At Meeting In Wethersfield, Connecticut, George Washington and French General Rochambeau Plan Seige of British Troops Commanded by Cornwallis at Yorktown
The beginning of the end of the American Revolutionary War began in 1780 when 5,500 French soldiers landed in Rhode Island to help the Americans lay seige to the British army occupying New York City. When George Washington and the French General Comte de Rochambeau met in Wethersfield, Connecticut, however, it was decided that rather than laying seige to New York that the American and French forces would secretly shift southward to Virginia in order to trap British General Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown. What precipitated this decision was news that French Admiral Comte de Grasse would have an opportunity to briefly shift his fleet from the Caribbean to the Cheaapeake Bay so as to to trap Cornwallis at Yorktown. To further trap Cornwallis, Washington sent the Marquis de Lafayette ahead of the larger combined American-French forces. By late September, this plan worked with American and French forces trapping Cornwallis by land and sea at Yorktown. Key to the plan was the large seige cannons that the French possessed so as to begin a continuous bombardment of the British forces under Cornwallis. George Washington personally set off the first cannon to begin this bombardment.