| || Notes for David Goins:|
David Goins had volunteered for the Revolution at Halifax County, Virginia, and served under Colonel William Terry.He had several terms of service, which included the march to join General Washington's army at Portsmouth, Virginia during the last few months of the war.
Throughout the campaign seasons of 1779 and 1780, the American army under George Washington languished in and around its camp in the Hudson River highlands.For nearly two years Washington managed his forces in an effort to maintain the appearance that his ragged force of 3,500 was besieging the British officer Clinton's army of 14,500 spit-and -polished veterans on Manhattan Island. All the while, the national attitude toward the war effort and the army could best be described as apathetic.The men had no real uniforms, poor rations, and they had not been paid in months.When they were paid, it was in Continental scrip which was virtually worthless and spawned the phrase "not worth a Continental."In April 1781 Washington wrote to Congress:"We are at the end of our tether."
Then on May 22 Washington learned that Admiral de Grasse planned to bring his French fleet from the Caribbean to American waters in the fall.Notwithstanding the precarious condition of his army, the news of de Grasse's intentions reawakened long-held plans of taking New York away from the British.In June, Washington discussed the prospects of a combined attack on New York with Count Jean-Baptiste de Rochambeau, commander of the French garrison of 4,000 men at Newport.Rochambeau was doubtful about the practicability of attacking New York, but he gave in to Washington and in the first week of July he started his men marching southward from Newport.Washington called up the local militia and by the end of July the allies had assembled an army of over 9,000 men-half American and half French-on the Hudson.
Throughout July and early August, Washington and Rochambeau studied the shores of Manhattan Island looking for a weak spot in the British defenses.Finally and reluctantly, Washington agreed that there was n weak spot.Rochambeau, meanwhile, had written to de Grasse suggesting the Chesapeake as a possible area for a combined operation and on August 14, Washington received a letter from de Grasse in which the French admiral announced that he was sailing for the Chesapeake Bay, that he would arrive sometime that month, and that he could stay only until mid-October.So committed was Washington to the idea of an attack on New York that he was initially disappointed by the news, but he soon accepted the situation and adjusted his plans accordingly.He would leave Major General William Heath with 2,500 men on the Hudson to watch Clinton, and take the rest of the army (2,000 Americans and 4000 French) overland to join Lafayette on the Yorktown peninsula.There was a substantial risk involved.If Clinton discovered the plan, he could sneak out of the city and overwhelm Heath or even catch the allied army on the march and destroy it.David Goins was among those soldiersmaking the march.
David Goins:"We began our march south on August 21 with Clinton still completely in the dark. He was so certain that New York was the object of our army maneuvers, that he continued to insist that the southward movement was a was just to throw them off the track, until September 2, when he wrote to Cornwallis that it did indeed appear the American army was headed south.On that day, we were paradin' through Philadelphia."
Stealing a march on Clinton was important, but the campaign would all be for nothing without de Grasse and the French fleet.De Grasse had left Captain Francois with 28 ships of the line on August 5.Admiral Samuel Hood, commanding the British Caribbean squadron at Antigua, had only 14 ships of the line but he assumed that only a part of the French fleet was en route to America and so he set out in pursuit.But where were the French headed?There was only two possibilities: the Chesapeake or New York.Hood sped to the Chesapeake first, arriving on August 25th.He looked into the Bay but saw no sign of de Grasse and so he sailed on to New York..In fact,de Grasse had stopped at Havana on his way to the Chesapeake and was therefore five full days behind.On August 30th, the French fleet dropped anchor unmolested in the Chesapeake Bay.
When Washington learned of de Grasse's arrival in the Chesapeake he was transformed.As Rochambeau was arriving at Chester, just south of Philadelphia, he was perplexed to see the normally calm and dignified General Washington dancing around on the dock and waving his hat.His confusion turned to amazement when he stepped ashore and Washington grabbed him in a bear hug and whirled him around the pier.He had good cause for joy.De Grasse had brought 2,500 French soldiers with him, and these forces, joined with Lafayette's army, were enough to hold Cornwallis in place until the main allied army arrived.Cornwallis was trapped!
After a quick stop to Mount Vernon, his first since the war began, Washington hurried on to Williamsburg for a decisive confrontation with Cornwallis.
Washington and Rochambeau arrived in Lafayette's camp at Williamsburg on September 14th.The allied army was still strung out behind them for hundreds of miles and the last of the soldiers would not arrive for another ten days.But the addition of the troops brought by de Grasse gave Lafayette an army of 8,500-larger than the British army at Yorktown-and Washington was confident that Lafayette's men could hold Cornwallis on the peninsula until the rest of the army arrived.The only question in his mind involved de Grasse.Washington knew that an allied siege of Yorktown could only be brought to a successful conclusion if the French fleet remained in the Chesapeake.With that concern uppermost in his mind, Washington boarded a small cutter on the James River on September 17, and sailed out into Hampton Roads to visit de Grasse in his flagship, the giant three-deck Ville de Paris.The meeting was cordial (de Grasse kissed Washington on both cheeks and called him "my dear little General"even though Washington was nearly a foot taller) and the French admiral agreed to keep his fleet in the Chesapeake at least until the end of the month.Satisfied, Washington climbed back into the cutter for the return to Williamsburg, though frustrating offshore winds kept him literally at sea until September 22.
With de Grasse's agreement to remain in the Bay and the arrival of the last of the soldiers from New York, the allied grand army marched out of Williamsburg for Yorktown at 5 A.M. on September 28.The Americans established their camp south and east of the city, and the Fench set up to the west.In addition Washington sent a substantial force across the York River to watch the 700 men that Cornwallis had posted at Gloucester Point.
Cornwallis had recently received a letter from Clinton promising to send a relief force of 5,000 men, and rather than challenge the advancing allied army, he instead gave up all his outer works and retreated within his fortifications around the city.This decision was criticized then and since on the grounds that Cornwallis gave up whatwould otherwise have taken the allies weeks to capture by regular siege methods.
Over the next two weeks the allies tightened the noose around Yorktown.
David Goins:" Each morning we would march into the woods to chop saplings and bind them into bundles to be used in making earthworks.On the night of October 6 we began the construction of the first parallel of formal siege operations.Fifteen hundred men wielded picks and shovels and by dawn a trench 2,000 yards long faced the British southwest salient.Two days later the allied heavy guns opened fire on the British works and kept up the bombardment all night.The physical damage to Yorktown was extensive, but the steady loss of life and the constant psychological pressure was worse."
On October 10 after an all-night bombardment, Cornwallis wrote to Clinton:"nothing but a direct move to the York River which includes a successful naval action can save us."Ominously he added:"we cannot hope to make a very long resistance."Smallpox had broken out in the city.
On the night of October 11, Washington's men began work on a second parallel, but two British redoubts had to be taken before the line could be extended to the river.On the night of October 14, therefore, the allies assaulted these redoubts.The French under General Count William Deux-Ponts assaulted Redoubt #9 and the Americans, commanded by Colonel Alexander Hamilton, stormed #10.The well-planned attacks achieved complete success and that same night the American sappers began extending the second parallel to include the new strong points.The allies were now only 250 yards from the British lines.The next morning Cornwallis wrote Clinton: "My situation now becomes very critical."
Cornwallis's younger officers chafed at their commander's inactivity, urged him to mount a counterattack or attempt a breakout.He complied half-heartedly.Just before dawn on October 16, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Abercrombie led a group of 350 men against the allied lines.They took some prisoners and took out six guns, but such efforts could only delay the inevitable unless the British army broke out of its encirclement.That night, therefore, Cornwallis sent his wounded and 1,000 guards and light infantry across the river to Gloucester Point, planning to break out to the north and march overland to New York.But when the boats attempted to return for a second trip, a furious storm scattered them all over the river.Cornwallis gave it up.Out of artillery shells, his works all but destroyed, and his spirit broken, he decided to negotiate.
David Goins:"At nine o'clock in the morning, on October 17, when the sun was already high over the Yorktown bluffs, a red-coated drummer boy appeared atop the British parapet and began to beat the long roll.Gradually the allied guns fell silent and a British lieutenant appeared on the rampart holding a white handkerchief high over his head.Silently the men of both armies watched his march across the shell-torn no man's land.There wasn't a man in either army that didn't know what it meant."
Negotiations between the two armies at Yorktown took place in the Moore House a half mile behind the American lines.Cornwallis attempted to obtain the kind terms that Burgoyne had received from Gates at Saratoga: the British soldiers would return to England giving their parole not to fight again in the war unless exchanged.But Washington would not hear of it.The army was to be surrendered and taken to camps of confinement.Moreover, the American negotiators insisted on the same terms of surrender that Cornwallis had demanded of Lincoln at Charleston:the British would march out of their fortifications around Yorktown with their flags furled and playing one of their own tunes.One of the conventions of eighteenth century warfare was that the surrendering army played one of the enemy's tunes as a final gesture of defiance.But Cornwallis had disallowed this gesture at Charlestown, and Colonel John Laurens, who had been with Lincoln at Charlestown, remembered.When the British objected to the harshness of the requirement, Laurens proclaimed "This remains an article, or I cease to be a commissioner."
In fact, a specific reference to the terms at "Charles Town" was written into the surrender document.Cornwallis would have to pay the final humiliation.
"At eleven o'clock in the morning of October 19, Washington, Rochambeau, and Admiral de Barras (representing de Grasse) met at Redoubt #10. A messenger delivered the signed surrender document.The allied commanders signed, and it was done. An hour later the French and American armies lined up facing each other in parallel lines on the surrender field.We waited more than two hours for the British, but the mood was light rather than tense, and bands of both armies entertained one another with popular songs.Finally at about 2 P.M. the British appeared. An impeccably dressed officer rode at the head of the long red column as it wound its way out of the city and passed between the lines of French and Americans.The music they marched to was a popular London song of the season, a completely unmilitary tune whose name I believe, was "The World Turned Upside Down."I think they selected that song because the British didn'twant to play one of their own military marches at this humiliation, and they probably thought it's title was completely appropriate.The British soldiers were not at their best.They marched out of step and allowed their eyes to wander to the ranks of their enemies.They were impressed by the French, but more astonished by the ragged and unmilitary-looking Americans."
"The man who led them was not Cornwallis, but Brigadier General Charles O'Hara.O'Hara sat erect in his saddle and rode directly to Count Rochambeau at the head of the French troops.Clearly it was his intent to offer surrender to the Frenchman.But Rochambeau shook his head."We are subordinate to the Americans,"he told O'Hara in French,and gestured to General Washington astride his gray sorrel.Dutifully O'Hara rode to face Washington.He offered an apology for the absence of Cornwallis who, O'Hara explained, was sick.(Sick at heart, thought many of us within hearing.)If he was disappointed, Washington didn't show it.He directed O'Hara to receive his instructions from General Lincoln, his own second in command.It was a sweet moment for Lincoln who had been on the other side of a similar ceremony only a year earlier."
"One by one the once proud but now sullen British regiments passed through the gauntlet into an enclosed space, grounded arms, and then marched back out.A few companies hurled their weapons with fury onto the growing pile of arms, but a sharp word from Lincoln forced them to lay down their arms more gently.The demeanor of the British officers was more stoic."
The surrender of Yorktown did not end the war.King George saw it as merely another setback, and was ready to continue.But news of the disaster shook the North ministry to its foundations.More politically astute than his sovereign, Lord North recognized at once the impact that Yorktown would have on the Commons."Oh God!"he cried when he heard the news."It is all over!"
His ministry staggered on for another five months until in March of 1782 he was forced to resign, his place taken by Lord Rockingham.The King was despondent."I do not abandon you," he told North, "It is you who abandon me."But North had no choice;there was simply no support for the continuation of the war in the House of Commons.Under Rockingham, negotiations for a comprehensive peace were undertaken at once though a final document was not signed in Paris until September 3, 1783.
The was sputtered on while the negotiators talked.In November , British and American representatives initialed a draft agreement, the first article of which read:"His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States. . .to be free, sovereign, and independent."The following January preliminary articles were accepted by all the parties and military operations ceased.Finally in September, after a year and a half of negotiations, the Peace of Paris was signed and the war ended.
There were many heros in the war, and not a few villains.But the American victory, so improbable in 1776, was more thananything else the personal achievement of General George Washington.Whatever may be said of Saratoga as the turning point, or the decisive importance of French assistance, it was the determination, patience, and character of George Washington that made final victory possible.he held the army together when the cause as darkest;he declined dictatorship when it could have beenhis for the asking; he treated Congress wit respect even when its actions an pronouncements merited only scorn.A true hero of the Revolution, Washington rode home to Mount Vernon n the fall of 1783 happy to lay down his burden.
The Goins brothers, David, Laboin, and James, went back to their Virginia homes,moving to Grainger County and later to Hamilton County.Records show that David arrived in Hamilton County on the last day of February 1833 and drew a Revolutionary pension of $32. per year.Laboin met and married Ella Duncan and they had six children, Tilmon, Preston, Harbard, Carter, Marilla, and Shadrack.James met and married Ella Duncan's sister Rhonda Duncan and they had five children; Cassandra, Nathan, Thomas, Martin, and Jackson.
As the Goins families grew, they migrated to Tennessee, and Kentucky.As was common in the early days of this country, often families would intermarry with cousins, or more than one family member would marry into another family, as was the case of the Goins and the Duncans.Later in Tennessee, many of the Goins family would marry into the Fields family who were Cherokee Indians.The two families continued to mix and intermarry and live their lives as farmers, and merchants in Tennessee, but all that was about to change... The American Indians living in Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and Tennessee were about to become involved in something that would change their lives forever....