228 Years Ago: Cornwallis Surrenders, Washington and Congress Worship

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Oct 19, 2009 1 Comment ›› Ben DuPré

228 Years Ago: Cornwallis Surrenders, Washington and Congress Worship



Eleven score and 8 years ago this day, on October 19, 1781, British Gen. Lord Cornwallis officially surrendered to Gen. George Washington at Yorktown, VA, effectively ending the War for Independence. Rather than merely pat themselves on the back, the Americans quickly turned to God in thanks.

The day after the surrender, Gen. Washington ordered a divine service of thanksgiving (http://books NULL.google NULL.com/books?id=cZGAAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA33#v=onepage&q=&f=false) and recommended his troops “attend with that seriousness of deportment and gratitude of heart which the recognition of such reiterated and astonishing interpositions of Providence demand of us.”

In Philadelphia, Congress reacted to the news by going as a body to church to “return thanks to Almighty God (http://memory NULL.loc NULL.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/hlaw: null@null field%28DOCID+ null@null lit%28jc02173%29%29:)” and then appointed December 13, 1781, as a day of National Thanksgiving and prayer (http://memory NULL.loc NULL.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/hlaw: null@null field%28DOCID+ null@null lit%28jc02175%29%29:), noting that “it hath pleased Almighty God, the supreme Disposer of all Events, father of mercies, remarkably to assist and support the United States of America in their important struggle for liberty.” This congressional resolution was hardly a pro forma rhetorical flourish, as you can see in the specifics of the entire concluding paragraph:

It is therefore recommended to the several states to set apart the 13th day of December next, to be religiously observed as a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer; that all the people may assemble on that day, with grateful hearts, to celebrate the praises of our gracious Benefactor; to confess our manifold sins; to offer up our most fervent supplications to the God of all grace, that it may please Him to pardon our offences, and incline our hearts for the future to keep all his laws; to comfort and relieve all our brethren who are in distress or captivity; to prosper our husbandmen, and give success to all engaged in lawful commerce; to impart wisdom and integrity to our counsellors, judgment and fortitude to our officers and soldiers; to protect and prosper our illustrious ally, and favor our united exertions for the speedy establishment of a safe, honorable and lasting peace; to bless all seminaries of learning; and cause the knowledge of God to cover the earth, as the waters cover the seas.

Gen. Washington and the Congress of the United States in 1781 had just won an astounding upset over the greatest empire on the earth, and they knew that they had God and God alone to thank and worship for it. Would that America and her leaders would once again look to the God of her fathers with such fervor and sincerity in the continuing struggle for liberty!

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  1. James E. Reeves says:

    I hope this poem brings clarity about the One and Only true God in the person of Jesus Christ today, as 220 years past. Proven in the term A.D. (anno Domini) as all documents of that period was so dated.
    Scripture’s Code

    The “Truth” and “Life” explained in text can only be one “Way”

    Preserved in freedoms from a child born on Christmas Day.

    The ethics form a basic truth and prove the prophet’s book,

    The messiah Jesus represents to us deserves a careful look.

    Jews have studied hard to gain a status of wealth and clout,

    But their heart will not be free until Jesus is devout.

    A look at all the evidence of time’ and numbers too.

    That shows Christ in control today,’ as it comes into view.

    The Spirit Jesus sent to Jews, on the day of Pentecost,

    Were to his disciples first in the upper room then to all the lost.

    Jesus said it’s finished and salvation’s hope was won!

    From a man and wife in the garden to God’s only Son.

    The purpose of a special race, called Jews is now complete,

    The prophecy expands each day, His Gospel message sweet.

    James E. Reeves


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