The World Turned Upside Down
The war goes on. The British have more fighting men, more guns, and more experience. But the Americans have a big advantage: they believe in their cause . In England the war is not popular. In 1778, the British attack in the southern states. They are sure the South is full of Loyalists who will rise up and help them. At Charleston, South Carolina , a young American soldier described the British attack. "It appeared as if the stars were tumbling down, cannon balls whizzing and shells hissing continually amongst us; ammunition chests blowing up, great guns bursting and wounded men groaning."
England thought it had won the South, but the Americans wouldn't let them have it. They formed guerrilla bands and fought as the Indians didwith raiding parties. "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again," wrote quartermaster-general Nathanael Greene .
Finally, in 1781, the most important battle of all came, at the river port of Yorktown , near the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia. The French had joined the war on America's side; now their ships drove off the British fleet in Chesapeake Bay. The French and American armies moved into Yorktown, quietly dug trenches around the British forces at night, and in the morning the British were outnumbered and outflanked. On October 17, 1781, the English general, Lord Cornwallis, surrendered . Two days later, American soldiers stood proudly in a long line; facing them was a line of happy French soldiers. The British army marched between them. The defeated men tried to keep their heads high, but many cried when they laid down their arms. The band played an old English tune, "The World Turned Upside Down." And upside down it was. David had licked Goliath. A superpower had been defeated by an upstart colony. A new nation was being formed , a nation that would be founded on ideas of freedom and equality. A nation ruled by laws, not kings .