Marquis de Lafayette
A mid-19th century photograph of Marie Jean Paul Joseph Roche Yves Gilbert du
Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, hero of the American Revolution, He was born
in France, Sept 6, 1757, married at age 16, and although very wealthy,
adopted the profession of a soldier, and at the age of 19 was stationed as a
Captain of Dragoons in France. In 1788 France declared war against England,
and formed an alliance with the US.
When Lafayette learned of the struggle of the Americans in their endeavor to
secure their independence he resolved to come to the colonies to aid them in
their efforts as a volunteer. He also persuaded several French officers to
come with him. Eventually he landed near Charleston, South Carolina, June
13, 1777, and when the leaders learned of his mission they welcomed him very
hospitably. Later in the summer he came to Philadelphia and the Congress
welcomed him as he came to serve without pay and also as a volunteer. Since
he represented the highest rank of French nobility and his motives were so
patriotic in the American cause, the Congress commissioned him a Major
General on the 31st of July. Later in the summer he met General Washington
and a friendship developed between the two men which lasted as long as
Washington lived. He was not even 20 years old! During Lafayette's life he
never forgot the great American. Lafayette was a member of Washington's
staff and during the Battle of the Brandywine, Lafayette participated in the
closing part of the battle when he was wounded. Later in the autumn he
rejoined the American forces since he had recovered from his wound.
Winter 1777-1778 Lafayette served at Valley Forge.
1778 Lafayette was given command of a proposed invasion of Canada. He had to
abandon the plan, however, due to shortages in supplies and troops.
1778 Lafayette led soldiers in the battles of Barren Hill and Monmouth, and
in the campaign of Rhode Island.
1779 France declared war on Britain. Lafayette returned to France as a hero.
He persuaded the government to aid the American government.
April 1780 Lafayette returned to his post as major general.
1780 Lafayette served in the court-martial that condemned Major Jhon Andres as a spy.
1781 Lafayette battled with General Charles Cornwallis in Virginia.
1782 Lafayette returned to France. He was raised to the rank of brigadier general.
1782 Lafayette became interested in the questions of free trade, tax reform,
emancipation of slaves, and religious freedom for Protestants.
1784 Lafayette visited George Washington at Mount Vernon.
1789 The French Revolution began. Lafayette worked to make France a
1789-1791 Lafayette was the commander of the new National Guard. Lafayette
was forced to suppress crowd violence was the radicalism spread throughout
France. He lost his favor with the people as a result.
1792 War broke out with Britain. Lafayette took charge of troops in Belgium.
He was unsuccessful in his military front. The king and queen would not
accept his help. The troops that he ordered to turn on a mob in Paris would
not follow his orders. He was denounced as a traitor.
1792 Lafayette fled. He was imprisoned by the Austrians.
1797 Lafayette was released after several of Napoleon's victories.
1800 Lafayette returned to France. His personal fortune had been seized.
1803 The United States government granted Lafayette land in Louisiana.
1815 Lafayette was elected to the Chamber of Deputies
1824 Lafayette returned to America.Visited WESTFIELD , CHAUTAUQUA CO NY
JUNE 3, 1825
7 September 1825 Lafayette bade farewell to President John Quincy Adams and
the United States at the White House.
29 July 1830 Lafayette helped to overthrow the Bourbons.
1830 Lafayette was the commander of the National Guard. He refused popular
demand that he should became the president of the new republic.
1834 Lafayette died.
SOURCE: Submitted by Dolores Pratt Davidson, 2004