lines more than a mile in length, the Americans on the right side of the road, the French on the left. Washington, mounted on a noble steed, and attended by his staff, was in front of the former; the Count de Rochambeau and his suite, of the latter. The French troops, in complete uniform, and well equipped, made a brilliant appearance, and had marched to the ground with a band of music playing, which was a novelty in the American service. The American troops, but part in uniform, and all in garments much the worse for wear, yet had a spirited, soldierlike air, and were not the worse in the eyes of their countrymen for bearing the marks of hard service and great privations. The
concourse of spectators from the country seemed equal in number to the military, yet silence and order prevailed.
"About two o'clock the garrison sallied forth, and passed through with shouldered arms, slow and solemn steps, colors cased, and drums beating a British march. They were all well clad, having been furnished with new suits prior to the capitulation. They were led by General O'Hara on horseback, who, riding up to General Washington, took off his hat and apologized for the non-appearance of Lord Cornwallis, on account of indisposition. Washington received him with dignified courtesy, but pointed to Major-general Lincoln as the officer who was to receive the submission of the garrison. By him they were conducted into a field where they were to ground their arms. In passing through the line formed by the allied army, their march was careless and irregular, and their aspect sullen, the order to "ground arms was given by their platoon officers with a tone of deep chagrin, and many of the soldiers threw down their muskets with a violence sufficient to break them. This irregularity was checked by General Lincoln; yet it was excusable in brave men in their unfortunate predicament. This ceremony over, they were conducted back to Yorktown, to remain under guard until removed to their places of destination." 99*
On the following morning, Washington in general orders congratulated the allied armies on the recent victory, awarding high praise to the officers and troops both French and American, for their conduct during the siege, and specifying by name several of the generals and other officers who had especially distinguished
*Thacher, p. 346.
TARDY MOVEMENTS OF CLINTON.
themselves. All those of his army who were under arrest, were pardoned and set at liberty. "Divine service," it was added, "is to be performed to-morrow in the several brigades and divisions. The commander-in-chief earnestly recommends that the troops, not on duty, should universally attend, with that seriousness of deportment and gratitude of heart which the recognition of such reiterated and astonishing interpositions of Providence demand of us."
Cornwallis felt deeply the humiliation of this close to all his wide and wild campaigning, and was made the more sensitive on the subject by circumstances of which he soon became apprised. On the very day that he had been compelled to lay down his arms before Yorktown, the lingering armament intended for his relief sailed from New York. It consisted of twenty-five ships of the line, two fifty-gun ships, and eight frigates; with Sir Henry Clinton and seven thousand of his best troops. Sir Henry arrived off the Capes of Virginia on the 24th, and gathered information which led him to apprehend that Lord Cornwallis had capitulated. He hovered off the mouth of the Chesapeake until the 29th, when, having fully ascertained that he had come too late, he turned his tardy prows toward New York.
Cornwallis, in a letter written subsequently, renders the following testimony to the conduct of his captors: "The treatment, in general, that we have received from the enemy since our surrender, has been perfectly good and proper; but the kindness and attention that has been shown to us by the French officers in particular, their delicate sensibility of our situation, their generous and pressing offer of money, both public and private, to any amount, has really gone beyond what I can possibly describe, and will, I hope, make an impression in the breast of every offi
cer, whenever the fortune of war shall put any of them into our power."
In the mean time, the rejoicings which Washington had commenced with appropriate solemnities in the victorious camp, had spread throughout the Union. "Cornwallis is taken!" was
the universal acclaim.
It was considered a death-blow to the
Congress gave way to transports of joy. Thanks were voted to the commander-in-chief, to the Counts De Rochambeau and De Grasse, to the officers of the allied armies generally, and to the corps of artillery and engineers especially. Two stands of colors, trophies of the capitulation, were voted to Washington, two pieces of field ordnance to De Rochambeau and De Grasse ; and it was decreed that a marble column, commemorative of the alliance between France and the United States, and of the victory achieved by their associated arms, should be erected in Yorktown. Finally, Congress issued a proclamation, appointing a day for general thanksgiving and prayer, in acknowledgment of this signal interposition of Divine Providence.
Far different was the feeling of the British ministry when news of the event reached the other side of the Atlantic. George Germain was the first to announce it to Lord North at his office in Downing street. "And how did he take it?" was the inquiry. "As he would have taken a ball in the breast," replied Lord George, "for he opened his arms, exclaiming wildly as he paced up and down the apartment, Oh God! it is all over!'"*
* Wraxall's Historical Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 99.
DISSOLUTION OF THE COMBINED
ARMIES-WASHINGTON AT ELTHAM-DEATH OF JOHN PARKE CUSTIS-WASHINGTON AT MOUNT VERNON-CORRESPONDENCE ABOUT THE NEXT CAMPAIGN-LAFAYETTE SAILS FOR FRANCEWASHINGTON STIMULATES CONGRESS TO MILITARY PREPARATIONS-PROJECT TO SURPRISE AND CARRY OFF PRINCE WILLIAM HENRY FROM NEW YORK -THE CASE OF CAPTAIN ASGILL.
WASHINGTON Would have followed up the reduction of Yorktown by a combined operation against Charleston, and addressed a letter to the Count de Grasse on the subject, but the count alleged in reply that the orders of his court, ulterior projects, and his engagements with the Spaniards, rendered it impossible to remain the necessary time for the operation.
The prosecution of the Southern war, therefore, upon the broad scale which Washington had contemplated, had to be relinquished; for, without shipping and a convoy, the troops and every thing necessary for a siege would have to be transported by land with immense trouble, expense and delay; while the enemy, by means of their fleets, could reinforce or withdraw the garrison at pleasure.
Under these circumstances, Washington had to content himself, for the present, with detaching two thousand Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia Continental troops, under General St.