The surrender at Yorktown, which ended the American Revolutionary War. Cornwallis realized that aid would not come in time – and after two days of bombardment – he sent a drummer out into view, who apparently beat the rhythm of: “STOP! LET’S TALK!!!” I love that the two sides would communicate this way – quite amazing. A British officer high in rank came forward – was blindfolded – and taken to George Washington (who was pretty much on his last legs himself).
The surrender document was drawn up, with Washington dictating the terms.
Over 7,000 soldiers surrendered at Yorktown. The war was over. There was still a lot of cleaning up to do, and negotiating, and brou-hahas, etc. – but the war was over.
And here is a story (perhaps a rumor – but I love it nonetheless) of Benjamin Franklin’s response to the news of the surrender. He was, of course, in Paris at the time.
Here is, apparently, what happened.
Franklin was in France, and word came to France of the decisive American victory, and the complete surrender to George Washington in Yorktown. Franklin attended a diplomatic dinner shortly thereafter and, of course, everyone was discussing the defeat of the British, and the victory of America.
The French foreign minister stood, and toasted Louis XVI: “To his Majesty, Louis the Sixteenth, who, like the moon, fills the earth with a soft, benevolent glow.”
The British ambassador rose and said, “To George the Third, who, like the sun at noonday, spreads his light and illumines the world.”
Franklin rose and countered, “I cannot give you the sun or the moon, but I give you George Washington, General of the armies of the United States, who, like Joshua of old, commanded both the sun and the moon to stand still, and both obeyed.”