George Washington's Great Gamble: And the Sea Battle That Won the American Revolution

George Washington's Great Gamble: And the Sea Battle That Won the American Revolution

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by James Nelson
     
 

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One shining yet overlooked moment that changed the course of the Revolutionary War

In the opening months of 1781, General George Washington feared his army would fail to survive another campaign season. The spring and summer only served to reinforce his despair, but in late summer the changing circumstances of war presented a once-in-a-war opportunity for a

Overview

One shining yet overlooked moment that changed the course of the Revolutionary War

In the opening months of 1781, General George Washington feared his army would fail to survive another campaign season. The spring and summer only served to reinforce his despair, but in late summer the changing circumstances of war presented a once-in-a-war opportunity for a French armada to hold off the mighty British navy while his own troops with French reinforcements drove Lord Cornwallis's forces to the Chesapeake. The Battle of the Capes would prove the only time the French ever fought the Royal Navy to a draw, and for the British army it was a catastrophe. Cornwallis confidently retreated to Yorktown, expecting to be evacuated by a British fleet that never arrived. In the end he had no choice but to surrender. Although the war sputtered on another two years, its outcome was never in doubt after Yorktown.

General Washington's Great Gamble is the story of the greatest naval engagement of the American Revolution. It is also a study in leadership, good and bad, political machinations and the wild, unpredictable circumstances that led to the extraordinary confluence of military and naval resources at that time and place.

Topics include:

Looking South; Sea Power for the General; Arnold; Copper Bottoms; Head of Elk; The Battle of Cape Henry; An Attempt to Conquer Virginia; Greene and Cornwallis: Looking North; The American Command; The Battle of Guilford Courthouse; Pyrrhic Victory; Reinforcing the Chesapeake; "[T]he enemy have turned so much of their attention to the Southern States..."; The Battle of Blandford; The British War at Sea; Juncture; "I am inclined to think well of York..."; The Promise of a Fleet; The Battle of Green Springs; The March on New York; An Operation to the Southward; The Arrival of De Grasse; The Battle of the Capes;Cornwallis Surrenders

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780071626798
Publisher:
McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
Publication date:
04/19/2010
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
703,905
Product dimensions:
6.46(w) x 9.32(h) x 1.26(d)

Meet the Author

James L. Nelson is the author of 15 works of fiction and nonfiction. His novels include the five books of his "Revolution at Sea" saga and three in his "Brethren of the Coast" series. His novel Glory in the Name won the American Library Association's W.Y. Boyd Literary Award for Best Military Fiction. Reign of Iron: The Story of the First Battling Ironclads, 2003, was his first work of nonfiction, and he has since authored two other histories of naval warfare in the American Revolution: Benedict Arnold's Navy and George Washington's Secret Navy, which earned the Samuel Eliot Morison Award from the Naval Order of the United States. The Morison Award is one of the top honors accorded maritime historians in the U.S., and past winners include David McCullough and Patrick O'Brian.

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George Washington's Great Gamble: And the Sea Battle That Won the American Revolution 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
glauver More than 1 year ago
James L. Nelson has written a fine overview of the Yorktown campaign. He understands that the genesis of Cornwallis' surrender began in the Carolina campaign of 1780-81 and briefly surveys that period of the American Revolution before focusing on Virginia. He resists the temptation to credit or blame any one leader, British or allied, for victory or defeat and points out that many seemingly unrelated events culminated in the British disaster. Primitive communication hampered all sides but probably damaged the English commanders the most. Nelson's coverage of the British and French naval maneuvers that led to the Battle of the Capes is illuminating. Very little space is given to the actual siege, but he explains that, once the command of the sea was won by France, it was a forgone conclusion. The only real criticism I have is about the illustrations, Neither Washington nor Cornwallis is depicted.
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