The National Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association is the national partner of the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail. A 501(c)3 organization incorporated in the state of Delaware, W3R-US commemorates the alliance between the French and Continental armies during the American Revolution and the hundreds of miles travelled to the victorious Siege of Yorktown.
The National Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association (W3R-US) mission is to partner with the National Park Service, W3R-US state, international and other organizations, historic sites, preservationists and conservationists along the 700 mile Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail (WARO), to initiate, coordinate, and promote programs that engage, inspire and educate the public in the history of the American Revolution with a particular emphasis on how France and the French people provided crucial aid to the United States.
The Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route was designated a National Historic Trail by Congress in March 2009. This was a combination of many years of study and efforts of the national organization known as Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association (W3R-US) and its many partners in the United States and abroad.
As far back as 1925, attempts were made to commemorate the French expedition from 1780 to 1782, to no avail. On December 16, 1999, nearly 50 representatives from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut met to organize the W3R-US. On June 29, 2000, H.R.4794 was introduced before Congress. The Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Heritage Act of 2000 directed the Secretary of the Interior to conduct and submit a resource study of the 600-mile route through Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia, used by George Washington and General Rochambeau during the American Revolutionary War.
This bill was the result of the extensive efforts by the early members of the W3R-US and its state chapters. On April 8, 2003, the National Park Service recommended that a proposal for the route as a National Historic Trail be developed and presented to Congress. This bill passed both the House and Senate in March 2007. Though delayed, the bill was adopted by Congress in January 2009. On Monday, March 30, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into the Omnibus Public Land Management Act. Sec. 5204, which designates the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route as a National Historic Trail.
Activities of the W3R-US
Today, the W3R-US is engaged in a broad range of activities to interpret, preserve, and commemorate the alliance between the French and Continental armies during the American Revolution and the hundreds of miles travelled to the victorious Siege of Yorktown.
W3R-US and/or W3R state chapters have supported a wide array of activities, including but not limited to:
- Completed searches in six states for documents related to the French Expeditionary Force and its activities in the United states during 1780-83
- Published historical summaries on existing buildings that were present along the route or at campsites in 1781-83
- Created maps of the historic march routes in states
- Placed many wayfinding signs to mark the route and interpretive signs to tell the story in multiple states
- Developed educational material in the form of lectures, talks, exhibits, brochures, Web site, interpretive signs, booklets
- Organized and developed local and multi-state activities along the route
- Partnered with the National Park Service (NPS) efforts and supported the NHT mission
The W3R-US continues to work with federal, state, local, private, and international entities to expand the interpretation, educational outreach and preservation of the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail.