October’s Engineer Moment in History

Surrender of General CornwallisOctober 19 marks the 229th anniversary of the surrender of General Cornwallis and his British troops at Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781. This three week siege by a joint American and French force meant victory in the War for Independence.  American Sappers and Miners contributed to success by capturing the British Redoubt Ten a few days before the surrender.  Their courageous efforts allowed the Franco-American force to dig a second parallel near the British earthen fortifications and place their siege artillery at point-blank range.   This sealed the British fate because their continued resistance was impossible.  As Chief Engineer in George Washington’s Army, Brigadier General Louis Duportail planned the siege operations and directed the construction of the siege works.   Duportail demonstrated his genius as an engineer and firmly established himself at the rightful father of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer.

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