The Battle of Yorktown was one of the most important military victories in U.S. history. According to History.com, the siege began in late September 1781, and British General Lord Charles Cornwallis would go on to wave the white flag to his enemies across the trenches — American and French troops led by General George Washington — on October 19. Fought in Yorktown, Virginia, the decisive battle marked the last major campaign in the American Revolution, and thus the beginning of the United States of America as a nation.
Not only that, the battle locked in General George Washington’s reputation as an exceptional leader of men, creating the perfect resume for his next job, the first president. The Mount Vernon website notes that the future president’s renown went global, leading to calls for him to move from the military into public service. But Washington didn’t do it alone. His victory over the British at Yorktown was aided by the valiant efforts of another one of America’s legendary Founding Fathers.
Alexander Hamilton was key to the American victory at Yorktown
That’s right, America’s hippest Founding Father gave General Washington a leg up in the Battle of Yorktown, ultimately helping him force the British forces to throw in the towel. And how did he do it? Why, his sick rap battling skills, of course. Okay, not really. Alexander Hamilton wouldn’t embark on his rap career until more than two centuries after his death, but he did have some killer moves that helped the fledgling nation get a foothold on this earth. But he almost didn’t even get the chance to help.
According to Mental Floss, Hamilton had to talk Washington into putting him into the game. In order to extend their trench line, the American and French forces needed to take down a pair of earthen barricades the British had erected known as Redoubts 9 and 10. French Commander Marquis de Lafayette wanted to send his assistant to take the Redoubts, but Hamilton convinced Washington to give him the job, and the general was not disappointed with his decision. Hamilton took 400 men with him to Redoubt 10, hopped over the structure and its defenses of sharpened tree limbs at the top, and took it for the American and French forces in just 10 quick minutes. Hamilton claimed to have lost only nine men in the process. Later, Washington would make him his secretary of the treasury, but Hamilton would end up having a much less impressive performance in his infamous duel with Aaron Burr.
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