The Surrender of Cornwallis

David, Taisei Hiroshima, Jack, Kevin

Join the best Surrender at Yorktown

Artist Bio

John Trumbull, 1820---

Artist during the American Revolutionary War most noted for historical paintings. John Trumbull lost vision of one of his eyes during an accident during his childhood, which aided him into his detailed painting style. Born in Lebanon, Connecticut as a Puritan descendant, John Trumbull graduated from Harvard University and became 2nd personal aid for George Washington in the American Revolutionary War. Trumbull was arrested as an officer of the continental army. He was imprisoned for seven months in London. After returning to the United States, he worked under the West and painted in his studio. During this time, he sold artworks to universities. He is most noted for his painting of the reverse of the two dollar bill.


Artist Critique

John Trumbull uses sfumato, a lack of clarity, in the background to emphasize the smoke. The men that border the sides of the painting are looking in a straight line into the middle, this helps to also guide your eye into the middle. The painting is very peaceful, despite the obvious battle that took place in the background. The men in the middle have a spotlight on them and contrasts the darkness of the background; this draws your attention to the middle.

The smoke in the background is thick while the foreground, especially the men and their horses show a smoother and more precise texture. The point of view is highly American in the fact that it glories and puts a spotlight on Washington. The British are also literally below them as they are walking instead of riding horses. Even though it displays the Americans as above the British it still remains humble as he offers a hand to the defeated British.


Story Truth

As George Washington crossed the road at Yorktown, he looked upon the expressions of relief and happiness of the of the soldiers. It was incredibly glorifying. As he lead the weary and battered soldiers to the surrendering British generals, a cheer broke out accompanied by the playing of “The World Turned upside down” by the British band. Washington rode next to the defeated army and with a firm handshake and a quick signing of the treaty, the war was over as soon as it began.


Happening Truth

On October 19th, 1781, General Cornwallis -- surrounded by Franco-American troops from all sides -- surrendered his British army to the Americans ending the Siege of Yorktown. To the left side, the French troops are standing under the white flag and to the right, American troops stand under the star-spangled banner. General Cornwallis is not present in the scene of this painting as he was ill, but his sword was carried by General Benjamin Lincoln mounted on the white horse in the center. With this official surrender of the British army, America gained its unofficial form of independence prior to the Treaty of Paris.


War Story

On October 19th, 1781, General Washington of the American Revolution gloriously defeated British General Cornwallis Yorktown. General Washington, with help from French allies, defeated General Cornwallis to seal the fate of the American Revolution. The powerful French Navy blockaded the coast around Yorktown in order to cease retreating of the surrounded British troops. General Washington bravely lead the Franco-American troops on the ground to complete the blockade of Yorktown. With help from the French government the Americans were able to defeat England and its oppressive rule. The Battle of Yorktown was the final battle to ensure the Americans of freedom and liberty.