The Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route New Jersey (W3R-NJ) held their Annual Rochambeau Birthday Party on July 1, 2023 at Chez Catherine in Westfield, NJ.
The sold out, invitation only event honored the birthday of Jean Baptist de Vimeur, Comte de Rochambeau, the French General sent to America in 1780 by France along with 5,000 troops to assist General George Washington in fighting for America’s liberty in the Revolutionary War.
Mr. Frank Giordano, Executive Director for America250, U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission was the guest of honor. He spoke about the work of the commission to celebrate the Semiquincentennial of the United States of America which will take place in 2026. The commission has launched America’s Invitation at www.America250.org, a site that is collecting stories, photos, videos, and songs of everyday Americans to encourage them to be part of the historic 250th commemoration.
The event also included General Washington interpreter, Charles (Sam) Davis making a champagne toast to Rochambeau saying “A week before the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, VA not knowing what the outcome would be, but with resolve in our hearts and absolute faith in our plans for victory, I wrote to Congress saying ‘I cannot but acknowledge the eternal obligation I am under to His Excellency, the Comte de Rochambeau and all of the French officers for the assistance the afford me at this crucial moment.’
Westfield Mayor Shelley Brindle addressed the attendees by welcoming them, the Trail Administrator, Johnny F. Carawan from the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail, and Tom Ross, Superintendent for the Morristown National Historic Park. Mayor Brindle stated, “My hope is that Westfield is a big part of the Revolutionary War story and the Semiquincenntial celebrations. You have my unbridled support to make that happen. It a good time to make patriotism cool again.”
The Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route, New Jersey (W3R-NJ), is the state group whose mission it is to commemorate the French-American Alliance from the Revolutionary War to the present and hold event that educate the public about the march to Yorktown, VA which occurred in late August 1781 on what it now the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail, a unit of the National Park Service. According to Julie Diddell, Chair for W3R-NJ, “the Continental line led by Major General Benjamin Lincoln, marched through Westfield on August 29, 1781 on to Princeton to rendezvous with the other Continental line and the French troops who passed in a line through Somerset County. All together, the combined army headed to Trenton, crossed the Delaware River, and continued on land and water to Yorktown, VA. On October 19, 1781 after fighting in a 3 week siege, British General Lord Charles Cornwallis capitulated to Continental Army thus leading to the ultimate end of hostilities and the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783 and the official end of the American Revolutionary War.” Diddell says, “The Semiquincenntial will be a very big national celebration much like the 1976 Bicentennial. On August 27th, W3R-NJ will hold the 4th Annual March To Yorktown Day which is meant to educate the public about Westfield’s role in this historic march of troops through the town.”