A scenic area within Fort Ward Museum and Park located in Alexandria, VA was the location of the 1st Yorktown Victory Celebration Picnic sponsored by DCSAR. The picnic commenced at 11:00 am on October 18, 2020 where all guests wore mask and practiced social distancing. The event celebrated the 238th anniversary of the American Victory at Yorktown and the major contributions to its success by France and French Heroes to the Revolution. Guests either brought their own lunch or were served a picnic box.
DCSAR President Joel P. Hinzman provided the following overview: “On September 28, 1781, General George Washington, commanding a force of 17,000 French and Continental troops, began the siege known as the Battle of Yorktown against British General Lord Charles Cornwallis and a contingent of 9,000 British troops at Yorktown, Virginia, in the most important battle of the Revolutionary War. With the opening of forty-one Allied guns on October 9, 1781, Cornwallis' position, already tenuous, was made so indefensible that surrender negotiations started less than a week later on October 17.
The surrender of over 7,000 British troops on October 19, 1781 did not end the war. The end came in 1783 after Washington moved back to New York City, with the Peace of Paris signed by a British government installed largely as a result of Washington's victory.
In truth, Washington commanded an allied army, in which the French component was very important. A French army expeditionary force had been stationed in New England since 1780, and soldiers from this French contingent (when combined with others brought up from the West Indies) comprised nearly half of Washington’s forces. Cornwallis refused to attend the surrender ceremony, citing “illness” so his second in command, Brigadier General Charles O’Hara led the British army on to the field. In a symbolically important gesture, O’Hara had tried to surrender to the Comte de Rochambeau, the French commander, only for Rochambeau diplomatically to insist that he was merely an American auxiliary. The reluctant O’Hara therefore offered his sword to Washington, who in turn insisted that his second-in-command should take the British surrender. Rochambeau followed military etiquette to the letter, but by doing so created a misleading impression of the French contribution.
Not only did French heavy artillery relentlessly pound Cornwallis’s defensive works, but French troops played a key part in capturing an important British redoubt. But before this moment, the French navy had sealed Cornwallis’s fate by leaving him trapped and without realistic hope of help.
So today, the day before the 238th anniversary of the American and French forces victory at Yorktown, we celebrate the triumph of the alliance that is still strong to this day, that of the United States and France.”
Two new members were inducted during the celebration. Timothy Maurice Reardon of Alexandria, VA is the 3rd great grandson of Jared Ingersoll, who served as a member of the Continental Congress in 1780 and 1781 and also an aide-de-camp to the Governor of Pennsylvania. Douglas Bunton Tomb of Falls Church, VA is the 4th great grandson of Private Josiah Moody, who served in Col. John Stark’s New Hampshire Regiment. They are pictured below with DCSAR President Hinzman, DCSAR Secretary Paul Hays and Mrs. Beverly Tomb, a member of the Eleanor Wilson Chapter, DCDAR. Masks were temporarily removed during the photo shoot.
The posthumous memorial inductee was Daniel Pierson Redmond (d. July 2018) who was the 4th great grandson of Moses Felt, a private in two different companies of the Massachusetts militia. Compatriot Sean Redmond was presented with his father’s certificate.
Compatriot Tom Readmond was presented with certificates representing seven approved supplemental applications bringing his total proven Patriot Ancestors to fifteen.
Concluding, guests joined President Hinzman in raising a glass in a toast to France, General Rochambeau, the Marquis de Lafayette and the French Forces, General George Washington, and to the United States.