Washington and Lafayette at the Battle of Yorktown
Original Author: Reuben Law Reed
Created: 1860–1880
Medium: Oil and gold paint on cotton twill canvas

Washington and Lafayette at the Battle of Yorktown

Bombs burst during the fighting at the Battle of Yorktown on October 19, 1781, as commander in chief George Washington and his French general Gilbert du Motier, the marquis de Lafayette, survey the scene. That battle ended with the surrender of a British army under General Charles Cornwallis, first marquis Cornwallis, and proved to be the last major engagement in the Revolutionary War.

This colorful painting was created by the Massachusetts folk artist Reuben Law Reed in the mid-nineteenth century. Family members claim that the image "was painted from a description of the Battle of Yorktown given by an eyewitness, who it is said congratulated him later on the likeness." Reed boasted ancestors who had fought at the battles of Lexington and Bunker Hill, and he maintained a lifelong interest in the war. A granite worker as a young man, he became a housepainter later in life.