October 19, 2018
General George Washington paced in his tent as he contemplated his next move. Both the Patriots and the Red Coats had achieved major victories as well as crippling defeats. He was eternally grateful for the French’s commitment of support, yet as a result, General Henry Clinton took the war to the South to gather support from the loyalists there. By 1780, General Charles Cornwallis had obtained multiple triumphs, including the Siege of Charleston. Then, the Continental Army experienced some God Moments.
On May 12, 1780, the Americans suffered their worst defeat of the war. Cornwallis demanded an unconditional surrender, taking much delight in humiliating General Benjamin Lincoln by taking his sword. Soon after, the British ignited a civil war in South Carolina, using loyalists to forcefully subdue the Patriots, who responded with equal violence.
Upon the Marquis de Lafayette's return to America later that year, a young slave who admired Lafayette requested permission to join his unit. Recognizing the talents and abilities of James Armistead, Lafayette sent him to spy in Benedict Arnold's camp under the guise of a runaway slave. Arnold’s deception infuriated Washington, who was once his most ardent supporter. If Arnold’s plans had not been discovered on British officer John André, West Point and the war would have been lost. Washington sent Lafayette and Baron von Steuben to Virginia to find Arnold, now an officer in the British Army, and hang him.
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