For Kids: The Colonists had chased General Cornwallis out of North Carolina. Cornwallis was looking for a place where the British Navy could come and pick him up. He had also received orders to build forts in the Virginia Tidewater area. He chose as his building site the village of Yorktown.
While Cornwallis was moving into Virginia, the Colonial Army under General Nathanael Greene recaptured all of North Carolina. Cornwallis could not go South. Another Colonial Army under the command of General Lafayette was moving south from Pennsylvania and Maryland. Cornwallis could not go north or west. The only way out for Cornwallis was out to sea. General Cornwallis was confident that the British Navy would be able to pick him up so he moved his army to the forts he had built at Yorktown.
Washington saw the opportunity. He quickly gathered his army and with the addition of French soldiers under the French General Rochambeau they rushed down to Virginia. After Saratoga, the Colonies and France had made an alliance. Now the alliance proved its value to the colonists. The French fleet had been in the Caribbean Sea. Under Comte de Grasse, they sailed up to help Washington. The French ships defeated the British fleet forcing them to return to New York. Cornwallis was trapped and surrounded.
Yorktown was a huge victory for the Continental army, and it was the last major battle of the American Revolution.
The war would continue for another two years, but there was very little fighting as the two sides negotiated a peace treaty. On Sept 3, 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed, officially ending the war.