Alexander Hamilton and the Battle of Yorktown
~ A Capsule Book Review by Allen Kopp ~
Alexander Hamilton was born, impoverished and out of wedlock, on the island of St. Croix in the West Indies in 1755. Through his ambition, intelligence and industry, he immigrated to the United States and, still in his twenties, became a pivotal figure in the American struggle for independence from Great Britain.
Though he wasn’t a native-born American, there wasn’t anybody more eager to see this young country gain its independence than Alexander Hamilton. He rose through the ranks in George Washington’s army in an advisory capacity, eventually serving as Chief of Staff. Washington recognized his intelligence and his competence and always looked to him for strategic advice.
In the decisive Battle of Yorktown, Hamilton assumed more of a military role rather than an administrative one. He bravely led the surprise advance on General Cornwallis’ British army. American forces were able to gain the upper hand, thanks in part to the element of surprise, and routed the British army. It was the decisive battle of the war and meant that the United States would indeed gain its independence from the foreign invader.
Alexander Hamilton was influenced by Age of Enlightenment reasoning. While Washington and Jefferson saw slavery as a necessity to maintain a vibrant agrarian economy, Hamilton was an abolitionist. He believed that black soldiers who fought for the American cause should be given their freedom.
Alexander Hamilton and the Battle of Yorktown by Phillip Thomas Tucker is a minutely detailed account of the important and decisive Battle of Yorktown, which occurred in October 1781. Going into that battle, British forces under Lord Cornwallis had the upper hand in the Revolutionary War. Many people believed that, if Cornwallis could secure the country in the south, victory was easily within his grasp.
The British had built an impressive fort on the York River, made up of earthen fortifications called redoubts. The redoubts had wooden spikes sticking out of them, making them appear formidable and impenetrable. Unknown to the British inside the fortress, American soldiers were gathering in the dark to strike. It was an ingenious plan that caught the British off-guard and worked to perfection. Knowing no fear, Alexander Hamilton led one of the American regiments in the battle and emerged as one of the true heroes of the Revolutionary War. It was the moment of military success that Hamilton had longed for.
Copyright © 2023 by Allen Kopp