Siege of Yorktown
It was four o'clock in the morning when my commanding officer awoke me and we were ordered to prepare to march. We had set up an extensive camp at Chatham in New York, we all believed that we would attack New York City. It turned out that we were marching on towards Yorktown.
When we arrived at Yorktown the bay was full of French ships. Our army along with the French encircled Cornwallis. Cornwallis did not surrender, he waited for a larger British fleet to save him.
Being in the Corps of Sappers and Miners we were to prepare mines and trenches. On the night of October 5th we sneaked within 150 ft. of the British lines. We were under heavy protection, for it was a dark and rainy night. We laid down pine wood end-to-end so troops would know where to dig trenches. The trenches allowed 100 cannons to be close to the British but still be under protection. Soldiers were moved to the area and issued shovels and picks. It was truly a patriotic moment to see General Washington break the first ground at the Siege of Yorktown.
We had sent a small band of men to the western side of us to fire on the British. Our plan worked and all the British inside were soon firing on them while we dug our trenches. When dawn came around they saw their mistake and started firing on us but no harm was done. It took nine days to dig all of the trenches. Finally on October 15th we were prepared to start the siege.
As the American Flag rose ten cannons fired simultaneously. Since we were firing from 150 ft. away our cannons had a devastating effect. Later, during the second afternoon the Sappers and Miners, including myself were issued axes and we were instructed to chop a path through the abatis (the tops of trees cut with a slanting stroke to act as spikes) they were nearly impossible to get through. As American and French soldiers rushed through the British ran in terror, only minor hand to hand combat took place. Soon afterwords the British handed over their regimental flags and stacked their weapons in a pile. That was it the war was over!