Plate 15. Moore House, Yorktown, where Cornwallis signed the Capitulation

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Text and photograph from Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the War, Vol. II. Negative by Wood & Gibson, text and positive by Alexander Gardner.
In October, 1781, the commissioners appointed to arrange the terms of capitulation, between General Washington and Lord Cornwallis, met at this house. It is, however, generally believed that the draft there prepared, was signed in the trenches of Yorktown, over a mile away. When the Army of the Potomac invested Yorktown, the Moore House was in excellent preservation. It was far from a safe habitation, the rebel shells striking it several times; one, in particular, entered through the wall, and exploding inside, did considerable damage. Some of McClellan's aids, who had been reconnoitering from the windows, had but a few seconds before left the house. Much frequented was it by the sharpshooters, the orchard beyond offering fair opportunities to advance to the front unobserved. Stealing amongst the trees, purple with the bloom of the peach, the riflemen would proceed, at the first glimpse of dawn, while yet the mist hung in the air, to take a position, they would not dare to leave till night extended her friendly cover. With their heavy, telescope-sighted, rifles, they made deadly work among the gunners upon the fortifications, the sturdy company of Massachusetts riflemen, called the Andrews Sharpshooters, proving themselves much superior to the squirrel-shooters of Mississippi, who were driven to the exercise of great caution in their endeavors to retaliate upon the working parties.
Currently not on view
date made
Gardner, Alexander
place made
United States: Virginia, Yorktown
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 7 in x 9 in; 17.78 cm x 22.86 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
related event
Civil War
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Gardner's Sketchbook
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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