Up Lafayette in Fayetteville State House



Lafayette - Friend of America



















Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier (1757-1834)

Marquis de Lafayette

There is no doubt that the Marquis de Lafayette loved the thirteen American states.  It should be remembered by all Americans that, without this young man's help, America would be an entirely different country.
            "...Lafayette is a young man of royal birth, with liberal politics and what 
            Jefferson later called 'a canine appetite for fame.'  Someone said he was
            'a stature in search of a pedestal.'  But he was intoxicated with, [had] a
            rather theoretical love of, liberty.  It was theoretical because liberty
            wasn't known to may Europeans.  [Lafayette] was a great romantic and
            he fell in love with America, the concept of America that the French had.
            This wild new world where you could start the world over, to use Tom
            Paine's phrase."
           Scholar Richard Norton Smith
 Spirit of 76
European adventurers, soldiers-of-fortune, and romantics like Lafayette flocked to the Continental Army during the American Revolution. 
A long list of European soldiers aided the Continental cause, including:                                                         
Baron von Steuben, from Prussia,  von Steubenwho is credited with shaping Washington's independent-minded army into a well-drilled machine.
Tadeusz Kosciuszko, the Polish patriot and engineer, who fought at Saratoga and engineered the construction of fortifications around West Point.
And Pulaski Casimir Pulaski, another Pole, who was called "The Father of American Cavalry",  fought with Washington at Brandywine and Germantown.                                                                                                         Killed at age 32 during Battle at Savannah.
de Kalb  Baron de Kalb, a German born soldier, arrived with Lafayette,  served with Washington as Major General at Valley Forge and then at the Battle of Camden where he was mortally wounded.


Lafayette 1777Gilbert du Motier was born on September 6, 1757 in Auvergne, France.  His father died when he was 2 years old and when his mother and grandfather died 11 years later he inherited a large fortune.  Lafayette, who came from a long line of soldiers, studied at the Military Academy in Versailles and became a captain in the French cavalry at age 16.
The Marquis was about 20 years old.  He wanted passionately to help and be a member of the American Continental Army. 
With the recommendation of Silas Deane,   Lafayette, de Kalb, Deane      then serving as an Envoy to France,  Lafayette was granted a commission in the "Army of the United States".  But he was required to serve as a "volunteer" without a command and at his own expense.   Based on this commitment Lafayette purchased a ship named La Victoire, and with Baron de Kalb enlisted several aides and planned to secretly embark for America.  On board ship with Lafayette was one of the most skillful military map makers of the era,  Michel Capitaine du Chesnoy.  At the insistence of the British ambassador to France, orders were issued to seize his ship then fitting out at Bordeaux, and Lafayette himself was arrested.  But the ship had been sent to a neighboring Spanish port before the orders for her seizure could be executed, and Lafayette escaped from his guards in disguise.  It was May, 1777 when he joined his ship and his eleven chosen companions.
The total journey from France to America was to take several months - from April to July of 1777.  Though pursued by two British cruisers which had been sent to intercept him, they landed near Georgetown, South Carolina and had to make a nine hundred mile overland trek to Philadelphia.
George Washington by Peale  Lafayette met General Washington at a dinner in Philadelphia.  He and the General must have immediately struck it off, for on July 31st Lafayette was appointed by Congress a Major-General in the Army of the United States.
Lafayette served in the battle of Brandywine, September 11th 1777, at Chad's Ford, Pennsylvania,  where he is wounded with a bullet through his left leg.
The British General "Gentleman Johnny" Burgoyne's surrender to General Horatio Gates at Saratoga on October 17, 1777 was the turning point of the American Revolution.    The colonial victory convinced the French that the Americans had a chance of defeating Great Britain;  France's traditional enemy.
In November of 1777, Lafayette led his first independent command of a small reconnaissance force at Gloucester, New Jersey and got the better of a skirmish against some Hessians.   He also had a command at White Marsh (December 5-8, 1777).    During this period, George Washington took a strong, personal liking to the young Frenchman, who in turn held the American commander in high admiration.  He referred to Washington as his "adopted father" and took him as his avowed model. 
   In December 1777, Lafayette received command of the Virginia Light Infantry.
Lafayette                                                                                                            He began the winter of 1777-78 at Valley Forge, but was sent to Albany, New York to prepare for an invasion of Canada.  The invasion was canceled and he returned to Valley Forge, where he again succeeded in a small operation at Barren Hill (May 1778).  Lafayette performed with distinction at the battle of Monmouth (June 28th 1778).  He commanded two brigades near Newport Rhode Island (July and August 1778) in the failed, first Franco-American allied operation of the war.
Lafayette   Lafayette proved to be a good officer and a wise adviser, but more important was his popularity with his own countrymen.  It contributed to the pro-American sentiment in France and to the signing of a treaty of alliance with the colonies on February 6, 1778.  He served a liaison officer between the Americans and the comte d'Estaing, the French commander in mid July of 1778.
In January 1779, Lafayette returned to France, where he successfully persuaded the French to commit more military aid and to send a military expedition to North America.  So insistent was Lafayette for aid to the Americans that one day Count de Maurepas said in the royal council: 'It is fortunate for the King, that Lafayette does not take it in his head to strip Versailles of its furniture, to send to his dear Americans; as his Majesty would be unable to refuse it."   In addition to governmental supplies Lafayette purchased out of his private account a large amount of supplies for the troops he would command upon his return to America.  
Sailing in the French frigate Hermione on March 19, 1780 he arrived in Boston 38 days later.  He reported to Washington and then went to Philadelphia to give representatives of his government certain official papers.   Count de Rochambeau's and his military expedition were due to arrive  in July.  The coming of this help brought new hope to the American cause.  In the weeks which followed Washington and Rochambeau made careful plans so that their campaign would bring definite success and Washington hoped it would be the final victory for independence. 


In the meantime the British, under the command of General Cornwallis, invaded the South in their endeavor to crush the war there.  In the spring of 1781 Washington sent Lafayette, in command of American troops, to Virginia to unite his forces with  von Stuben.   The young Marquis ended up facing the much larger force of Cornwallis.  In this Virginia Campaign of April-August 1781, Lafayette proved to be a good strategist in avoiding defeat while harassing his formidable opponent to withdraw to Yorktown for reinforcements.  Lafayette commanded his American brigade at the siege of Yorktown (September 1781).  Lafayette - Yorktown     
The "Battle of the Virginia Capes" saw the French Admiral de Grasse's 24 French ships of the line drive off the 19 British ships under Admiral Graves in early September 1781, thus isolating the British forces of Cornwallis at Yorktown.
French Fleet
As a result of brilliant efforts on the part of American and the French fleet , Cornwallis was compelled to surrender on October 19, 1781 at Yorktown.


Rejoicing was manifested throughout the entire country with gratitude given to the French for their timely help and particularly Lafayette for his unselfish devotion to the American cause.  Lafayette went to General Washington to secure a leave of absence to return home to France.
In December of 1781, Lafayette sailed for France on the American ship "Alliance".  He was universally hailed as "America's Marquis".  To the French he was "the friend of Washington" and "the hero of two worlds".  Upon arrival in France he received many honors and was promoted to the rank of marechal-de-camp (major general) in the French Army by Louis XVI.



Mount Vernon

In late 1784, Lafayette returned to America and to Mount Vernon on Washington's invitation.  It was their last time together.  While here he was made a citizen of several states and urged constitutional reform to strengthen the new government.  He continued to advocate close Franco-American ties, and on his return to France he worked to secure business concessions for his adopted country.
Lafayette continued to be involved in liberal ideas working to make France a constitutional monarchy.  He envisioned a Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen.  It was composed with help from Thomas Jefferson and modeled after the American Declaration of Independence and the constitutions of the American States.  Lafayette tried but was unable to influence a more moderate course in the French Revolution. 
On July 14th 1789 a crowd stormed the Bastille in Paris and freed the political prisoners.  The next day King Louis named Lafayette as Commander in Chief of the bourgeois militia of Paris.  He organized the militia into the Paris National Guard and gave it the blue, white and red cockade that eventually became the French tricolor.
Louis XVI    Marie AntoinetteOn October 5th of the same year, the Palace of Versailles was invaded by a crowd with intentions on the royal family.  Lafayette troops saved King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette from the mob.
When the Constitution of 1790 was finally adopted, Lafayette retired from public life to his estate in La Grange, but in April, 1792 France declares war against Austria.  Lafayette was soon called to service in the war with Austria and Prussia, being one of the three major generals in command of the French forces.  In August the French monarchy is overthrown and the Jacobins, the extreme Revolutionist, attempted to displace him from his powerful position because Lafayette intended to use his army to restore limited monarchy.  
Fleeing to Belgium from the Jacobins, the General fell into the hands of the Austrians. Claiming American citizenship was to no avail with  the Austrians.  The next month, Lafayette's wife, Adrienne de Lafayette and two daughters were arrested and confined at Chateau Chavaniac for over a year and a half.

For five years (1792 - 1797) Lafayette remained in Prussian and Austrian jails, one year at Magdeburg and four years at Olmutz castle.   

The Prisoner of Olmütz

It is interesting that Lafayette's wife, Adrienne and his two daughters, Anastasie and Virginie,  by their choice were imprisoned with him for the last two years.  In 1793 when Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were executed on the guillotine, Adrienne's family; her mother, sister and grandmother who were of nobility and were related to the king, were also executed.  Lafayette's son, George, escaped to America.  Adrienne and his two daughters were taken to the prison in Paris.  Five days after the execution of Adrienne's family, the Reign of Terror ended when Robespierre was sent to the guillotine.  With the help of the Ambassador to France, Gouverneur Morris and James Monroe, Adrienne and her daughters were freed and went to Austria on October 1795 to  plead for the release of her husband. 
 Francis II   Francis II,  Holy Roman Emperor refused;  whereupon Adrienne asked to share, with her two daughters, her husbands prison cell.  The dungeon was damp, musty and rat-infested.   Soon her daughters were sick with infection and Adrienne was ill with blood poisoning.  The Emperor arranged for them to be taken to a hospital, but Adrienne refused and remained with her husband for almost two years.   In 1797 Napoleon secured his release.
Returning to France he found his personal fortune gone.  While he acknowledged Bonaparte's position, Lafayette declined any role in the Emperor's regime and refused the Legion d'Honor, becoming a gentleman farmer on his wife's estates.  For a time he was an elected member of the Chamber of Deputies, working for Napoleon's second abdication. 
George Washington died December 14, 1799.  When the sad news reached France early in the year 1800, Napoleon decided to hold a memorial service for Washington at Invalides, but Lafayette was not invited and Napoleon ordered the orator not to refer to Lafayette in his oration.  It was rather a glorification of Napoleon than a memorial service to Washington.  However, Lafayette had his glorious memories of Washington and the friendship of the great man.
On Christmas Eve, 1807 his wife, Adrienne de Noailles, died of lead poisoning at age 48 after 33 years of marriage to Lafayette.  According to her wishes Adrienne was buried in the little Picpus Cemetery in Paris.  Knowing her devotion, Lafayette promised never to remarry and he never did.
Lafayette continued to maintain strong ties with the United States.  Congress proclaimed him an honorary citizen in 1824 and President Monroe invited him to tour the United States as its first official guest.  The "Nations Guest" was old and lame at the time but he visited every one of the 24 states, greeted by large crowds.  He was a reminder of the glorious past, the "adoptive son" of George Washington, the last surviving major general of the War of Independence and Europe's outstanding contemporary opponent of monarchial tyranny.  See "Lafayette in Fayetteville" page on this site.

House Chamber Portraits

A full length portrait of the Marquis de Lafayette,  the first foreign dignitary to address a joint meeting of the Congress, was presented to the House of Representatives by the French artist Ary Scheffer in 1824.  The portrait is located to the left of the rostrum. 
A portrait of George Washington hangs at the right of the Speaker's rostrum.  This portrait was commissioned in 1834 from American artist John Vanderlyn as a companion to the portrait of the Marquis de Lafayette.
Lafayette knew and supped with the first seven presidents of the United States - with Washington during the Revolutionary War, and on this trip with John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams and the future president , Andrew Jackson.    He was accompanied by his son, George Washington Lafayette and his secretary, Auguste Levasseur, who kept a daily journal of Lafayette's trip.
BirthplaceLa GrangeOn September 7, 1825, Lafayette and his company boarded the ship Brandywine for the journey to France.  The trip took 24 days.  When he disembarked at La Havre, cannons were fired and on October 9th when he reached his farm, La Grange, he was feted at a gala party of 4,000.
Under the restored Bourbon monarchy, Lafayette was generally politically inactive until the people were again oppressed.  At the age of 73, he led the opposition to the king's restrictions on citizens' rights.  In 1830 he took part in his third revolution and once again became a kingmaker in France.  He commanded the Army of National Guards that drove Charles X from France.  He rejected the popular demand that he become president of the new republic and helped make Louis Philippe the constitutional monarch of France.  Later he began to regret his support of Philippe and began his support for a pure republic in France.  To the end of his life, the great general held firm for representative government in his country.
Lafayette died on May 20th 1834 at the age of 78 and was buried next to his wife in the Le Jardin de Picpus Cemetery in Paris.  The soil that he brought back from Bunker Hill Monument was placed around his casket.
The following text and photographs are taken from the blog, Polly-Vous Francais. 
A very nice description of the cemetery and the annual memorial for Lafayette. 
A link to this blog is listed on this page.
Lafayette, We Were There
The Cimetiere de Picpus has to be one of the most tranquil outdoor spaces in Paris.  When strolling through the grounds, you have a sense of being transported in time to a small village far from any booming metropolis. Yet it is located a short walk from the Place de la Nation in the 12e arrondissement. The private cemetery encompasses a 19th-century Chapel, a large expanse of grass, fragrant boxwoods, and minuscule burial grounds (by Paris standards).
It is here that the Marquis de Lafayette is buried, in soil from Virginia that he brought to France after his final visit to the young United States in 1825. It is at Lafayette's grave that the American flag has flown uninterrupted in France, even during years of the Nazi occupation of Paris. It is here that General Pershing's assistant, Stanton, pronounced the famous "Lafayette, nous voilà!" on July 4, 1917, to proclaim the U.S. troops' arrival to support France in the throes of a terrible World War I. It is here that Lafayette's wife Adrienne was buried before him, in a spot chosen for its proximity to the mass grave where her immediate family had been "buried" with hundreds of other nobles beheaded in the French Revolution.
Lafayette's grave
So it is fitting that each July 4 the American flag at Picpus Cemetery is renewed amid great solemn and moving ceremony.   At 11 AM, dignitaries from the U.S. Embassy, the French Senate, the Mairie de Paris, the Society of the Cincinnati, the Sons of the American Revolution, and Friends of Lafayette and the general public -- both French and American -- gathered to pay tribute to this hero of two worlds.
A U.S. Military Color Guard stood at attention while the French Garde Nationale band played the "Star Spangled Banner."  That alone was a touching moment of transatlantic honor and friendship. The Marseillaise followed, of course.  In lieu of loud cheering, there was a wave of emotion that reverberated among the spectators.  The crowd, already hushed, shared an official minute of silence.  Brief speeches followed, with placing of flowers on Lafayette's grave site.  The U.S. Ambassador, addressing the assembled group in French, was moved to tears as he spoke.




This is a momentous year in French-American relations, capped off by celebrations of the 250th Anniversary of Lafayette's birth. In France and in the U.S., he is a man to remember and revere. During all the political ups and downs of the nearly two and a half centuries of friendship between our two nations, we owe it to ourselves to remember that in the U.S. House of Representatives, there are two larger-than-life portraits flanking the speaker's podium: Washington and Lafayette.







   Perhaps the most permanent effect that Lafayette has had in this country, beyond his heroism on the battlefield, is the number of places named for him in the United States.  The name "Lafayette" or related names like "Fayette" are found almost 400 times in the United States.
A small town in North Carolina in 1783 was the first town named Fayetteville in honor of the Revolutionary War hero.  He visited his namesake on March 4th and 5th, 1825, arriving from Raleigh and departing to Cheraw, South Carolina. 
An account of his visit may be read by clicking on marker photo. 
An interesting story about the State House drawing and Lafayette can be read by clicking on State House sketch.







Portrait of Lafayette by Baugnut


          True republicanism is the sovereignty of the people....There are natural and imprescriptible rights which an entire nation has no right to violate.
--Lafayette in his last major speech, January 2, 1834


Lafayette's Coat of Arms
Cur Non - Why Not


The information contained in this web page has been compiled from many sources, including other web sites.  Credit is therefore given to others who have spent their time and effort.
Appreciation is also given to the Cumberland County Public Library, NC Historical Department, and its staff.


Historic Fayetteville celebrates Marquis de Lafayette's 250th Birthday

Clicking on banner will take you to the official Fayetteville Birthday Party website for Lafayette



      To see the 3 day schedule, click on thumbnail photo



Hit Counter

Chopin - Nocturnes
Opus 27, No. 2 D flat major


Interesting Links:

American Friends of Lafayette

Lafayette Society of Fayetteville, North Carolina

Bienvenue sur le site du chateau-musee Lafayette

The Lafayette Collection

Hermione Project   

Lafayette's Virginia Campaign of 1781

Lafayette Web Page        

The Marquis de Lafayette

Lafayette's Travel in America Documented

Lafayette's Cartographer

The Merci Lafayette French and American Alliance for Liberty 

From Albert Knute Oberst, JD
Chers Amis de Lafayette et le French and American Alliance for Peace,
     Pere Noel et tout les French will be bringing a magnificant/awesome
gift to America in just a few months.  The French have been working
tres tres durement (hard) for over 15 years to build the Hermione.  The
Hermione will be visiting USA in about 18 months.  This greatest of symbols
of the French and American Alliance for our Peace will be docking
in Yorktown.  We must recall the first Hermione landed in Boston
in 1780 with Lafayette bringing the great  news that the French shall
support our Revolution.
     Hermione Project  

 Please help us to be prepared to give the frigate Hermione the
greatest welcome.  Let us show our appreciation to the French for
this greatest of gesture (geste) of deep affection for our alliance
that started in France in the late 1700s.  It was in 1783 with the
Treaty of Paris that showed the French support for our Nation.
       Please open the web site above and view the video to understand
how dedicate and how hard these French ship builders have been
working for all these years.  I was there in 2002 when it was just
a mere stucture of wood. Now look at the current accomplishment.
C'est tres tres grand ettonement (astonishment).
           Vive Lafayette vive  les French and American Alliance!!


The latest information regarding the L'Hermione Project :  April 28, 2014

Bonjour Monsieur Thomas-Lescouzeres et tout les personne avec
        Today's date on April 28,1780 the Hermione arrived in Boston at
John Hancock's wharf in Boston to a great reception with a huge crowd
of well wishers,    fire works, cheers and bonfires. "   Vive France, Lafayette,
et L' Hermione.
        Merci beaucoup!  L' Hermione c'est epatante, formidable.
           Merci Lafayette French et American Alliance pour Liberte'
              Al@  Delegue

Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2014 16:08:39 +0200
Subject: L'Hermione 1997/2014.

En 4 minutes, retrouvez les grandes étapes du projet Hermione en attendant les premiers essais en mer en septembre.
A bientôt à bord!
Pascal Lescouzères(Délégué Hermione).
Translation: In 4 minutes, find the main stages of Hermione project until the first sea trials in September.
See you on board!


Below is a link to several videos depicting the building of this beautiful frigate.

Become a member of the Association that manages the Hermione Project
Have your name of the sails of the Hermione



Up Lafayette in Fayetteville State House