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march to the south or north, as the circumstances of the next campaign might require. On the 27th the troops of St. Simon began to embark, in order to return to the West Indies, and early in November Count de Grasse sailed for that quarter.
Part of the prisoners were sent to Winchester in Virginia and Fredericktown, Maryland, the remainder to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Lord Cornwallis and the principal officers were paroled and sailed for New York. During their stay at Yorktown, after the surrender, they received the most delicate attentions from the conquerors. Dr. Thacher, in his “Military Journal,” notices particularly some of these attentions: “Lord Cornwallis and his officers,” he says, “ since their capitulation, have received all the civilities and hospitality which is in the power of their conquerors to bestow. General Washington, Count Rochambeau, and other general officers have frequently invited them to entertainments, and they have expressed their grateful acknowledgments in return. They cannot avoid feeling the striking contrast between the treatment which they now experience and that which they have bestowed on our prisoners who have unfortunately fallen into their hands. It is a dictate of humanity and benevolence, after sheathing the sword, to relieve and meliorate the condition of the vanquished prisoner.
“On one occasion, while in the presence of General Washington, Lord Cornwallis was standing with his head uncovered. His Excellency said to him, politely, My lord, you had better be covered from the cold.' His lordship, applying his hand to his head, replied, 'It matters not, sir, what becomes of this head now.'”
The reader will not have failed to notice that the capture of Cornwallis was effected solely by the able and judicious strategy of Washington. It was he that collected from
different parts of the country the forces that were necessary to inclose that commander and his hitherto victorious army as it were in a net, from which there was no possibility of escape. It was he who, by personal influence and exertion, brought de Grasse to renounce his expected triumphs at sea and zealously assist in the siege by preventing Cornwallis from receiving any aid from British naval forces. It was he who detained de Grasse at a critical moment of the siege, when he was anxious to go off with the chief part of his force and engage the British at sea. In short, it was he who provided all, oversaw all, directed all, and having, by prudence and forethought, as well as by 'activity and perseverance, brought all the elements of conquest together, combined them into one mighty effort with glorious success. It was the second siege on a grand scale which had been brought to a brilliant and fortunate conclusion by the wisdom and prudence as well as the courage and perseverance of Washington. In the first he expelled the enemy and recovered Boston uninjured, freeing the soil for a time from the presence of the enemy. In the second, he captured the most renowned and successful British army in America and dictated his own terms of surrender to a commander who, from his marquee, had recently given law to three States of the Union.
A FTER the surrender of Cornwallis, the combined
forces were distributed in different parts of the
country, in the manner we have described at the close of the last chapter. Having personally superintended the distribution of the ordnance and stores, and the departure of the prisoners as well as the embarkation of the troops, who were to go northward under General Lincoln, Washington left Yorktown on the 5th of November (1781) for Eltham, the seat of his friend, Colonel Basset. He arrived there the same day, but he came to a house of mourning. His stepson, John Parke Custis, was just expiring when he reached the house. Washington was just in time to be present, with Mrs. Washington and Mrs. Custis, her daughter-in-law, at the last painful moment of the young man's departure to the world of spirits. Mr. Custis had been an object of peculiar affection and care to Washington, who had superintended his education and introduction to public life. He had entered King's college in New York, in 1773, but soon after left that institution and married the daughter of Mr. Benedict Calvert, February 3, 1774. He had passed the winter of 1775 at headquarters in Cambridge with his wife and Mrs. Washington. He had subsequently been elected a member of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, in which office he acquitted himself with honor, and he was now cut off on the very