Today In Charleston History: October 19

1781 – American Revolution

Lord Cornwallis surrendered 8000 British troops to George Washington. Victory was assured by the arrival of the French fleet, secured by Col. John Laurens, which cut off Cornwallis’ retreat by sea. Laurens commanded the troops which blocked the path for a British retreat, ultimately leading to them having to surrender. Laurens also represented Washington at the surrender negotiations.

When word of Cornwallis’ surrender reached Charlestown, Lord Rawdon was so concerned about an American attack he ordered forces from Wilmington, North Carolina relocated to Charlestown, constructed new fortifications across the Neck and enlisted Negroes as soldiers.