George Washington's Great Gamble

Have a Promotion Code?

Please enter it here:

Great deals and more!

Sign up for special offers, exclusive discounts, and new product announcements from McGraw-Hill Professional.



May 7, 2010


Mixed media product, 400 pages


0071743170 / 9780071743174


Your Price



Main description

One shining yet overlooked moment that changed the course of the Revolutionary War

In the opening months of 1781, General George Washington feared his army would fail to survive another campaign season. The spring and summer only served to reinforce his despair, but in late summer the changing circumstances of war presented a once-in-a-war opportunity for a French armada to hold off the mighty British navy while his own troops with French reinforcements drove Lord Cornwallis's forces to the Chesapeake. The Battle of the Capes would prove the only time the French ever fought the Royal Navy to a draw, and for the British army it was a catastrophe. Cornwallis confidently retreated to Yorktown, expecting to be evacuated by a British fleet that never arrived. In the end he had no choice but to surrender. Although the war sputtered on another two years, its outcome was never in doubt after Yorktown.

General Washington's Great Gamble is the story of the greatest naval engagement of the American Revolution. It is also a study in leadership, good and bad, political machinations and the wild, unpredictable circumstances that led to the extraordinary confluence of military and naval resources at that time and place.

Topics include: Looking South; Sea Power for the General; Arnold; Copper Bottoms; Head of Elk; The Battle of Cape Henry; An Attempt to Conquer Virginia; Greene and Cornwallis: Looking North; The American Command; The Battle of Guilford Courthouse; Pyrrhic Victory; Reinforcing the Chesapeake; "[T]he enemy have turned so much of their attention to the Southern States..."; The Battle of Blandford; The British War at Sea; Juncture; "I am inclined to think well of York..."; The Promise of a Fleet; The Battle of Green Springs; The March on New York; An Operation to the Southward; The Arrival of De Grasse; The Battle of the Capes;Cornwallis Surrenders

Table of contents

Chapter 1: Looking South
Chapter 2: Sea Power for the General
Chapter 3: Arnold
Chapter 4: Copper Bottoms
Chapter 5: Head of Elk
Chapter 6: The Battle of Cape Henry
Chapter 7: "An Attempt to Conquer Virginia
Chapter 8: Greene and Cornwallis: Looking North
Chapter 9: The American Command
Chapter 10: The Battle of Guilford Courthouse
Chapter 11: Pyrrhic Victory
Chapter 12: Reinforcing the Chesapeake
Chapter 13: "[T]he enemy have turned so much of their attention to the Southern States..."
Chapter 14: The Battle of Blandford
Chapter 15: The British War at Sea
Chapter 16: Juncture
Chapter 17: "I am inclined to think well of York..."
Chapter 18: The Promise of a Fleet
Chapter 19: The Battle of Green Springs
Chapter 20: The March on New York
Chapter 21: An Operation to the Southward
Chapter 22: The Arrival of De Grasse
Chapter 23: The Battle of the Capes
Chapter 24: Cornwallis Surrenders

Author comments

James L. Nelson is the author of 15 works of fiction and nonfiction. His novels include the five books of his "Revolution at Sea" saga and three in his "Brethren of the Coast" series. His novel Glory in the Name won the American Library Association's W.Y. Boyd Literary Award for Best Military Fiction. Reign of Iron: The Story of the First Battling Ironclads, 2003, was his first work of nonfiction, and he has since authored two other histories of naval warfare in the American Revolution: Benedict Arnold's Navy and George Washington's Secret Navy, which earned the Samuel Eliot Morison Award from the Naval Order of the United States. The Morison Award is one of the top honors accorded maritime historians in the U.S., and past winners include David McCullough and Patrick O'Brian.

Copyright 2014 McGraw-Hill Global Education Holdings, LLC


Before you can enjoy free downloads from McGraw-Hill Professional, we ask that you please provide your email address and country.

Yes, I want to receive other special offer.