Friday, January 22, 2010

An Incident at Yorktown

An Incident at Yorktown

Our contemporary of the Peoria Transcript says the appearance of our forces at Yorktown recalls some of the more striking incidents in connection with the siege of that historic town by Washington. That siege as is well known – participated in by the combined American and French forces – lasted one month. General Cornwallis, finding himself hemmed in on every side, unconditionally surrendered his army to our victorious army. He wished to give up his sword to the American Commander-in-Chief; but Washington, who saw an opportunity to vindicate “poetic justice,” and compliment a brave but unfortunate associate, conferred the honor of receiving the last token of humiliation from the proud Britton upon General Lincoln. This latter chieftain – one of the bravest men that ever drew a sword – had been compelled, a few months previous, to give up his sword to an English victor at Charleston.

The name is suggestive. Who knows but the incident, with the facts inverted, may be repeated; and that a second enemy of American liberty, finally overcome on that memorable spot, may surrender his sword to a second Lincoln? History is full of strange parallels; of parallels even my strange than this.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Tuesday Morning, April 22, 1862, p. 2

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