The National Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association Inc. (W3R-US) is the private sector 501c3 partner to the Washington Rochambeau National Historic Trail. This Trail commemorates the allied French and diverse Continental armies during the American War of Independence. It tells the story of the experiences they had as they travelled hundreds of miles to, and from, the victorious Siege of Yorktown in 1781 and 1782.
W3R-US’ mission is educating the public both about the Washington Rochambeau National Historic Trail, and the Trail’s context within the American Revolution as well as to collaborate with diverse trail communities and partners in stimulating economic development and a fuller, more inclusive realization of America’s founding ideals. W3R-US’s vision is that through a connected and conserved trail, W3R-US strengthens trail communities and expands the relevance of our shared American story today and for future generations.
The allied armies travelled by land and by water, to and through Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia (carved out of Virginia and Maryland in 1790), in the largest allied troop movement of the Revolutionary War.
The military, logistical and cultural significance of the march deserves recognition as a pivotal point in American history. W3R-US bears witness to the many roles played by African Americans, Indigenous people, many different nationalities, and women and young people on this Trail, as well as to the thousands of French soldiers and sailors, many of whom gave their lives. Without their sacrifices the outcome of the war could have been different.
To educate the public about the American Revolution, the Washington Rochambeau National Historic
Trail, and to collaborate with diverse trail communities and partners in stimulating economic
development and a fuller, more inclusive realization of America’s founding ideals.
Through a connected and conserved trail, we strengthen trail communities and expand the relevance of
our shared American story today and for future generations.
Heritage Conservation: We promote local history and tourism by supporting the preservation and
conservation of folkways as well as land, water, and historic sites along the trail.
Equity and Equality: We bear witness to the struggles of every race, ethnicity, gender, age group and
nation that played a role in the American Revolution in our narratives and trail community economic
development and infrastructure improvement requests.
Accountability: We strive to maintain a balanced and open culture that remains aware of its priorities,
mission, demographics, and people, provide data to demonstrate this and seek feedback for
Responsibility: We acknowledge cultural and economic barriers to trail access, seek to remove them
and strive to apply involving and sustainable principles to support the management and conservation of
history and natural resources in communities and waterways along the trail.
Tourism: We strive to increase equitable access to the outdoors and encourage efforts to improve the
economic vitality of communities along the trail through tourism and recreational and infrastructure
Support of Education: We educate by sharing history, knowledge and stories of the diverse individuals
who helped achieve independence during the American Revolution and the 700-mile march to victory in
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 700+-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.