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Announcement of Victory at Yorktown, October 19, 1781

General Washington notified the Continental Congress of the defeat of British troops near Yorktown, Virginia. Britain’s Lord Cornwallis surrendered after his troops were trapped on a peninsula between American and French land forces and French naval ships. The Revolutionary War essentially ended with this victory.

Records of the Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention, National Archives and Records Administration

Announcement of Victory at Yorktown Announcement of Victory at Yorktown Announcement of Victory at Yorktown Announcement of Victory at Yorktown

Overseeing the Revolutionary Army

When the second continental Congress assembled in 1776, it found itself serving as the national government during the American Revolution. It established the Continental army, raised revenue to support it and appointed George Washington as the army’s commander in chief. Despite the army’s shortages of food and equipment, General Washington turned inexperienced recruits into an army that defeated the best troops in the world. At the end of the war, Congress received his resignation as commander in chief.