The Surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, October 19, 1781 Artist: John Trumbull (American, 1756–1843)

1787–ca. 1828

American Paintings and Sculpture

On view, 2nd floor, American Art before 1900

This scene marks the end of the Revolutionary War. The defeated British army marches between the Americans on the right, led by General George Washington, and the French on the left, led by General Jean-Baptiste Rochambeau. At the center, on horseback, Major General Benjamin Lincoln, Washington’s second-in-command, accepts the official surrender from General Lord Cornwallis’s deputy, General Charles O’Hara. According to historical accounts, Cornwallis had feigned illness on the occasion and passed the responsibility of surrender to O’Hara. Washington, recognizing the snub, directed O’Hara to Major General Lincoln, who accepted O’Hara’s sword and handed it back to him. Trumbull painted the portraits of the French officers directly onto the canvas in Thomas Jefferson’s house in Paris and regarded them as the "best of my small portraits."


Oil on canvas


21 × 30 5/8 × 3/4 in. (53.3 × 77.8 × 1.9 cm)

Credit Line

Trumbull Collection

Accession Number



18th–19th century


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Trumbull Collection, to 1832; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.
  • Helen A. Cooper et al., Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2008), 26, 67, 80, 93, 105, no. 37, ill
  • Helen A. Cooper et al., John Trumbull: The Hand and Spirit of a Painter (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1982), 34, 83, detail of Cat. 27, pl 27, fig. 16
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

didactic art, histories (visual works), human figures (visual works), military history, warfare

Technical metadata and APIs


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