February 25, 1781 – At Haw River, North Carolina, Loyalists were tricked into believing that they were being reviewed by Banastre Tarleton when they actually had encountered Lieutenant Colonel Light Horse Harry Lee whose Continental Legion wore green jackets as did Tarleton’s men. Lee ordered a saber attack and butchered the Loyalists. This tended to intimidate the Loyalists in that area.
March 6, 1781 – At Wiboo Swamp, South Carolina, Francis Marion began a retreating action which thwarted the British column led by Colonel Watson.
March, 1781 – Colonel Hugh Horry’s troops held the Mount Hope Swamp, South Carolina while Francis Marion withdrew.
March, 1781 – McCottrey’s Rifles, a unit of Marion’s Brigade, inflicted heavy casualties on Samuel Tynes with deadly accurate fire from long rifles at Lower Bridge of the Black River, South Carolina.
March, 1781 – While Francis Marion was fighting Samuel Tynes, another British unit attacked his camp at Snows Island, South Carolina. Defenders destroyed all the supplies before they fled the position.
March 15, 1781 – In the Battle of Guilford Court House, North Carolina, Major General Nathanael Greene opposed Lord Cornwallis. Greene retreated in good order leaving the field to Cornwallis. Although the British technically won that battle, Charles Cornwallis had lost 28% of his army in the encounter.
March 28, 1781 – Marion’s Brigade, still pursued by Samuel Tynes, now forced Tynes to retreat. Francis Marion followed and destroyed the rearguard as they attempted to cross the river at Sampit Bridge, South Carolina.
April 15-23, 1781 – Light Horse Harry Lee and his Legion joined Francis Marion in a siege of Fort Watson, South Carolina, which was built on an Indian mound. A tall log tower was erected with a platform on top shielding riflemen who overlooked the fort. British surrendered.
April 25, 1781 – At Hobkirk Hill, South Carolina, Nathanael Greene and the Continental Army engaged the British forces under Lord Rawdon who won the field. Greene retreated.
May 8-12, 1781 – At Fort Motte, South Carolina, Light Horse Harry Lee and Francis Marion forced the British out of the post by setting it on fire.
May 10, 1781 – Lord Rawdon evacuated Camden, South Carolina. It was leave or starve.
May 11, 1781 – Thomas Sumter took Orangeburg, South Carolina.
May 15, 1781 – Light Horse Harry Lee captured Fort Granby, South Carolina without resistance
May 19, 1781 – Light Horse Harry Lee’s Legion captured Fort Galphin, South Carolina with all the Indian goods confiscated.
May 21, 1781 – General George Washington and French General Jean Baptiste Rochambeau meet in Connecticut for a war council. General Rochambeau reluctantly agrees to Washington’s plan for a joint French naval and American ground attack on New York.
May 22-June 19, 1781 – Major General Greene’s Siege of Ninety-Six in South Carolina was terminated by the arrival of British reinforcements.
June 4, 1781 – A surprise raid by Banastre Tarleton captured seven members of the Virginia legislature in Charlottesville, Virginia. Governor Thomas Jefferson barely escaped.
June 5, 1781 – Lieutenant Colonel Light Horse Harry Lee, Patriot leaders Elijah Clarke and Andrew Pickens forced the British to surrender the fort at Augusta, Georgia.
June 10, 1781 – American troops under Marquis de Lafayette, General Anthony Wayne, and Baron von Steuben begin to form a combined force in Virginia to oppose British forces under Benedict Arnold and General Cornwallis.
June 11, 1781 – Congress appoints a Peace Commission comprised of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Jay and Henry Laurens. The commission supplements John Adams as the sole negotiator with the British.
June 26, 1781 – The Battle of Williamsburg, Virginia was indecisive. American troops were commanded by French Marquis Lafayette.
July 6, 1781 – Marquis Lafayette attacked a superior British force at Green Springs Plantation, Virginia and was defeated.
July 16, 1781 – At Biggin Church, South Carolina, British forces attacked Thomas Sumter but the attack was broken and the British retreated.
July 17, 1781 – Quinby Bridge, South Carolina, Thomas Sumter, Francis Marion and Light Horse Harry Lee engaged British but were unable to force a retreat.
July 20, 1781 – Slaves in Williamsburg, Virginia, rebel and burn several buildings.
August 1, 1781 – After several months of chasing General Greene’s army without much success, General Charles Cornwallis and his 10,000 tired soldiers arrive to seek rest at the small port of Yorktown, Virginia, on the Chesapeake Bay. He then establishes a base to communicate by sea with General Henry Clinton’s forces in New York.
August 2, 1781 – A British raiding party landed at Georgetown, South Carolina and burned several houses.
August 4, 1781 – The British hanged Colonel Isaac Hayne in Charleston, South Carolina as a warning to patriots. It had the opposite effect.
August 14, 1781 – General George Washington abruptly changes plans and abandons the attack on New York in favor of Yorktown after receiving a letter from French Admiral Count de Grasse indicating his entire 29-ship French fleet with 3000 soldiers is now heading for the Chesapeake Bay near British General Charles Cornwallis. General George Washington then coordinates with French General Jean Baptiste Rochambeau to rush their best troops south to Virginia to destroy the British position in Yorktown.
August 19, 1781 – General George Washington moves to combine American and French forces. French Naval Fleet engages British Fleet on the Chesapeake Bay. This leaves General Charles Cornwallis stranded at Yorktown.
August 30, 1781 – Count Francois de Grasse’s French fleet arrives off Yorktown, Virginia. De Grasse then lands troops near Yorktown, linking with Lafayette’s American troops to cut General Charles Cornwallis off from any retreat by land.
September 1, 1781 – The troops of General George Washington and French General Jean Baptiste Rochambeau arrive at Philadelphia.
September 5-8, 1781 – Off the coast of Yorktown, Virginia, a major naval battle occurs between the French fleet of Francois de Grasse and the outnumbered British fleet of Admiral Thomas Graves results in a victory for de Grasse. The British fleet retreats to New York for reinforcements, leaving the French fleet in control of Chesapeake Bay. The French fleet establishes a blockade, cutting General Charles Cornwallis off from any retreat by sea. French naval reinforcements then arrive from Newport.
September 6, 1781 – Benedict Arnold’s troops loot and burn the port of New London, Connecticut.
September 8, 1781 – Greene’s Continental Army with the addition of militia fight a bloody battle at Eutaw Springs, South Carolina. Although not victorious, the Americans inflicted and sustained heavy losses.