Saturday in Whitewater will see afternoon showers with a high of sixty. Sunrise is 7:13 AM and sunset 6:05 PM, for 10h 51m 54s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 70.8% of its visible disk illuminated.
On this day in 1781, American Continental Army troops under General Washington and French forces led by the Comte de Rochambeau defeat British peer and Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis at the Battle of Yorktown. Historian Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy (The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire) recounts British leaders receiving news of their defeat at Yorktown:
Throughout much of November 1781, there was still no certain news in London of the outcome of the Battle of Yorktown. As accounts of the strength of the enemy positions arrived, the mood of the government grew more anxious each day. George III and Lord George Germain, the cabinet minister most responsible for the conduct of the war, had been so confident of victory that the draft of the King’s speech for the state opening of Parliament predicted British success in America. Germain, in particular, was aware that the outcome of the battle would determine the fate of the war and probably the future of the government of Lord North.
Between one and two o’clock in the afternoon [on 11.25.1781], the three cabinet ministers arrived at the official residence of the Prime Minister in Downing Street. Although he had long despaired of the war and had many times attempted to resign, Lord North reacted to the news in a state of shock. Germain described how the Prime Minister responded, as if he had been shot, “As he would have taken a ball in his breast.” Pacing up and down his rooms for several minutes, North suddenly opened his arms exclaiming wildly, “O God! It is all over!” North repeated the words many times in a state of consternation and distress. After North had calmed down, the ministers discussed whether to postpone the state opening of Parliament, which was due to occur in less than forty-eight hours. With many members having already arrived in the capital and others on their way, they decided against a change. They then spent several hours rewriting the King’s speech, which was to be delivered from the throne in the House of Lords. The speech had originally predicted victory but was altered to make a token reference to the events at Yorktown. Germain then sent word of the news of the “melancholy termination of Lord Cornwallis’s expedition” to his Majesty King George III, who was at Kew Palace on the outskirts of London.
Recommended for reading in full:
When Rudy Giuliani went to the funeral of George H.W. Bush, he brought with him a date. A most unusual date…. (Video loads when clicked.)
(Aside: Rachel Maddow refers to George H.W. Bush as ‘Poppy’ in the video. It’s a respectful reference – she’s using a term of endearment that the Bush family, itself, used often to describe their late father and grandfather.)