See a Replica of George Washington’s Tent, Join a Dedication Ceremony, and Experience a French-Themed Living History Event
Newport, RI – August 2021 –America’s Revolutionary roots are embedded in Newport, Rhode Island’s history. On the weekend of September 10-12, 2021, visitors across Newport’s Old Quarter can experience this history through a series of weekend events. Explore a French-themed living history program, visit a replica of George Washington’s campaign tent, and attend a ceremony that remembers fallen soldiers. These free events are presented in partnership with the Newport Historical Society, the Museum of the American Revolution, and Trinity Church. The programs have generous support from the National Park Service Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail (WARO), the Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association (W3R), and the Kane Wallace Foundation. Details are as follows:
French Officers’ (1780) Grave Marker Dedication
September 10, 2021 at 2pm
Trinity Churchyard, Corner of Spring and Church Streets, Newport, RI
Trinity Church records indicate that three French officers were buried in its Churchyard in 1780. Only the grave of Admiral Charles-Henri-Louis d’Arsac, chevalier de Ternay, whose fleet brought 5,000 French troops to Newport, is currently marked with a stone. Newspaper articles from 1780 confirm that chaplains said prayers for the dead aboard French ships and performed the burial rites at Trinity Church with full military honors. The contributions of Lt. Augustin Benjamin Lavilmarais of the French Frigate l’Hermione and Major Pierre du Rousseau Chevalier de Fayolle, who was a friend and aide to Lafayette, will be remembered with new slate markers carved by Nick Benson of Newport’s John Stevens Shop. The ceremony will be conducted by members of WARO, the American Society of Le Souvenir Français, American Friends of Lafayette, American Battlefield Trust, and Alliance Français, with an anticipated presentation by the Ambassador of France to the United States, H.E. Philippe Étienne. The ceremony will conclude with a 21-gun salute by the Newport Artillery Company.
September 11-12, 11am-4pm
The Newport Historical Society will host dozens of costumed living historians to portray scenarios that illustrate what life was like during this turning point in history. Programming will take place at three NHS’s properties: the Colony House, located at the top of Washington Square, which will represent a French army hospital just as it was during the French occupation; the Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House, 17 Broadway, will showcase a local family as they prepare to host a French soldier as well as a ladies’ tea and discussions about French fashions; and the Great Friends Meeting House, 21 Farewell Street, where 18th century residents will highlight how this new occupation impacts their lives. Several living historians will interpret specific figures from the 18th century French army who were in Newport including the Marquis de Lafayette, officers from the Sossonais regiment, and a representative from the German regiment Royal-Deux Ponts.
The First Oval Office Project in Newport, Rhode Island
September 11-12, 11am-4pm
Join staff from Philadelphia’s Museum of the American Revolution for a weekend of living history on the lawn of the Great Friends Meeting House. Meet costumed historical interpreters and explore hand-made replicas of the sleeping and baggage tents that were part of General George Washington’s mobile headquarters during the Revolutionary War. Learn more about how the real sleeping and office tent, displayed at the Museum, was used as Washington’s command center during the war and about the guards and “military family” that made Washington’s life on campaign possible.
“On the eve of America’s semiquincentennial, these Revolutionary programs share our country’s history while highlighting stories about the origins of the Franco-American alliance,” explains Johnny Carawan, Trail Administrator for WARO. “We are also excited to highlight Newport’s substantial contributions to the American Revolution, while helping the public make personal connections to the Trail,” said Carawan.
For more details about this Revolutionary Newport weekend, visit the institutions’ websites: NewportHistory.org, AmRevMuseum.org and TrinityNewport.org.
About the Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Trail
The Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail (WARO) originates in Newport and is a 680-mile National Historic Trail administered by the National Park Service, which includes the land and water corridors that follow the routes taken by American and French armies under the commands of General Washington and Comte de Rochambeau to and from the siege of Yorktown, Virginia, a pivotal event in the American Revolutionary War. The trail traverses nine states: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, plus the District of Columbia. For more information visit: www.nps.gov/waro.
About Museum of the American Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution uncovers and shares compelling stories about the diverse people and complex events that sparked America’s ongoing experiment in liberty, equality, and self-government. Through the Museum’s unmatched collection, immersive galleries, powerful theater experiences, and interactive elements, visitors gain a deeper appreciation for how this nation came to be and feel inspired to consider their role in ensuring that the promise of the American Revolution endures. Located just steps away from Independence Hall, the Museum serves as a portal to the region’s many Revolutionary sites, sparking interest, providing context, and encouraging exploration. The Museum, which opened on April 19, 2017, is a private, non-profit, and non-partisan organization. For more information, visit www.AmRevMuseum.org or call 877.740.1776.
About Newport Historical Society
Since 1854, the Newport Historical Society has collected and preserved the artifacts, photographs, documents, publications, and genealogical records that relate to the history of Newport County, to make these materials readily available for both research and enjoyment, and to act as a resource center for the education of the public about the history of Newport County, so that knowledge of the past may contribute to a fuller understanding of the present. For more information please visit www.NewportHistory.org.
About Trinity Church
Trinity Episcopal Church, built in 1726 by master-builder Richard Munday and based on Georgian designs by Sir Christopher Wren, was the earliest Anglican parish in Rhode Island (1698). The bell tower, built in 1769, stands at 150 feet and leans slightly to the north. Restored in 1986, the interior has the original center aisle, triple-tiered wine glass pulpit. The pipe organ was a gift of Rev’d Dr. George Berkeley in 1733. The church’s first organist, Charles Theodore Pachelbel, assembled its 508 pipes. Individually decorated box pews reflect early owner’s tastes and three English stained-glass windows and two important Tiffany windows date from c.1900. Trinity Church was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1975.