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The map has few descriptions and is primarily in French. It states: 

"Reddition de l'armee Angloises commandee par Mylord Comte de Cornwallis aux armees combinees des Etats Unis de l'Amerique et de France aux ordres des Generaux Washington et de Rochambeau a Yorck Touwn et Glocester dans la Virginie: le 19 Octobre 1781"

This translates to:

"Surrender of the English army commanded by Comte de Cornwallis to the combined armies of the United States of America and France under the orders of Generals Washington and Rochambeau at YorkTown and Gloucester in Virginia: October 19, 1781."

The map also lists "points of interest" on the bottom. They are as follows:

A) York Town

B) Gloucester

C) Armees Angloise sortant de la place (the English Army leaving)

D) Les Armes des ennemis posee en Faiseeaux (the weapons of the enemies posted in bundles)

E) Armee Francoise (French Army)

F) Armee Ameriquaine (American Army)

G) Armee naval de France aux Ordres du Comte de Grace (The Navel Army under the orders of de Grace)

H) Baye de Chesapkeack (Chesapeake Bay)

I) York River

Use these questions to help aid inquiry and understanding:

  • Why might the French make a map showing the Battle of Yorktown?
  • Look at the details of the landscaping
    • Yorktown is primarily flat, with gradual slopes and forested areas. Do the French get this right? Why might they depict Yorktown differently?
    • Similarly - why may the physical town on the landscape look European?
  • How does the cartographer (map maker) depict the battle? Is it calm, or is it chaotic? Why?

Classroom Materials downloads are ZIP files that include, when available: document images (JPEGs), document transcripts (PDF as well as Word and/or Excel files), and ready to use classroom resources (activities, discussion prompts, lesson plans, etc.). These materials are available for educational uses only. If you would like to reproduce them in any other medium, please contact Dawn Bonner, Manager of Visual Resources.

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This is a 1781 French map depicting the Battle of Yorktown. It is hand colored and not drawn to scale.

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