On October 19, 1781, British General Charles, Lord Conwallis surrendered his army of more than 8,000 men to George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia. Cornwallis’s action brought an end to a siege which had lasted nearly two weeks. It was also the end of major combat in the American Revolution.
Although soldiers from Maryland fought at nearly all major battles of the war, often playing pivotal roles in combat, none took part in the Battle of Yorktown. The Third and Fourth Maryland Regiments were in the Yorktown area, but apparently took no part in the fighting. The greatest contribution to the victory at Yorktown that the Marylanders made was in keeping a contingent of British reinforcements bottled up in South Carolina, unable to reach Cornwallis. It was probably just as well, since the Maryland Line had been reduced to a small fragment of its original strength. 
The siege at Yorktown had begun on October 6, and was carried out by a combined force of American and French troops. A week later, on October 14, they launched a major assault on the British. Charles Carroll of Carrollton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and political leader of Revolutionary Maryland, noted on October 15 that “The cannonading at York[town] can be heared distinctly in Charles County.” The British sought to escape by water on October 16, but weather prevented them, and they surrendered the next day. Maryland native Tench Tlighman, Washington’s Aide-de-Camp, was dispatched to Congress with the news of Cornwallis’s surrender. 
The war was not yet over, and Maryland’s soldiers continued to serve, countering the British threat in South Carolina. Most soldiers were not discharged until the summer of 1783. That winter, George Washington resigned his commission as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army in the Maryland State House. In 1784, Charles Willson Peale installed his famous portrait of Washington, Tilghman, and the Marquis de Lafayette, a French general, in the State House. The portrait shows the three men at Yorktown, and remains on display at the State House in Annapolis.
1. John Dwight Kilbourne, A Short History of the Maryland Line in the Continental Army (Baltimore: The Society of the Cincinnati of Maryland, 1992), 56-57; See also Yorktown Battlefield, History of the Siege of Yorktown and Unit and Casualty Lists, National Park Service.
2. Charles Carroll of Carrollton to Charles Carroll of Annapolis, 15 October 1781, in Ronald Hoffman, et al., eds., Dear Papa, Dear Charley, vol. III (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2001), 1481.