Washington, George. 1732-1799.
George Washington was appointed Commander-in-chief of the Continental forces on June 17, 1775. His dedication and force of personality kept the Continental Army together during the long years of arduous service.
On August 20, 1781, he began moving American and French forces south from New York to join Lafayette's American troops and engage Cornwallis at Yorktown. As supreme commander, he was responsible for coordinating the American and French wings of the army, as well as strategy and logistics.
After the victory at Yorktown, Washington took part of the Continental troops and returned to New York. Washington and the Continental Army then kept a watch over British forces in New York City as the diplomats negotiated an end to the war. On December 23, 1783, the day the last British troops left New York, Washington returned his commission to Congress and (temporarily) retired from public life.