The Birth of a New Nation

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Happening Truth by Austin Zhang

Earlier, Cornwallis successfully invaded both South Carolina and New Jersey. Subsequently, he invaded North Carolina, however, this was not near as successful and so he led his troops to Virginia to settle and recover. The British army then started to fortify the town of Yorktown.

Washington partnered his army of 2500 with Marquis de Lafayette’s army of 5000 and a French army of 4000 to surround and block Yorktown. They began a 200 mile march into Yorktown when combined.

Concurrently, a British fleet was defeated by the French navy at the Battle of Virginia Capes which blocked the reinforcements Cornwallis was expecting.

De Grasse landed another 3,000 French troops carried to join the 11,500 man army already formed. In the first 2 weeks of October 1781, the almost 14000 man army defeated Cornwallis’s troops. A massive British ship of 7000 reinforcements came to aid Cornwallis but they arrived too late.

On October 19, General Cornwallis surrendered almost 8000 troops.

The American victory at Yorktown ended fighting in the colonies. On September 3, 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed, making the U.S. as a an independent country after eight years of war.

Artist Bio By Bralen Dulin

Born in Lebanon Connecticut during the Revolutionary era, John Trumbull was the son of Jonathan Trumbull and Faith Trumbull, descendants of Puritan settlers in Connecticut. John's father, being the governor of Connecticut, got him into Harvard in 1771. John was blinded in one eye as a child which may have led to his inspiration for such detailed art later in his life. Trumbull served as second personal aide to General George Washington during the Revolutionary war until he resigned due to a dispute over the dating of his officer commission. In 1780, he moved to London to study under Benjamin West, where he painted small scenes from the war for independence and miniature portraits. Trumbull was arrested in Great Britain after the British agent Major John André was hanged in North America for acting as a spy. He was released 7 months after the incident and sent back the United States.

After British recognition of United States' independence, he returned to London for painting study with West once again. He painted many scenes of American battles for independence. His most famous was Declaration of Independence, which is featured on the back of the American two-dollar bill. He also painted the portrait of Alexander Hamilton, displayed on the 10-dollar bill. Trumbull sold many of his works to Yale for a private collection. He painted the Surrender of Lord Cornwallis in Paris in 1785. His last work was his autobiography, two years before his death in 1843, aged 87.

Art Critique by Nathan Bennett

Throughout this painting, Trumbull uses straight lines to symbolize the uniformity of the soldiers. On each side there is a long line of them, going into the distance, showing how they stand as one and how there are two different sides, no in between. Trumbull also uses dark colors, mainly in the background, to symbolize the war that is happening. The focus is on the man on the horse in the middle of the two rows of men, as he is probably the general. He is slumped over in a sign of defeat and he is given a wide berth, as he is traveling a walk of defeat. The flags are both hoisted up very high above the soldiers, making their alliances clear, and a focus of the piece. There is a large trail of smoke in the background, signifying the destruction of the war.

Story Truth by Nelson Lee

My name is Morgan Freeman, I will be narrating a very important moment in a very important man’s very important life. Well, at least that’s how he would like it to be remembered, you know how those British people are. The gentleman’s name was Cornwallis. General Cornwallis, as he was quick to remind anyone who might’ve forgot.

Now, as you might assume Mr. General Cornwallis was a man of high stature to be deserving of such a title. A high ranking officer in the army of Tea and Crumpets during the great Revolution of ‘76 (I was just starting to grow old around that time, and I would stay old for the rest of my life), he found himself enjoying a nice ol’ British supper in the house of one Thomas Nelson Jr. Unfortunately, Mr. General Man wasn’t exactly a guest in Continental Congressman Nelson’s home. And more unfortunate, the man was surrounded by thousands of angry American colonists with muskets, powder, and a strong spirit of liberty.

It is with a heavy heart that I recount this rather embarrassing part of the General’s story, but he was indeed in quite a bit of serious poop. After several successful battles in South Carolina and New Jersey in which the superior force of General Cornwallis’s well-trained, well-armed, and British army forced the not-British and not-as-big colonial militias back home to their mommies, he thought it would be a good idea to take a load off at Yorktown.

Let this be a lesson to you kids. If you happen to be a high ranking general in the British army around 1781, don’t camp your troops in a city that every enemy trooper and his mother happens to be marching to at the same time. Poor General Cornwallis realized this self-evident truth a bit too soon. That fateful sunny day when he sipped his tea and ate his crumpets in a stolen house, well, that sunny day became a whole week of sunny days in which the British troops got, to say the least, wrecked. They say that during this infamous Battle of Yorktown, General Cornwallis became so stressed that his britches shrunk down three sizes too small. I can personally attest that this is not true; they only shrunk two sizes.

Now you have to understand here was a man who had never lost a thing in his life, when all of a sudden he finds himself losing thirteen resource-producing colonies of mother Russi-- ahem, Great Britain. Such a change in circumstance can have quite an effect on a man. He watched his navy, the biggest and baddest bunch of wooden boats the world had ever seen, get demolished by a bunch of Frenchman, oui oui oui hon hon hon, who were quite the Voldemort to the British if the British were Harry Potter. And to make matters worse, those gosh darn Americans--some were farmers and carpenters who had never seen an ounce of combat-- were advancing into the General Cornwallis’s fortified town. After a week of constant besieging, his troops were exhausted of their numbers, their powder, their crumpets, and ultimately their will to fight. With a heavy heart and a sigh of relief, General Cornwallis honorably surrendered to the Americans on October 19, 1781.

War Story

Nightfall on the 6th of October, the battle began. Washington was manning the trench with the French on the adjacent side. A support trench ran along the river to hold off the British ships. Washington planned to use the lack of light from the new moon as cover. At 6:30 PM gunfire announced a diversion attack. simultaneously the French assaulted the British fort. The British threw hand grenades, however the American troops pushed through. The British seized the counter-attack which was cut off by the French Allies pushing the British back into Yorktown where they were cutoff with no chance for escape. The battle continued but soon the British realized they had no hope to stop the onslaught. Cornwallis surrendered, symbolizing American independence. The long, bloody battle cam to a close and the torn soldiers joined in celebration.