French support for American Revolution honored with marker near Jamestown

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Col. Phillipe Roux, the French Liaison Officer to the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, stood alongside the road near where French troops from the West Indies landed at Jamestown in their bid to assist the fledgling United States in its war against the world's most powerful empire.

Roux read from prepared remarks, emphasizing the bond the nations have held since the U.S.'s birth, to World War I and World War II, to today in Afghanistan.

"I am honored to be here today to represent my country, " Roux said to a small gathering of the James City County Historical Commission and county officials.

On Wednesday the county unveiled two historic mile markers honoring the French committment to the Revolutionary War and the Marquis De Lafayette.

The text of each plaque reads:

French Troops

On September 2, 1781 3,000 French troops from the West Indies landed at Jamestown and camped in this vicinity on their way to the siege at Yorktown. Consisting of the Gatinois, Agenois and Touraine Regiments, they were commanded by General Saint-Simon. At the battle of Yorktown, Gatinois soldiers captured strategic Redoubt Number 9. Following the allied victory, French soldiers of the Royal Deux-Ponts Regiment, who also participated in the Redoubt Number 9 attack, established winter quarters near here from October 1781 to July 1782 before returning to New England with French General Rochambeau and General George Washington.

 Lafayette Visit

During his Farewell Tour of all 24 states in 1824 and 1825, the Marquis de Lafayette departed from this vicinity on his way to Norfolk, having visited Williamsburg. President James Monroe had invited him to tour his adopted country. Near here, during the Virginia Campaign, General Lafayette led American troops at the Battle of Green Spring July 6, 1781. Beyond military exploits, his intense lobbying for the American cause in France in 1779 and 1780 was a major factor in the French decision to send troops and a portion of the French fleet here both in 1780 and 1781. There would not have been a victory at Yorktown without this support.

Alain Outlaw, who sits on the James City County Historical Commission, said that Lafayette and Cornwallis clashed at a battlefield nearby the Jamestown settlement and later met again at Yorktown, the decisive battle that led to American independence. He said the mile marker program was first started in 1927 to recognize the historic nature of sites in the region.

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