I began my journey in August under the leadership of the great General Washington after he received news that the French would join us in September. Although I was extraordinarily skeptical at first, I must admit that our former enemies have been vital to this war for independence. However, my dislike for them still holds somewhat true, being as they were always criticizing the not-as-well equipped Americans. It seems to me that they were not here to fight for our independence, but that they were here to simply see the British lose part of their empire.
I’m grateful for their help, but it irks me knowing that they were not here for the right reasons. Our regiment was stationed next to French General de Rochambeau in Rhode Island. Now I don’t know about you, but I find it quite ironic that I had to be positioned right next to the French. We then marched south in hopes that we would crush the British at Yorktown. During this march, I endured many hardships and had plenty of time to think about myself, the world, and this war. I didn’t have many friends in the army.
I manly kept to myself. The French had an easier march than us, being as there always seemed to be sicker and injured people on the American side. We had such a small amount of supplies and almost no one had shoes. Morale was quite low and we had marched a very painful march. However, every night we had parties that sometimes led into the day. On September 1, 1781 we arrived in Philadelphia. I suppose British General Cornwallis was a little busy with the constant French attacks and for a second in this battle, he forgot about us.
From what I had heard the French had blocked Cornwallis’s supplies and were preparing to attack. Once we heard the news we immediately celebrated (even though we had not even begun the battle). However, the French did not seem to be as jubilant as the Americans. It was then that I realized that all the French really wanted to do was win the war and go home, but that they did not think this was possible with such an inexperienced army fighting alongside them.
Finally, we arrived at Yorktown on September 28. After we arrived, General Washington wasted no time in commanding us to build trenches. Our trenches took a lot of time to build but in the end it was well worth it. Mother, if you hadn’t already heard this, we won the battle! It was an easy defeat thanks to the French. We launched our attacks on October 9 and it ended on October 19. It was a ten day war that could have been merely two or three days long if it hadn’t been for Cornwallis’s tubborn hold. He seemed to be expecting to have reinforcements from General Clinton but, as you guessed they never came. In this battle I earned a newfound respect for the French. They do not always act according to our morals, but they do keep their word. They were a huge part of the Battle of Yorktown and for this, I will forever be grateful. My devotion to the American army has brought on a new sense of pride from within. I have a feeling that this nation will be great someday. Love, James