Revolutionary Dining Series #4: The Seige of Yorktown – The Decisive Engagement of the American War for Independence, featuring Glenn Williams, P.h. D.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm
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Located at The Gables at Chadds Ford, this dinner and lecture is a part of the Brandywine Battlefield Revolutionary Dining Series.

 

Although no one doubts the importance of the engagement, few histories of the Yorktown campaign of 1781 give more than casual mention of the actual conduct of the siege, while spending far more ink in describing the fights for Redoubts 9 and 10, or Lord Cornwallis’ troops grounding their arms at the surrender field to the accompaniment of the British tune “World Turned Upside Down.” The military operation which culminated in the British surrender, however, was a classic example of the successful application of a well-established and formal tactical doctrine. This presentation explores the intricacies and the technical expertise required to carry out an effective and successful siege operation, illustrated by the events at Yorktown.  The explanation includes descriptions of 18th-century field fortification design and construction, as well as the methods for successfully reducing them. Specific topics, such as the purpose and rationale for building parallel and approach trenches, as well as the employment of various classes of artillery, are also covered.  At the conclusion, participants will better understand how the Franco-American forces were able to destroy the combat power of a major British field army defending a well-fortified position without resorting to a bloody frontal assault. Although it did not mark the end of hostilities, the siege of Yorktown proved to be the decisive battle of our War for Independence.