The Battle of Yorktown, 1781: A Reassessment

The Battle of Yorktown, 1781: A Reassessment

John D. Grainger


Boydell Press



An accessible and authoritative account of the battle of Yorktown (1781), the last major battle in the American War of Independence, where an outnumbered British Army surrendered to American forces under George Washington and their French allies.
Yorktown (1781), where a British Army, commanded by Lord Cornwallis, surrendered to the American forces under George Washington and their French allies, has generally been considered one of the decisive battles of the American War of Independence. This accessible and authoritative account of the battle and the wider campaign goes back to original source material (diaries, letters, speeches, and newspapers), offering both a narrative of the events themselves, and an analysis of how the defeat came about and why it came to be seen as crucial. It shows that the battle was really a siege, that it involved relatively few numbers, and relatively little fighting, and was not immediately seen as decisive, with the war continuing for a further two years. It sets the battle and campaign in the wider context of a war which included action in the West Indies, Europe, Africa, Asia, and at sea; shows how movements of the French and British navies were a crucial factor; and, overall, reassesses the causes and significance of the battle.

JOHN D. GRAINGER, a former school-teacher, is the author of numerous books on military history, ranging from the Roman period to the twentieth century.


July 2005
2 line illustrations
214 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Warfare in History
ISBN: 9781843831372
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
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Not only reviews the campaign as a whole but brings to the reassessment of events a probing judiciousness which commands respect. (...) Although this reassessment plays down Yorktown's role as a decisive battle, it provides an excellent rationale for studying the campaign as a test case in military deception, inter-service working, strategic opportunism, and the organization of swift movements of forces to a culminating engagement. WAR IN HISTORY
A welcome addition to the literature. An effective, well-written and clear study. HISTORY
Makes a solid contribution to our understanding of the Chesapeake encirclement.... (The author's) often controversial conclusions make this book worth studying. JOURNAL OF MILITARY HISTORY
Provide(s) a useful corrective to star-spangled American renderings. MILITARY HISTORY (US)

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