A monthly publication of The National Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association
OCTOBER 2021 On the Web: www.w3r-us.org Vol. 1, No. 10
Yorktown Day to Include Board Meeting; Parade, Dinner Canceled
A hybrid meeting of the W3R-US Board of Directors will return to the schedule of Yorktown Day this year after a one-year hiatus caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The in-person session in Virginia will be held from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 18, in Classrooms D and E at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, 200 Water St. (please note the change of location from earlier notices), and will also be accessible on Zoom for Board members who are unable to attend in person or are uncomfortable doing so. The Zoom component will also facilitate a shift to an all-virtual session if necessary. Please watch your email for the link, agenda and updates.
This year’s Yorktown Day program will mark the 240th anniversary of the allied victory over the British, who surrendered Oct. 19, 1781. Concerns about Covid-19 have forced cancellation of the annual dinner scheduled Oct. 18 and the parade and luncheon scheduled Oct. 19. Checks for reservations will be shredded. Remaining highlights include:
Monday, Oct. 18
11 a.m., unveiling of the Rochambeau statue on the Yorktown waterfront, where it will join statues of Washington, de Grasse and Lafayette. (More information, Page 7)
Evening, time and place to be announced, informal dinner for W3R Board members who wish to get together.
Tuesday, Oct. 19 (the National Park Service asks attendees to wear masks)
9 a.m., wreath-laying ceremony at French Cemetery, limited to 50 people.
9:40 a.m., military ceremony at French Memorial, limited to 50 people.
11 a.m., patriotic exercises at Victory Monument, limited to 100 people.
– Nicole Yancey, Franco-American Committee Chair
Cemetery Markers Dedicated in Newport
Slate grave markers for two French officers from the navy frigate l’Hermione, who were buried in unmarked graves in the cemetery of Trinity Church in Newport, RI, in 1780, were dedicated Friday, Sept. 10, 2021, during a special weekend celebration of “The French in 1780 Newport.”
After earlier military service, Major Pierre du Rousseau, Chevalier de Fayolle, returned to the United States with the Marquis de Lafayette on l’Hermione, which arrived in Boston on April 28, 1780. He accompanied Lafayette by land to Morristown, New Jersey, and Philadelphia to inform General George Washington and Congress that a French expeditionary force was on the way to aid the revolutionaries. Less than two months later, he died in an accident in the harbor of Newport on June 8.
Lieutenant Augustin Benjamin Lavilmarais (also spelled de la Villemarais, Villemarets, Valernais and Vilernais) was wounded by grapeshot in the thigh during a naval battle against the British navy frigate Iris and died of his wounds July 18 in Newport.
With their exact burial sites unknown, the new markers were placed next to the tombstone of Admiral de Ternay, commander of the naval forces that brought the Expédition Particulière to Newport in July 1780. The admiral died that December.
The slate markers were crafted by the John Stevens Shop, a Newport stone-carving business founded in 1705. It is one of the oldest continuously operating businesses in the United States.
W3R-US provided accounting and administrative services for the $15,273 National Park Service project, most of which was funded under the Task Agreement that began June 1. W3R-US also provided a bridge loan of $5,636.60 (since repaid) earlier in the year to get the work started on schedule. The American Friends of Lafayette and Le Souvenir Francais each contributed $1,000 toward the project.
The event was livestreamed via the W3R-US Facebook page, and the American Battlefield Trust partnered with the Trail to produce a 6.5-minute video about the project. of the dedication. You can watch the video here.
Chuck Schwam of the American Friends of Lafayette, a director of W3R-US, was master of ceremonies. Those in attendance included Arnaud Mentré, Consul General of France in Boston; Trail Administrator Johnny Carawan; W3R Executive Director Ellen von Karajan; W3R-US Digital Media Services Contractor Mike Boone; French army veterans; and members of the Newport Historical Society.
Painting of 1st Rhode Island Regiment Unveiled in Philadelphia
A new painting depicting a little-known event from the Revolutionary War was unveiled in Philadelphia on Sept. 2 – exactly 240 years after the event happened in 1781. Brave Men as Ever Fought, by historical artist Don Troiani, features African American and Native American troops of the Continental Army’s 1st Rhode Island Regiment marching along Chestnut Street in Philadelphia past the Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall) on their way to Yorktown.
The painting was commissioned by the Museum of the American Revolution (MAR) in Philadelphia with funding by the National Park Service’s Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail. It was unveiled at the African American Museum in Philadelphia, where it was to be displayed for a month before going to its permanent home at the MAR.
The people in the painting include James Forten, an African American sailor from Philadelphia who turned 15 that day and became a stalwart in anti-slavery and abolitionist movements. Soon after witnessing the scene in the painting, he returned to sea, where he was captured with the crew of an American privateer ship. He eventually returned to Philadelphia, where he learned the sailmaking trade and became a successful businessman. In 1831, he recalled the 1781 event in a letter to a friend: “I well remember that when the New England Regiment passed through this city on their way to attack the English Army under the command of Lord Cornwallis, there was several Companies of Coloured People, as brave Men as ever fought.”
“The 1st Rhode Island Regiment is connected to the Trail and woven into the fabric of our country,” said Trail Administrator Johnny Carawan.
From the Trail Administrator
“Overall, it’s been a good year,” Trail Administrator Johnny Carawan told the W3R-US Executive Committee during a virtual meeting Sept. 27. He said he was “really pleased” with the performance of W3R-US, WARO’s “major philanthropic partner,” in 2021 and thanked everyone in the Association for their efforts. He voiced particular appreciation for our Association’s help with grave markers for two French officers buried in the Trinity Churchyard in Newport, RI, which were dedicated Sept. 10. (Please see Pages 2-3 for a report on the ceremony.) He suggested that Newport might become host to a major annual event, such as a parade, to provide focus on the northern end of the Trail, just as Yorktown Day provides focus on the southern end. He also hopes to get a Junior Ranger program going.
Going forward, Johnny said, both W3R-US and WARO have to beef up their social media efforts. “We have to meet people where they are, not make them have to find us,” he said. Social media posts should be part of an effort to keep our Association relevant, and they must be brief because studies show that many people do not read long posts. Strategically, the best time to post varies by the intended audience. Hashtags create “landing pages” for posts about a particular subject. The key yardstick for evaluating a post, especially about a non-Trail subject, is whether it amplifies W3R; if not, perhaps it does not belong. Stay focused, he said.
Regarding the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 2026, Johnny said the celebration was morphing into a much broader observance than originally planned, trying to be all things to all people. To stand out, W3R-US must employ savvy marketing of itself, including hashtags and branding. The National Park Service is still developing its strategic plan for 2026, but in the meantime Johnny said he was working on a WARO logo for the 250th and asked people to suggest a distinctive tagline and/or jingle. If you have a suggestion, please email him at email@example.com
In closing, Johnny encouraged members of W3R-US to emphasize their role as ambassadors for the Association, handing out business cards and brochures and possibly holding open houses.
According to Connecticut Landmarks Executive Director Aaron Marcavitch, “When I lived in Maryland, for four years, I worked on War of 1812 events including interpretive signage. That brought me in contact with Maryland W3R-US Director Robert Reyes, so I was familiar with the W3R-US mission. Now, since moving to Connecticut and working with Connecticut Landmarks, an organization that represents a statewide network of 11 historic sites, I felt that joining W3R-US would help bring awareness to our sites through collaborative efforts on programs and events.”
Connecticut State Group Leader Sal Lilienthal expressed enthusiasm, saying of the new membership, “It’s a wonderful opportunity for both Connecticut Landmarks and W3R-CT to partner on programs and use our synergy to help carry out the mission of both organizations.”
Welcome, Connecticut Landmarks!
W3R-US welcomes new members that are community and nonprofit organizations, as well as individual members and corporate members. To join, please go to: W3R-US.org_Membership
Requests for membership renewals will be emailed starting Nov. 1. All memberships (except life) renew January 1, 2022.
– Julie Diddell, Membership Committee Chair
Become a Patriot – or Not
The promotional video for Become a Patriot – or Not was recorded Sept. 19 at the Rochambeau mural at the Maryland Veterans Museum at Patriot Park in Newburg, with Elaine Lawton, chair of the Education Committee, operating the teleprompter. The video featured the teachers who designed the fourth-grade activity book, and student teachers from the Teacher Academy of Maryland assisted during the recording. The book features 10 Trail- and Yorktown-related activities geared toward families with young children, with a focus on ages 7-10. The interactive activities (as opposed to formal lesson plans) seek to tell untold stories from the Revolutionary War.
Rochambeau Statue to Be Unveiled
A long-awaited statue of General Rochambeau will be unveiled and dedicated on the Yorktown Riverwalk at 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 18. The statue, whose ceremonies were delayed a year by the Covid-19 pandemic, will join statues of General Washington, Admiral de Grasse and General Lafayette.
The drive for the statue was spearheaded by the American Friends of Lafayette (AFL), along with les Amis de Rochambeau and the National Park Service (NPS). Chuck Schwam of the AFL, who is also a director of W3R-US, thanked our Association for administering a pass-through grant from the NPS toward the funding of the statue and also thanked the members of W3R-US who made donations toward the $40,000 sculpture.
If you are not able to be present for the ceremonies, you can watch them live via this Zoom link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/82992131390?pwd=SUZKWHBpK3Y4MG1RMHdrM2Z4R3Q3dz09 The pass code is 059775.
Cyd Player, the sculptor who crafted the statue of Rochambeau, welcomed visitors to her Williamsburg, VA, studio during the Yorktown Day activities in October 2019, happy to show them how the statue would proceed from concept to finished product.
Research, including attention to a great deal of detail about uniforms, occupied much of the initial process, she explained. Is the sash the correct width? Is a medal the correct size? (In some instances, the award might have been the same but, the higher your rank, the larger your medal.) Is the braid the correct design and size? Online research was able to answer some of these questions, and photos of a re-enactor at the existing ensemble helped Cyd with poses and placement, she said.
Cyd then showed her visitors the frame around which the statue would be built, which at that point was not much more than a few metal rods welded together. A nearby chalkboard was covered with dimensions and distances among body parts that would guide her as she fleshed out the work. Of particular interest was her technique for sculpting fingers – she cut notches in a finger-length piece of pipe, perhaps 0.75 inches in diameter, which enabled her to bend the “fingers” where the joints are in real life.
Ferreiro to Speak at After Dinner Conversation
Dr. Larrie Ferreiro will speak about the French and Spanish roles in the American Revolution during our Association’s next After Dinner Conversation, at 7 p.m. Oct. 27. His talk will be based on his best-selling book, Brothers at Arms: American Independence and the Men of France and Spain Who Saved It. The book explores how the Revolution’s success depended on substantial military assistance from France and Spain, and it places the war in the context of the global strategic interests of those nations in their fight against England. Please watch your email for the link and additional information.
Social Media: In response to numerous concerns involving our Association’s presence on social media, the W3R-US communications group – Mike Boone, digital media services contractor, Catherine Roberts, chair of the Media Committee, and Maya Wilson, social media specialist – is examining these issues, with a major goal of utilizing brief posts on the W3R-US Facebook page to drive visitors to our Web site for additional information. A key concern – programs and events at sites W3R-US promotes are not always WARO-related, and therefore do not amplify the Trail, and our Association needs to be more discerning about what we post on behalf of others.
Travel App: Responses to the Request For Proposal for development of our Association’s Travel App are being reviewed. Historian Dr. Robert Selig hopes to start mapping the historic route this autumn but is still awaiting more specific information about GIS guidelines.
Chamber of Commerce mixer: National Chair Larry Abell and Corresponding Secretary Elaine Lawton attended a Sept. 10 mixer at the French-American Chamber of Commerce in Washington. The event, Elaine reported, attracted 200, including writers, artists and college-age people – “a great opportunity” to make connections and educate people about W3R-US. The overall focus, Larry said, was the partnership between France and the United States, including the Trail and the U.S. role in World War I. Dialogue is expected to continue, he said.
Leadership Gallery: The W3R-US Web site is being updated, with additions including a gallery to help visitors learn more about the people who make our Association happen. If you are involved in leadership, please check out your entry; if any of your information is missing or incomplete, or you don’t like your picture or don’t have a picture, please contact Executive Director Ellen von Karajan.
Countdown to 2026: Trail Administrator Johnny Carawan’s next monthly session will be online at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3, topic to be announced.
Online Store Open for Business
Director Sam Meredith, Chair of the Earned Income Committee, reports that the new W3R-US online store is open for business but had no sales through early July. Suggestions for merchandise should be sent to Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org
To visit the online store: https://w3rus.qbstores.com/a/login
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 monthly. Hours include meetings, phone calls, advocacy, research, planning, events, travel and the Bike and Kayak Tour, among other items, both national and state/local. Sam’s template includes space for donations in kind (office space and computer use, for example, even if not reported on your tax returns). 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 suggestions, favorable comments and other kind words. To keep up with all news of our Association, please check our Web site regularly: www.w3r-us.org
State leaders are invited to provide information (by the end of each month for the following month’s edition) about their activities, which will be presented in a separate section of The Bulletin. (Please see the reports from Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey, below.)
Your comments, suggestions and questions are welcome. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
– Jeff Canning, National Recording Secretary
Delaware: The Old Swedes Church of Wilmington and W3R-DE are analyzing a potential event involving a parade through the city in 2023, along the Trail, led by members of the 1st Rhode Island Regiment and our new Urban Youth Revolutionary War Color Guard. The goal would be to continue to arouse diverse city students’ interest in American history. Various city organizations would be invited to participate. If any of you have ever worked with this unit, please send me their contact information: email@example.com
W3R-DE is assisting the new Brandywine Village Charter School, Urban Promise Academy, in creating a November Veterans Day assembly for the inner-city students. Julie Diddell has assisted us in reaching out to the 1st Rhode Island Regiment in Trenton, NJ. The regiment is preparing a potential budget for its pending trip to Wilmington in 2022. Sal Lilienthal, who led the August Bike and Kayak Tour, has offered Delaware suggestions on a summer 2022 inner-city student kayak adventure where the Brandywine River intersects with the Trail.
– Bill Conley, State Chair
Maryland: National Chair Larry Abell is pleased to announce that Ellen Moyer, former mayor of Annapolis, and William Ridgely Sr. of Colonial Tours of Annapolis will serve as co-chairs of the W3R-MD group, and Barbara Hopkins as secretary.
W3R-MD participated in the Bike and Kayak Tour in August, providing re-enactors for photo opportunities at the Washington Monument and Lafayette statue in Baltimore and the Maryland State House in Annapolis. The latter was followed by lunch at the historic Middleton Tavern.
W3R-MD is working on coordinating a painting of the French army fording the Patapsco River.
– Robert E. Reyes, W3R-Maryland
New Jersey: The 240th anniversary commemorative celebrations in New Jersey are in the rear-view mirror and the W3R-NJ board is making plans for our work in 2022 and beyond.
Those plans include supporting our partners at historic sites like the 1719 Trent House Museum, the Millstone Preservation Coalition and others. Working with W3R-US/W3R-NJ member organization Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area and its Executive Director Janice Selinger provides W3R-NJ support for broad-reaching promotion of our specific mission and events related to the French-American alliance and the march to Yorktown.
“Crossroads is such a progressive, energetic and creative organization which has the resources to supplement W3R-NJ’s grassroots efforts and has been very helpful and responsive to requests to participate in our events. I’m looking forward to our continued partnership,” said W3R-NJ Chair Julie Diddell. To learn more about Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area, please click here to visit its Web site: Crossroads of the American Revolution.
W3R-NJ congratulates Leadership Council members Brad Fay, Beverly Mills, Elaine Buck and Sam Stephens, who have been recognized by Preservation New Jersey for the 2021 New Jersey Historic Preservation Awards. Their energy and enthusiasm are inspiring. “Working together at our 2021 events and our advocacy efforts, W3R-NJ, the awardees, Crossroads of the American Revolution and our other partners, we have made the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail in New Jersey a prominent historic resource in the minds of the public and policy makers,” Julie said.
1. The March of America’s Diverse Army to Yorktown in 1781, organized by Brad, Beverly and Elaine.
2. The William Trent House Association, which supports and manages an important Trail site in New Jersey, where Sam, a trustee of the Association, is always hard at work.
The full announcement: https://www.preservationnj.org/the-2021-new-jersey-historic-preservation/
– Julie Diddell, State Chair █