French General and Washington Protégé
Born into a noble French military family, a soldier at 13, and already rich through inheritance by age 20, the Marquis de Lafayette was inspired by the struggle for American independence to sail to America at age 19. Despite his limited military experience, he convinced American leaders to name him a major general, partly in hopes his connections would bring French help. Lafayette served with distinction under Gen. George Washington, with whom he developed a father-son relationship. Lafayette was wounded at the Battle of Brandywine (Penn.), stayed in the winter camp at Valley Forge (Penn.), rallied the troops at the Battle of Monmouth Courthouse (N.J.), and led the capture of a key British defensive work at the Siege of Yorktown (Va.). He also interceded with French King Louis XVI for additional aid. After the war he returned to France. There Lafayette barely survived the French Revolution, and was captured by Austria while leading a French army in 1792. Starting in the Summer of 1824, he made a triumphant year-long tour of all 24 of the United States, including 10 stops in North Carolina. Cross Creek was the first American city to rename itself for him, becoming Fayetteville, which he visited. He died of pneumonia in Paris at age 76.
- ‘Lafayette Farewell Tour’, The Lafayette Trail, Inc. <https://thelafayettetrail.org/> [accessed 18 April 2020]
- ‘Marquis de Lafayette’, Biography <https://www.biography.com/political-figure/marquis-de-lafayette> [accessed 18 April 2020]
- ‘Marquis De Lafayette’ <https://www.colonialwilliamsburg.org/explore/nation-builders/marquis-de-lafayette/> [accessed 18 April 2020]