Author

Roy M. Newton

Date of Award

Spring 1939

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

History

Abstract

It was in the fall of 1781, over four years after the Declaration of Independence, that General Cornwallis surrendered his force at Yorktown, and American independence was realized. Yorktown is generally supposed to have been the decisive battle of the American Revolution, but it was the naval engagement off the Virginia Capes six weeks earlier, when the British fleet through a confusion over tactical signals, was driven away from the Chesapeake Bay, that actually decided the fate of the British forces in America. Had Adin.iral Graves taken advantage of his superior position when he encountered the Comte de Grasse, who knows how long the colonies would have struggled for liberty, or whether they would finally have been forced into submission. For it was only through a combination of favorable, almost providential, circumstances, that Washington, able general though he was, was able to gain the victory.

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