On September 20, 1781, Royal Navy Admiral Graves’ fleet sailed from Virginia back to Sandy Hook after sustaining sufficient damage and loss at the hands of the French navy at the Battle of the Chesapeake (also known as the Battle of the Virginia Capes), such that the British chose not to try and protect Yorktown. T
While Graves effected repairs, and also served as a deterrent to any rebel naval blockade of New York City, the French land troops and siege equipment in Virginia connected with Continental army units, who established a naval blockade off Yorktown, and enabled the Siege of Yorktown to begin, which became the final battle of the Revolutionary War. Graves and his repaired and reinforced fleet sailed south from Sandy Hook to liberate Yorktown, but this happened two days after Cornwallis had signed the terms of surrender, effectively ending the war.
Battle of the Chesapeake. Encyclopedia Britannica. Available: https://www.britannica.com/event/Battle-of-the-Chesapeake-1781
Battle of the Virginia Capes, 5 September 1781 . Naval History and Heritage Command. Available: https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/our-collections/photography/numerical-list-of-images/nhhc-series/nh-series/NH-73000/NH-73927-KN.html
Image credit:Photo #: NH 73927-KN. Available: https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/our-collections/photography/numerical-list-of-images/nhhc-series/nh-series/NH-73000/NH-73927-KN.html. Public domain.