Lafayette’s Sentimental Journey: 1824-25

Presidential History Blog

The Marquis de Lafayette was only nineteen when he was appointed Major General in the American Continental Army.

The Marquis: A Quick Background:

The Marquis Gilbert (with a pile of middle names) de Lafayette (1757-1834) was one of the wealthiest noblemen in France, orphaned early in life, and raised as a ward of the King. As such, he was well educated, including military training.

While still in his teens, he was infected by a passionate love of American independence. He outfitted his own ship, recruited a contingent of soldiers at his own expense, and sailed to America to volunteer. Arriving in Philadelphia in 1777, the 19-year-old Frenchman announced his “availability to Congress.” When he also advised that he and his men were volunteering and expected no pay, Congress was impressed enough to send him to General George Washington in Massachusetts.

George Washington and Lafayette at Valley Forge

It is assumed…

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