A monthly publication of The National Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association
August 2022 On the Web: www.w3r-us.org Vol. 2, No. 8
Trail Administrator Saves Day for Children’s Bus Trip to Museum
Trail Administrator Johnny Carawan, with emergency funding in hand, came to the rescue when a delay in the mail threatened to derail a bus trip for 40 Delaware youngsters to the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia.
Wilmington Councilwoman Zanthia Oliver arranged for funds to sponsor the Aug. 10 trip for children from the East Side’s New Sweden Center and Teen Warehouse. The goal was to have them discover their untold history at the museum, with W3R-DE and Brandywine Partners making the arrangements.
But the mail was very slow. When the Wilmington check had not arrived by the deadlines to pay the bus company or the group’s admission fee, it looked as though the trip would have to be postponed and rescheduled. W3R reached out to Johnny for funds on a rapid turnaround basis- something very difficult for any government agency to do. But Johnny was equal to the challenge. He provided Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail funds through a fast turnaround arrangement and saved the day.
Bill added that the trip dovetailed with W3R-DE’s goal of “bringing the complete Colonial American history to kids. …The Museum does such a fantastic job of inclusion of many cultures. It is obvious why Johnny encouraged us to make the trip from the very beginning!”
A second bus trip to the museum, for another 40 children, will soon be arranged, using the Wilmington funds provided through Councilwoman Oliver, Bill said.
Trips to world-class museums such as the Museum of the American Revolution can be life-changing events and often create lifelong memories for students. More such trips could be undertaken if more funds were available; W3R memberships and donations help support such endeavors.
Yorktown Activities Include Selig Medal, Marker, Meeting, Parade
“The pleasure of your company is requested in Yorktown for a wonderful patriotic two days.”
So wrote Executive Director Ellen von Karajan in a late- August email to friends and associates of W3R-US, encouraging them to come to Virginia for the Oct. 18-19 celebration of the 241st anniversary of the French-U.S. victory over the British, who surrendered Oct. 19, 1781.
The celebration will include a special highlight for W3R- US. Following the memorial wreath-laying ceremony at the French Memorial on the Yorktown Battlefield Wednesday morning, Oct. 19, W3R-US Historian Dr. Robert Selig will be awarded the French National Order of Merit, one of France’s highest honors, recognizing his eminent work on the crucial French contribution to American independence
and in the development of the Washington-Rochambeau Trail.
Dedication of a historical marker emphasizing the essential role of the French navy at Yorktown will be another highlight of the observance. The marker, honoring Admiral de Grasse and the French navy and sponsored by the American Society of Le Souvenir Français, will stand on the Riverwalk and is scheduled to be dedicated during a 5 p.m. ceremony Tuesday, Oct. 18, with W3R-US and W3R-VA participating.
Earlier that day, the fall W3R-US Board Meeting will be held from 10 a.m. to noon in person in
the East Room in York Hall, 301 Main St., Yorktown, with an online hookup for Board members
who are unable to attend in person or are uncomfortable doing so. The online component will
also facilitate a shift to an all-virtual session if necessary. Please watch your email for the link
Other scheduled highlights, subject to change, will include:
Tuesday, October 18
- 6 p.m. – Dinner- American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, $75 per person. Speaker: Julien Icher, administrator of the Lafayette Trail (the Marquis’ Farewell Tour of the United States in 1824/25)
Wednesday, October 19
- 8:45 a.m. – Wreath-laying ceremony at French Cemetery
- 9:15 a.m. – Wreath-laying and commemorative ceremony at French Memorial
- 11:00 a.m. – Parade along Main Street
- 11:45 a.m. – Patriotic exercises and ceremony at the Monument to Alliance and Victory. Speaker: Dr. Robert Selig
A reception will follow at the Customs House on Main Street, $35 per person
As always, I will be happy to help you with your plans to attend. Please let me know if you wish to march in the parade, which is about one mile. Email me: email@example.com
– Nicole Yancey, Franco-American Committee Chair
From the Executive Committee
America’s March to Yorktown: Director Ralph Nelson reported Aug. 1 that he has salvaged
copies of 1,000 images from the 2006 march on his computer and hopes to transfer them, with
the help of digital media specialist Mike Boone, to the W3R-US Web site in time for the 250th
anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 2026.
The march, following the original schedule of the French and Continental armies to the day, was
organized by a small band of re-enactors who walked the entire route from Newport, RI, to
Yorktown, VA, to mark the 225th anniversary of the original march in 1781. Their efforts helped
win designation of the route as the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National
Historic Trail in 2009.
The re-enactors’ Web site, http://www.marchtoyorktown.org/, is unable to move to a new online
format, Ralph said.
Star-Spangled Spectacular: National Chair Larry Abell shared a report Aug. 1 on the economic
impact and audience demographics of the Star-Spangled Spectacular, Sept. 10-16, 2014, a
celebration of the 200th anniversary of the U.S. national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner,
which was born of the defense of Fort McHenry in Baltimore during the War of 1812. Top
attractions included tall ships, contemporary Navy ships, the Navy’s Blue Angels flight team and
According to the report, the week-long celebration attracted an estimated 1.43 million visitors
and had an estimated economic impact of $164.1 million.
Larry said Trail Administrator Johnny Carawan is planning a similar report on the Trail, based
on an economic impact analysis being conducted by consultant Michele Archie of The Harbinger
Consultancy. Michele is gathering data and translating economic value so that it can be
understood and leveraged for informing and sharing value to stakeholders and the community.
An Invitation: Visit Our Online Store
Director Sam Meredith, Chair of the Earned Income Committee, invites shoppers to visit the
W3R-US online store. The newest merchandise includes logo shirts and pens. Suggestions for merchandise should be sent to Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org
To visit the online store: https://w3rus.qbstores.com/a/login
In another online shopping matter, you can support W3R-US when you shop at Amazon. Here’s how. Instead of going to amazon.com:
- Enter smile.amazon.com in your browser address bar.
- Shop and place your order.
- Amazon will donate a percentage of your order to W3R-US
Tracking Volunteer Service
Director Sam Meredith, who compiles the volunteer hours worked by W3R-US members, encourages state and committee chairs, as well as individuals, to report at least an estimate of their hours monthly, if possible, even if they have not been reporting regularly. Hours include meetings, phone calls, advocacy, research, planning, events, travel and reading emails and documents from the national office, among other items, both national and state/local, and the totals affect efforts to obtain grants and other external support for W3R-US. Sam’s template includes space for donations in kind (such as office space and computer use). Please email your monthly reports to Sam at email@example.com by the fifth of the following month.
From the Editor
I hope you continue to enjoy The Bulletin and find it helpful in keeping abreast of the activities of The National Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association on numerous fronts. Thank you for your input, assistance, suggestions, comments and other kind words. To keep up with all news of our Association, please check our Web site regularly: www.w3r-us.org.
As you may have noticed, I have fallen behind in publishing (thanks to baseball and two book
projects). To keep the monthly schedule intact (rather than do a double edition) and try to get
back on track, I am publishing two short editions (August and September) in quick succession.
State leaders are invited to provide information (by the end of each month for the following month’s edition) about their activities, which are presented in a separate section of The Bulletin. (Please see the reports beginning on Page 7.)
Your comments, suggestions and questions are welcome. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Jeff Canning, National Recording Secretary
Upcoming Trail Events
For more information about Trail events, please visit http://w3r-us.org/events/
New Jersey: 4 Major Events in 4 Consecutive Days
W3R-NJ partnered with several
organizations, county Cultural and
Heritage Commissions and a
municipality to produce four events
in four consecutive days in late
August and led a small group on a
private tour. “The planning and
coordination for these events began
10 months earlier with Leadership
Council member Sam Stephens, who
is also the Executive Director of the
Trent House Museum in Trenton.
The process to get so many events
timed and funded so each event
could benefit from having Dr.
Robert Selig, W3R-US National
Historian, give talks and attend each
event was our driving mission,”
said State Chair Julie Diddell.
In addition to the Trent House Museum Association, W3R-NJ brought in the educational program director at the Morven Museum in Princeton, the program manager at East Jersey Old Town in Piscataway and the Town of Westfield. Then, over the course of a few weeks, the events were scheduled, funding was secured and Dr. Selig’s itinerary was set. Following is a brief account of the events.
Thursday, August 25: At the Morven Museum in Princeton, Dr. Selig presented “Reflection on 1781 Princeton: Exploring the Road to Yorktown.” This hybrid program had an in-person audience of about 35 and another 40 attendees on Zoom. “The highlight of the night was seeing Bob’s images of the drawings of Princeton and Trenton from the journal of Georg Daniel Flohr, a fusilier in the Regiment Royal Deux-Ponts. The quaint style and the vivid color palette that Flohr used to depict these towns and in his other drawings are things that remain in your memory,” Julie said.
Friday, August 26: A special private event at the Firestone Library of Princeton University was a last-minute arrangement for eight guests to be treated to a viewing of the Berthier maps and documents and a discussion led by the Special Collections Department.
“This was one of those moments in time that was a step into the land of legendry. We had no
idea that each of us would feel the enormity of our visit before we walked into the secure
viewing room,” Julie said. “Having Bob Selig with us to help interpret the maps and provide
points of interest that supplemented the librarians’ excellent knowledge was more than we could have planned.”
Also in attendance were W3R members Carol Greene, Richard Greene and their daughter,
Lindsey Greene Barrett, who own the farm in Mahwah, NJ, where French troops are thought to have rested and watered their horses and where part of the 18th century road is still visible on their property. Local Trail historians and map enthusiasts Paul Larsen and David Bosted also attended, as did W3R-NJ members Mary Swarbrick and Kevin Sullivan.
After this unbelievable experience, the group went to lunch at the Nassau Inn, where Princeton
Mayor Mark Freda stopped by to greet us.
The afternoon was topped off with Mary Swarbrick, Kevin Sullivan and Julie Diddell guiding
Dr. Selig on tours of East Jersey Old Town Village at Raritan Landing in Piscataway, the 18th
century stone Cornelius Low House and the Metlar-Bodine House Museum. These sites were
witnesses to the March to Yorktown and encampment of soldiers on the Trail and are strong
candidates for historic-site signage.
That evening, Dr. Selig gave a talk about Raritan Landing and the March, with 30 people in attendance and about 40 watching Facebook Live. The talk was supported in part by a grant from the
Middlesex County Division of Historic Sites & History Services. A recording can be found on the W3R-NJ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/W3RNJ
Saturday, August 27: A French encampment was set up at the Trent House Museum in Trenton and a day full of activities included cooking demonstrations, drilling and musket firing. Dr. Selig gave several talks throughout the day, the museum was open for tours and a children’s scavenger hunt was created. Along with W3R-NJ having an information table staffed by Julie Diddell, Mary Swarbrick and Kevin Sullivan, other exhibitors included Ned Hector portraying a Colonial wagoner and an exhibit about 18th century medicine.
“I am so pleased with the turnout of young people and how much they engaged with the re-enactors and the scavenger hunt. Our marketing efforts really showed that the Trent House Museum can attract families with children to this urban location on a Saturday when interesting and unique programming is offered,” said Sam Stephens, Executive Director of the Trent House Museum.
Sunday, August 28: Rounding out the four-day event bonanza was the third annual March to Yorktown Day Parade and Pop-Up Visitor’s Festival in Westfield, a Trail
community, through which General Benjamin Lincoln’s
Continental Line, including the integrated 1st Rhode Island
Regiment with African American and Native American soldiers, passed Aug. 29, 1781, on the road to victory in Yorktown, VA.
Dr. Selig, the parade’s Grand Marshall, marched side by side with local officials including Westfield Mayor Shelley Brindle and State Senator Jon Bramnick. Historical society organizations from along the Trail had
information tables set up at the Pop-Up Visitor’s Festival, where they shared their Trail stories with each other and the public.
This event was made possible with funding
support from Trail Administrator Johnny
Carawan, the Town of Westfield, Union County Cultural and Heritage Affairs Commission, PNC Bank, The Westfield Inn, West Fields Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution, and the Westfield Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution. To view a three-minute video of the event, please click: TapInToWestfield
Later that afternoon, Julie and her associates were off to a W3R-US fundraiser sponsored by Director Brad Fay and his wife, Jackie. The gathering featured George Washington and Billy Lee re-enactors who participated in the Franklin Township Walk and Roll event on Canal Road. Several other W3R-US Board and Leadership Council members attended.
T-shirt giveaway: W3R-NJ held an event in
Somerville July 30 (please see the July edition of
The Bulletin for details) and, as part of the grant
received from Somerset County to produce the event, W3R-NJ purchased youth-size W3R T-shirts to give out to the youngsters who attended.
W3R-NJ sent W3R-US a check for $320 to pay for the shirts. Julie noted that W3R-NJ designed the event program with the T-shirt giveaway in mind as a way to help W3R-US with fundraising efforts.
– Julie Diddell, State Chair
Rhode Island: Website Launched
The Battle of Rhode Island Association’s Web site – https://battleofrhodeisland.org/ – was
launched on the 244th anniversary of the August 29, 1778, battle. The BoRIA, as the Association
is known for short, is busy adding additional information and features to the site, whose slogan is
“The road to Yorktown starts here,” said Burton C. Quist, temporary chair of W3R-RI and a BoRIA director.
The battle, which centered on Butts Hill Fort (commonly called Fort Butts) in Portsmouth, was
the first joint French-U.S. operation of the Revolutionary War and the only major combat in
Rhode Island during the war. Burton is part of the effort to restore the fort, the largest remaining
Revolutionary War earthen fort in southern New England, which was added as a Trail site in
Among the articles on the new Web site are two by W3R-US Historian Dr. Robert Selig about
the French forces in Rhode Island. Here are the links:
The Portsmouth site was the command post for the American forces against the British and their
Hessian mercenaries during the battle. It later was occupied by French troops as part of the
defenses of their main garrison in Newport, about six miles south, and the line of march of
General Rochambeau’s forces from Newport to Providence went right past the fort.
A related recently published article by Dr. Selig is “From Newport to Yorktown: The
Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail and the Franco-American
Victory of 19 October 1781,” American Society of the French Legion of Honor Newsletter, Vol.
29, No. 2 (Summer 2022), pp. 5-6. This is a slightly abridged version of an article first published
as “De Newport à Yorktown, à la Victoire et à la Gloire: la Route Washington-Rochambeau et la
Victoire du 19 octobre 1781,” Bulletin de la Société Archéologique Scientifique et Littéraire du
Vendômois, Année 2022, pp. 99-104. The original is available at: http://www.vendomois.fr/societeArcheologique/actualites.html
Virginia: Cleanup Efforts Target French Memorial, Pavillion
Just in time for Yorktown Day, W3R-VA Board members Dave and Sam Meredith and Jeff Lambert, along with members of the American Friends of Lafayette (AFL), initiated a project to renovate the gardens surrounding the French Memorial, across from the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. The National Park Service (NPS) is funding the project, with NPS, W3R-VA and AFL volunteers, along with NPS staffers, providing the labor. The huge junipers in front of the Memorial have been removed, the aggregate base has been power washed, the Memorial panel and base have been cleaned and the trees and bushes have been pruned. Scheduled work in September includeslaying the compost/topsoil mix and mulch, and planting of new plants. Other planned work includes renovation of the smaller memorial plaque to the right of the large memorial and the garden at the base of the cross in the French Cemetery. In all, more than 300 plants are scheduled to be installed to beautify the areas honoring our French allies for their contributions during the Siege of Yorktown.
A future project being discussed by W3R-VA is the renovation of the pavilion at Surrender
Field. The pavilion building and the gardens in front are in immediate need of major work. Dave
has had in-depth discussions with Colonial National Historical Park officials about a master plan
for the site, with a vision of getting it totally renovated by 2026 for the start of the 250th
Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. (Much like the 400th anniversary of the
founding of Jamestown, this anniversary will actually extend over several years, 2026-31.) The
major goals are to power wash the entire facility, possibly replace the sound system and renovate
the gardens. Meanwhile, we will do some mild renovation work on the gardens in advance of
Yorktown Day, Oct. 19.
– Dave Meredith, State Chair █