On April 19, 1775, the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts. The Second Continental Congress began in May, and Virginian George Washington was commissioned as the commander in chief of the soon-to-be-organized Continental army. Events intensified in Virginia when Governor Dunmore issued his November 7, 1775, Proclamation, which scared many slaveholders into joining the rebel cause. Major fighting broke out in Virginia with the Battle of Great Bridge on December 9, 1775, and did not end there until General Charles Cornwallis surrendered after the Battle of Yorktown in October 1781. All the while the five Virginia Revolutionary Conventions met and not only created the new government of the Commonwealth of Virginia, but also engaged and directed the Continental Congresses as when the Virginia delegates to Congress were instructed to make a resolution for independence.