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Washington decided to fight the British in Virginia instead of New York. How would he prepare for battle?

New York, New York

George Washington worked with the French to reclaim New York. In the end, they decided that it was better to battle in the south, towards Virginia.

Planning for New York

The Battle of the Chesapeake

The Battle of the Chesapeake, or the Battle of the Virginia Capes, happened before Yorktown between the French and British navies. It was the first major naval defeat of the British by the French since 1690.

More on the Battle

George Washington: Spymaster

To keep the British from guessing their plans, Washington started an act of deception. His spies purposefully lost papers with fake plans, and fake camps were set up around New York.

Why spies?

George Washington's Role in the Battle of the Chesapeake

What was Washington's role in this naval battle? Watch a short video to learn more.

Watch the video

How did Washington prepare for Yorktown?

Primary Source: The Sea Fight

This map outlines where each ship was in the Battle of the Chesapeake. It also includes "observations and references" of the battle.

The Battle Map

Primary Source: The Battle Explained

The Marquis de Lafayette updated Washington on the Battle of the Chesapeake (also known as the Battle of the Virginia Capes) in this letter.

Read the letter

Primary Source: Purchase of Goods for the French

This ledger shows what exactly was purchased for the French navy during the Revolutionary War. It contains things like bread, flour, and butter.

Explore the ledger

Watch Now or Never

Learn how the Continental Army won the Revolution with this 30 minute film!