Yorktown and the End of the War

While the 17th Company under Cuppiadge was fighting partisans in South Carolina, the bulk of the 17th Regiment was being exchanged from captivity. By early 1781, the regiment was entirely exchanged and on duty again in New York. In April the 17th Regiment, now with 12 officers and 209 other ranks, was chosen as part of the last reinforcement to reach Lord Cornwallis. Consisting of the 17th, the 43rd Regiment of Foot, the 1st and 2nd Anspach Regiments, and detachments of light infantry, the 76th, 80th, Queen’s Rangers, Loyal American, and Prince Hereditaire Regiments, along with the Anspach Artillery, the fleet sailed on April 29, 1781, under the command of Colonel de Voit. The regimental camp followers were left behind in New York.They arrived at Portsmouth in late May, and the 17th stayed with the Anspach Regiments to garrison Portsmouth, under the command of General Leslie, while the remainder of the detachment joined Lord Cornwallis.


Following the Battle of Green Spring, the 17th joined Cornwallis when he retired to Portsmouth and moved the army to Yorktown. On October 16, 1781, the 17th Regiment once again marched into captivity with Cornwallis’s army. After being exchanged in 1782, the regiment was resupplied at New York and was on service there until the city was evacuated in 1783. Although it is not entirely clear at this time, it appears that reinforcements, possibly from the exchanged prisoners or from recruits arriving from England, were sent to the 17th Company in South Carolina. The 17th Company fought in the last major action of the war at Combahee Ferry, where the famous rebel Colonel John Laurens lost his life. After withdrawing from New York, the 17th Regiment became part of the Canadian garrison and was stationed at Halifax, Nova Scotia, until 1787, when the regiment returned to England.