The Battle of the Chesapeake, also known as the Battle of the Virginia Capes or simply the Battle of the Capes, was a crucial naval battle in the American War of Independence that took place near the mouth of Chesapeake Bay on 5 September 1781, between a British fleet led by Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Graves and a French fleet led by Rear Admiral François Joseph Paul, comte de Grasse. The battle was tactically inconclusive but strategically a major defeat for the British, since it prevented the Royal Navy from reinforcing or evacuating the blockaded forces of General Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia. It also prevented British interference with the transport of French and Continental Army troops and provisions to Yorktown via Chesapeake Bay. As a result, Cornwallis surrendered his army after the Siege of Yorktown. The major consequence of Cornwallis's surrender was the beginning of negotiations that eventually resulted in peace and British recognition of the independent United States of America.
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