IntroductionIt is quite possible that the American colonist would have lost the American Revolutionary War had it not been for the assistance of Marquis de Lafayette; a French military officer who fought besides the Americans in their battle for independence. He sympathized with the American's fight for freedom and joined the Continental Army as a major general. He even paid his own way to America since the Continental Congress did not have the funds to bring him there. Below are more interesting facts, written for kids and adults, about this famous American Revolutionary War General. This information is written as a sort of timeline with information on how he helped the Americans win the Revolution and what battles he fought in. On this page we focus on facts about General Marquis de Lafayette as an American Revolutionary War general; however this is only part of the biography of this man's life as he also played important roles in the French Revolution (1789) and the July Revolution (1830).
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Interesting General Lafayette Facts
- Marquis de Lafayette was born on September 6th of 1757 in Chavaniac, France. He was born into a very wealthy family.
- His wife was Marie Adrienne Francoise de Noailles. They had two daughters Anastasie and Virginie and one son who they named Georges Washington in honor of the American commander and chief.
- Lafayette arrived in America on June 13th of 1777. His ship landed near Georgetown, South Carolina and he eventually made his way to Americas capital at that time; Philadelphia.
- The Continental Congress commissioned Lafayette as a major general in the Continental Army on July 31st of 1777.
- Lafayette met General George Washington on August 5th of 1777 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Lafayette was immediately impressed with Washington and Washington liked Lafayette's enthusiasm.
- On September 11th of 1777 Lafayette saw his first action of the American Revolutionary War at the Battle of Brandywine. He was shot in the leg but refused treatment until he was able to help organize an orderly retreat. It would take him two months to recuperate from the wound.
- General Marquis de Lafayette camped at Valley Forge with Washington's troops during the brutal winter of 1777 - 1778 in which thousands of soldiers died; mostly from illness.
- Between his first battle, the Battle of Brandywine, and his last of the America Revolution, Yorktown, he participated in the Battle of Gloucester, the Battle of Barren Hill, the Battle of Rhode Island, and the Battle of Green Spring.
- He returned to France in January of 1779 where he unsuccessfully attempted to persuade France to invade Britain. He returned to America in April of 1780 where he was greeted in Boston as a returning hero.
- On his return to America he discovered that the Revolution was not going well for the Americans, especially in the southern colonies. Lafayette played a crucial role in arranging for increased aid from France which would eventually help turn the tide of the war.
- George Washington ordered General Lafayette to go to Virginia and take over military command of that colony; Lafayette obeyed the command but was not happy with the order thinking he was being positioned in a spot where little action would occur. He was not aware of Washington's plan to corner the British troops in Virginia.
- Under increasing pressure from American forces in the south the British led by General Cornwallis moved to the coastal city of Yorktown, Virginia in August of 1781 where they hoped to receive reinforcements and supplies from the British navy. Lafayette set up artillery positions surrounding Yorktown.
- With the arrival of additional American and French forces to assist Lafayette and with the French Navy blocking British ships from assisting the British troops in Yorktown Cornwallis was forced to surrendered. The surrender took place on October 19th of 1781; this basically ended the American Revolution.
Conclusion - General Marquis de Lafayette Facts
- Lafayette returned to France on December 18th of 1781 to a hero's welcome.
- Lafayette died on May 20th of 1834 at the age of 76 in Paris, France. United States President Andrew Jackson had both houses of Congress draped in black for thirty days while members of Congress wore mourning badges.
- There are many memorials to this famous American Revolutionary War General throughout the United States including Lafayette Square Park near the White House in Washington D.C.