The Yorktown siege was primarily an artillery battle. The allies bombarded the British with cannon, like the one on the right, mortars, and howitzers. During the eight-day siege, they fired an average of 1,700 cannon balls and bombs per day: over one a minute. Cornwallis had anticipated the possibility of a siege, but he was surprised by the ferocity of the Allied attack he had to endure.
Engineering the Siege
Implementing the Yorktown siege under British fire required knowledge and experience the American army did not have. The Comte de Rochambeau’s French engineers directed the organization and labor of the thousands of men the operation involved. The diagram to the right summarizes its complexity.