Rare, original 1863 map by famous American lithographer Julius Bien entitled "A Plan of Yorktown and Gloucester In The Province Of Virginia, showing the Works constructed for the Defence of those Posts by the British Army under the Command of Lt. Gen Earl Cornwallis together with the Attacks and Operations of the American and French Forces Commanded by Genl. Washington & Count Rochambeau, to whom the said Posts were Surrendered on the 17th October 1781. From an actual Survey in the Possession of JNO. Hills, late Lieut. in the 23rd. Reg. and Ass. Eng."
This highly detail map depicts the various British, American and French redoubts, fortifications and defensive works, including four Redoubts constructed by the British on Gloucester Point opposite Yorktown; the frigates HMS Guadaloupe and HMS Charon stationed in the York River; vessels sunken by the British to deter a naval assault by American and French forces; the British redoubts and other defensive works built to defend Yorktown from land assaults; and the American and French siege works (First Parallel and Second Parallel), including dates of the important assaults
leading to the British surrender.
By October 14, the trenches were within 150 yards of redoubts No. 9 and No. 10. Washington ordered that all guns within range begin blasting the redoubts to weaken them for an assault that evening. Washington planned to use the cover of a moonless night to gain the element of surprise.
To reinforce the darkness, he added silence, ordering that no soldier should load his musket until reaching the fortifications; the advance would be made with only "cold steel." Redoubt 10 was near the river and held only 70 men, while redoubt 9 was a quarter-mile inland, and was held by 120 British and Germans. Both redoubts were heavily fortified with rows of abatis surrounding them, along with muddy ditches that surrounded the redoubts at about 25 yards. Washington devised a plan in which the French would launch a diversionary attack on the Fusiliers redoubt, and then a half an hour later, the French would assault redoubt 9 and the Americans Redoubt 10.
Redoubt 9 would be assaulted by 400 French regular soldiers of the Royal Deux-Ponts Regiment under the command of the Count of Deux-Ponts and Redoubt 10 would be assaulted by 400 light infantry troops under the command of Alexander Hamilton. There was a brief dispute as to who should lead the attack on Redoubt No. 10. Lafayette named his aide, Jean-Joseph Sourbader de Gimat, who commanded a battalion of Continental light infantry. However, Hamilton protested, saying that he was the senior officer. Washington concurred with Hamilton and gave him command of the attack.
With the capture of Redoubts 9 and 10, Washington was able to have his artillery shell the town from three directions and the allies moved some of their artillery into the redoubts. On October 15, Cornwallis turned all of his guns onto the nearest allied position. He then ordered a storming party of 350 British troops under the command of Colonel Robert Abercromby to attack the allied lines and spike the American and French cannon. The allies were sleeping and unprepared. As the British charged Abercromby shouted "Push on my brave boys, and skin the bastards!" The British party spiked several cannon in the parallel and then spiked the guns on an unfinished redoubt. A French party came and drove them out of the allied lines and back to Yorktown. The British had been able to spike six guns, but by the morning they were all repaired. The bombardment resumed with the American and French troops engaged in competition to see who could do the most damage to the enemy defenses.
On the morning of October 16, more allied guns were in line and the fire intensified. In desperation, Cornwallis attempted to evacuate his troops across the York River to Gloucester Point. At Gloucester Point, the troops might be able to break through the allied lines and escape into Virginia and then march to New York. One wave of boats made it across, but a squall hit when they returned to take more soldiers, making the evacuation impossible.
The fire on Yorktown from the allies was heavier than ever as new artillery pieces joined the line.
Cornwallis talked with his officers that day and they agreed that their situation was hopeless.
On the morning of October 17, a drummer appeared, followed by an officer waving a white handkerchief. The bombardment ceased, and the officer was blindfolded and led behind the French and American lines. The articles of capitulation were signed on October 19, 1781.
Map dimensions are 27 1/2 by 20 1/2 inches.