A Poem, Spoken Extempore, by a Young Lady, on hearing the Guns firing and Bells chiming on account of...the Surrender of York Town
As they had been in the pre-war years, broadsides continued to be a way to spread and provide commentary on the news. This broadside features two poems about the surrender of Yorktown. The first is “A Poem Spoken Extempore, by a Young Lady, on hearing the Guns firing and Bells chiming on account of the great and Glorious Acquisition of their Excellencies Gen. Washington and the C. de Grasse, by the Surrender of York-Town, in which were Ld. Cornwallis and Army, consisting of Nine Thousand Troops, a Forty Gun Ship, a Frigate, an armed Vessel and One Hundred Sail of Transports.” The purported extemporaneous nature of the poem speaks to the unbridled joy the victory inspired, while its alleged authorship by a “young lady” implies the breadth of patriotism in the colonies and provides a useful way for the poem to laud General Washington (1732-99) as an unparalleled hero. The magnitude of the victory is also emphasized in the introduction of the poem by the inclusion of the specific numbers of surrendered troops and ships. The second poem, “His Lordship Humbled: or, Cornwalis’s Lamentation,” is a poem from the point of view of the defeated Lord Cornwallis (1738-1805), listing his failures and those of other British leaders while praising Washington’s prowess.