Marquis de Lafayette


Marquis de Lafayette Famous memorial

Original Name Marie-Joseph du Motier
Chavaniac-Lafayette, Departement de la Haute-Loire, Auvergne, France
Death 20 May 1834 (aged 76)
Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Burial Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Memorial ID 1641 View Source

Revolutionary War Continental Army Major General. After the outbreak of the Revolutionary War in North America, he offered his services to the colonists, and refused to take any pay for his services while spending much of his own money to outfit the American Colonial Army with shoes and clothing. Born Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier in France to a military father who was killed when he was two, at age twelve, his mother passed away and a few weeks later his wealthy grandfather. He was left a very rich young orphan. He entered the Royal Army at age fourteen and was married at sixteen to Marie de Noailes a member of the wealthiest family in France who was related directly to the King. When the English colonies in America declared their independence, Lafayette, in the style of a soldier of fortune, decided to participate. He bought a ship, fitted in for a journey to America and with eleven other officers was ready for the trip. However, the king of France ordered his ship the 'Victory, seized and had Lafayette arrested. The Victory escaped to a Spanish port and the arrested Lafayette soon escaped joining the crew and ship in Spain. Upon arrival, his services were accepted and was made a Major General. He was severely wounded in a battle near Philadelphia. Recovered- with only three thousand poorly trained men, he marched against British General Charles Cornwallis in Virginia with great success. In the last battle of the Revolution fought at Yorktown against a fortified Cornwallis, Lafayette surrounded him while the French fleet sailed up Chesapeake Bay and blocked any escape by sea forcing the British General to surrender. Independence secured, Lafayette returned to France only to journey back making a triumphal visit traveling through ten states of the Union and then staying with George Washington at Mount Vernon. Again, years later with James Monroe as President, Congress invited him back and a delighted Lafayette visited each state of the Union while Congress voted to give him $200,000 as well as land in Florida and Louisiana. He died ten years later and was buried beside his wife. The grave was sprinkled with earth from the United States and an American flag flies daily beside the site. When American troops arrived in France during World War I, they were heard to cry 'Lafayette, We Are Here!.' Buildings, streets and towns have been named in honor of the General across American, but Washington has the most significant in Lafayette Square. It is a seven-acre park located directly north of the White House which was at one time part of the grounds surrounding the Executive Mansion. The Square was separated from the White House grounds in 1804 when President Thomas Jefferson had Pennsylvania Avenue cut through. Twenty years later it was officially named in honor of General Lafayette. Erected at its four corners are statues of foreign Revolutionary War heroes: France has two: General Marquis Gilbert de Lafayette and Major General Comte Jean de Rochambeau - Poland General Thaddeus Kosciuszko and Prussia Major General Baron Frederich Wilhelm von Steuben.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 1641
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Marquis de Lafayette (6 Sep 1757–20 May 1834), Find a Grave Memorial ID 1641, citing Picpus Cemetery, Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France ; Maintained by Find a Grave .