Seige of Yorktown


Journal of Colonel Jonathan Trumbull, secretary to George Washington.

[September] 28. A most wonderful and very observable coincidence of favorable circumstances having concentered our various and extended preparations, the army commences its march from Williamsburg and approaches within two miles of York Town. The enemy on our approach make some show of opposition from their cavalry, but upon our bringing up some field pieces and making a few shot, they retire, and we take a quiet position for the night.

The General and family sleep in the field without any other covering than the canopy of the heavens and the small spreading branches of a tree, which will probably be rendered venerable from this circumstance for a length of lane to come. Previous to this movement the enemies post at Glocester on the opposite side of York River had been invested by a body of militia under the command of Gen. Tedon, the French Legion of the Duke de Lauzun, and a body of French troops from the fleet all under the command of Brig. Gen. De Choisey. By the approach of the main body, and lying of the French ships in the mouth of the river, the enemy were now completely invested, except by water above the town, where they are yet open, and their boats are troublesome up the river for some distance. To close them on this side the General has proposed it to the admiral to run some ships above the town and to take their station there.

[September] 29. The American troops take their station in the front of the enemies works, extend from the left of Pigeon Quarter to Moor's Mill on Wormley's Creek, near the river.

The French troops occupy the left of the Americans and extend to the river above the town. No opposition this day except a few shots from the extreame works, and small firing from their jagers and our rifle men.

[September] 30. In the morning it is discovered that the enemy have evacuated all their exterior works, and retired to their interior defence near the town. We immediately take possession of Pigeon Quarter and hill, and of the enemies' redoubts, and find ourselves very unexpectedly upon very advantageous ground, commanding their line of works in near approach. Scarce a gun fired this day. At night our troops begin to throw up some works and to take advantage of the enemies' evacuated labours.

Colonel Scammel,. being officer of the day, is cruelly wounded and taken prisoner while reconnoitering.