At Trebell’s Landing on the James River, a mile southwest of here, the artillery and stores of the American and French armies were landed in September 1781. They were then conveyed overland some six miles to the siege lines at Yorktown. The troops disembarked at landings near Williamsburg. During the next few weeks, the allied armies under Gen. George Washington and the comte de Rochambeau besieged the British army commanded by Gen. Charles Cornwallis until he surrendered on 19 Oct. 1781, effectively ending the Revolutionary War.
Trebell’s landing was an important place during the Revolutionary War as it served as the grouping place for all of the artillery and stores of the American and French armies in 1781 (Greene). The convenient location allowed for General George Washington and the Comte de Rochambeau to overcome General Cornwallis’ army easily during the siege of Yorktown.
Early in September, Lafayette moved his forces to Williamsburg in order to block movements and advances of General Cornwallis. It was not long before General Washington joined Lafayette and thus combined French and American forces (Yorktown National Battlefield). By late September, there were landing operations, which brought much of the army’s artillery at the shore of Trebell’s Landing. This movement gave General Washington command of well over 18,000 combined troops (Lengal, 337). The location allowed for Washington’s artillery to readily and newly be resupplied and thus allowed for heavy fire upon the British. The combined forces constantly slammed Cornwallis’ troops until October 17th. On October 17th, Cornwallis officially surrendered (Lengal, 342).
After a long and arduous battle, the siege of Yorktown officially ended October 19, 1781 after two days of negotiation. Furthermore, this battle is considered a decisive victory of a combined effort of American and French forces. It is also considered to be the last major land battle of the Revolutionary War in that this battle and Cornwallis’ ultimate surrender eventually yielded to the end of the war because it initiated the negotiations between the United States and Great Britain.
Forbes, Allan. “Marches and Camp Sites of the French Army: Beyond New England during the Revolutionary War.” Proceedings of the Massachusetts’s Historical Society, Third Series 67 (October., 1941 – May, 1944). http://www.jstor.org/stable/25080352 (accessed March 4, 2012).
Greene, Jerome. The Guns of Independence: The Siege of Yorktown, 1781. New York: Savas Beatie LLC, 2005.
Hatch, Charles. Yorktown and the Siege of 1781. Washington, D.C.: National Park Service, 1954. http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_books/hh/14/index.htm (accessed March 4, 2012).
Lengal, Edward. General George Washington. New York: Random House Paperbacks, 2005.
Russell, David Lee. The American Revolution in Southern Colonies. Jefferson: McFarland & Co., 2000.
Historical Marker “Trebell’s Landing W-49,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.
“The Siege at Yorktown,” The American Revolution: The Battle of Yorktown, 1781, www.britishbattles.com (accessed May 2, 2012).
“George Washington,” Library of Congress, www.loc.gov (accessed May 2, 2012).
“Lord Cornwallis,” Library of Congress, www.loc.gov (accessed May 2, 2012).