On October 17, 1781, with his British forces facing imminent defeat, Lord Charles Cornwallis signaled General George Washington that he was ready to surrender. The following day American, French, and British officers negotiated the terms of the Articles of Capitulation. At 2:00 p.m. on October 19, 1781, the British forces marched between lines of French and American troops to surrender their weapons. General Washington gave his aide-de-camp, Lt. Colonel Tench Tilghman of Maryland, the honor of riding from Yorktown to Philadelphia to inform Congress of the American victory.
After eight years of war, America had finally achieved what many thought impossible: independence from Great Britain.