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Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, in an American newspaper...

Item # 687288

December 20, 1781

THE SALEM GAZETTE, Massachusetts, December 20, 1781  

* Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown
* American Revolutionary War ending

This issue contains one of the most historically significant letters from the Revolutionary War, being Cornwallis' official announcement of his surrender to Washington at the Battle of Yorktown.
The report begins on the front page no less, prefaced with: "I am directed to send you the enclosed letter from Lieutenant General Earl Cornwallis, to his Excellency the commander in chief, which you are desired to publish in your next gazette."
The letter is datelined: "York-Town, in Virginia, October 20, 1781" and begins with the very famous first sentence: "I have the mortification to inform your excellency that I have been forced to give up the posts of York and Gloucester, and to surrender the troops under my command, by capitulation, on the 19th inst. as prisoners of war, to the combined forces of America and France..." with much more.
This lengthy letter details the action at the Battle of Yorktown and explains why he had no choice but to surrender. It continues to take almost half of the back page where it is signed in type: CORNWALLIS, followed by the numbers of the killed & wounded.
Relating to this, page 2 begins with: "By the United States in Congress Assembled, October 29, 1781" being a Resolve in which Congress thanks Washington & his troops: "...for the eminent services which he has rendered to the United States, and particularly for the well concerted plan against the British garrisons at York and Gloucester, for the vigor, attention, and military skill with which that plan was executed, and for the wisdom & prudence manifested on the occasion..." with much more, including thanks to Rochambeau and Court de Grasse as well.
This is followed by a similar letter of Thanks to Washington by the Penna. Assembly, followed by his response signed in type: George  Washington.
There is more war-related content inside as well, including a short bit mentioning: "...that the French fleet had blocked in Earl Cornwallis, and that General Washington was on his march to Virginia." Much more fine content also.
Although we have had many issues with the "mortification" letter in British publications, this is only the second American newspaper we have offered in several years.
Four pages and in great condition.

Category: Revolutionary War