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for Rochambeau, Washington’s Ideal Lieutenant,

A  French General’s Role in the American Revolution

ROCHAMBEAU, WASHINGTON’S IDEAL LIEUTENANT, A FRENCH GENERAL’S ROLE IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

ROCHAMBEAU, WASHINGTON’S IDEAL LIEUTENANT,
A French General’s Role in the American Revolution

5.0 out of 5 stars

A very interesting book

By AR, retired school administrator on December 23, 2011

Jini Jones Vail’s Rochambeau, Washington’s Ideal Lieutenant is a well researched book whose central figure is the top commander, appointed by Louis XVI, the king of France, as leader of the military force (expédition particulière), who is sent to help the American Continentals win independence from British rule.

It is a fascinating documentation of the important and crucial role that the French played, both monetarily and militarily in the defeat of the British at Yorktown. The author does an excellent job of describing the prevailing conditions, and the life experiences of the participants at that time.

I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in American history to learn more about Rochambeau’s important contribution to the American cause.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars

A Great Read for All Ages

By Endler-Kirby on December 1, 2011

Jini Jones Vail has written a most appealing historical account of France’s General de Rochambeau’s role in the American Revolution. In the Preface (p.XXI) she says, “the research and writing of distant history is not an exact science” yet her scholarly research, evidenced by notes, glossary and bibliography, gives the reader a wonderfully readable historical account of the relationship between Rochambeau and Washington as the American War for Independence moves down the eastern seaboard to Yorktown, Virginia.

Though Jini Jones Vail’s audience must not be limited to “east-coasters” those who do reside along the eastern seaboard will find charming references to towns, homes and perhaps ancestors with whom Rochambeau visited. The past comes alive as do the personalities of Rochambeau and Washington through anecdotes and the personal correspondence between them. They have become men whom you might have or wish to have known.

Even knowing the final outcome of the war, it is its unfolding in this most enjoyable book that pushes one to turn pages to accompany Rochambeau on our country’s journey toward independence.

 

A Great Read for All Ages.

How I had a conversation with the Marquis de Lafayette

The Marquis de Lafayette converses in his native language with Author, Jini Jones Vail.  C’est moi! We met in Williamsburg  at a Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route (W3R)  Board Meeting.

How lucky am I for a lowly author to meet the world renown Marquis de Lafayette! I told him how I fell in love with his home, Chavaniac, and that I now have a bedchamber just like his when he was a baby. He must have thought I was a crazy, dazed American! Mais oui! Il a raison.

Meeting Marquis de  Lafayette at Williamsburg

Meeting Marquis de Lafayette at Williamsburg

Rochambeau, Washington’s Ideal Lieutenant

Hello this Labor Day Weekend!   Let me introduce you to my book
 
             Rochambeau, Washington’s Ideal Lieutenant, 
       A French General’s Role in the American Revolution
book cover frontI thought you might like to see what I worked on for 5 1/2 years, and below is a brief summary of the content. I hope that reading this account will whet your appetite to read the entire book. I have attempted to fill in what most history books of the American Revolution omit, the enormous part played by America’s first real friends, the French and the Spanish.

My friends tell me that this history book reads more like a novel than a dull, dry account and it’s a page-turner!  I love hearing this as we all know the ending of the American Revolution, but the real, true story that led to this conclusion, turns out to be more thrilling!

Beginning and ending with Rochambeau, my book traces his early life in the bosom of his military ancestors through his participation in multiple European sieges, recognition by King Louis XVI for valor in battle, and his late night summons from the king to prepare to lead an American expedition, a “special delivery” of French troops and hard currency to aid the revolutionaries.

Although Washington’s cause for liberty neared failure, upon his arrival in Rhode Island, Rochambeau was received with skepticism even as he placed himself under the command of General Washington, seven years his junior, an ocean’s distance from his king  and home

Over a little more than a year’s time Rochambeau and Washington forged a working relationship in spite of their differences in age, background, experience, and preferred military strategy.  Eventually they merged their two armies on the Hudson Highlands of New York having determined that without the aid of France’s navy, their mission to oust the British would fail.

Patiently waiting for events to fall into place, most importantly for the French navy’s arrival at the Chesapeake, Rochambeau, who spoke little English was thousands of miles from his normal supply lines, displayed patience and sound judgment in convincing Washington to take the final battle of the American Revolution to Virginia.

Rochambeau’s 700 mile march to victory in Virginia is laced with personal accounts of American and French officers and soldiers who braved the hazards and deprivations of their nearly three year campaign over what is now named The Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route, aka the W3R.

My biography/military history concludes with Rochambeau’s return to France, his involvement in the French Revolution, narrowly missing the guillotine’s blade, followed by the honors bestowed on him by king and emperor and finally his quiet retirement and death in the peace and quiet of his ancestral home, the Chateau de Rochambeau.

I wish you hours of true enjoyment learning about the birthing of America ~


Jini Jones Vail, Author
Rochambeau: Washington’s Ideal Lieutenant, A French General’s Role in the American Revolution

Tax time is finally behind us….

….. and spring is settling in over the Northeast Hills! Now, let’s have some fun!!
Here are my upcoming speaking engagements:

Date: Saturday, April 26, 2014
Time: 11:00 AM
Event: Annual Meeting Alliance Française de NW Connecticut.

PowerPoint Presentation:

Four Women in the Time of Rochambeau: A Queen, A Countess, A First Lady, A Camp Follower.

Where:

Woodbury CT Senior Center behind Library
265 Main Street S.
Woodbury, CT.

All are welcome!
Contact: Marcy Jackson: 203-263-40966

Date: Monday, May 12, 2014
Time: 7:30 PM
PowerPoint Presentation:

Rochambeau in Connecticut

Where:

Newtown Historical Society Booth Library
Community Room
25 Main Street
Newtown, CT

All are welcome!
Contact: William R. Brett, wrbmjb@sbcglobal.net

Date: Saturday, May 31, 2014
Time: 10:30 AM
Event: Mount Kisco History Extravaganza
PowerPoint Presentation:

Rochambeau Marches with 4,000 troops Across CT into NY(with concentration on Westchester Co., local area.)

Where:

Mount Kisco Library
Large Conference Room
100 E. Main Street
Mt. Kisco, NY

All are welcome!
Contact: mcctney@prodigy.net

The Custom House in Yorktown, Virginia

Its strategic location, long history and how it relates to General Rochambeau and your blogger, Jini Jones Vail
February 1
This sign marks the wonderfully preserved Custom House on the corner of Read and Main Streets in Yorktown VA. This historic structure has observed history pass by its front door for nearly three centuries. It is only a stone’s throw from the battlefield of the last pivotal battle of the American Revolution. It stands very near the site of the startlingly majestic victory monument raised tall to commemorate the Franco-American cooperation that helped to birth our great nation.In the early 1700’s the lot where the Custom House now stands was owned by Capt. Daniel Taylor. Since Taylor did not build on the lot, it was passed on to George Burton in 1706.After that it was decided that a Custom House was necessary for the mouth of the York River as Yorktown Harbor was the deepest, most navigable harbor between Charleston SC and Philadelphia, PA. Wealthy merchant, Richard Ambler, was appointed Collector for the Port of York. In 1720 he purchased 2 lots where the Custom House now stands, and in 1726 he purchased 2 more lots. He built the brick Custom House and he and his family lived in the wooden home that adjoined it.Toward the end of the Revolutionary War, in 1781, the British Army, under General Lord Cornwallis, occupied Yorktown and used the Custom House as barracks for their troops until the surrender of Cornwallis to Washington and Rochambeau on October 19, 1781.

The building was in the midst of war again during the Civil War. In 1865 the wooden residence to the right front of the building was burned to the ground. At one time thereafter, it is said that pigs lived in the ruins of the cellar.

For the next 40 years the Custom House served as a physician’s office, followed by various uses as school, general store, even  as a bank, barber shop, and housing for military personnel during the first World War.

In 1922 Mrs. Emma Leake Chenoweth established the Comte de Grasse Chapter of  the Daughters of the American Revolution in Yorktown. A building fund was created, and the Custom House property was purchased by the DAR from Mrs. Adele M. Blow, member of the Comte de Grasse. Chapter Fundraisers were held, such as bake sales stand a fancy dress ball. Plays were produced to secure the necessary funds to complete the purchase in 1924.

DAR member Mrs. Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans took over the restoration project and assumed the funding of it on her own. Final results included a walled garden, replicas of original dependencies, and basic structure repair. Finally the building was dedicated in November 1930 and has been open to the public on Sunday’s and holidays ever since.

In 1972 The Yorktown Custom House was designated as one of only twelve historic custom houses extant in the United States. This historic building served as protector of American citizens from 1779 to 1945. It is listed in the Virginia Landmark Register and the National Register of Historic Places.

Every year the Comte de Grasse Chapter of the DAR opens the Custom House to the public on October 19th, the anniversary of the winning of the 1781 Battle of Yorktown under the command of General George Washington and General Rochambeau’s combined Franco-American armies.

In the picture below  Jini Jones Vail, author of Rochambeau, Washington’s Ideal Lieutenant, A French General’s Role in the American Revolution, was invited to set up a book table on the Yorktown Day Parade Route in front of the famous Custom House. She was waiting for the parade to begin. It was an exciting time to be there as the Yorktown Day Parade marched by with all the Fife and drums, marching bands and the local Revolutionary War regiments in regimental dress.  Jini and her  husband, John,  had ringside seats for all the action on the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route ( W3R) that day. Jini was grateful for the kindness shown to her, a sister member of the US DAR Trumbull-Porter Chapter of Connecticut.  She hopes in the future to be able to return the favor at a Connecticut  DAR event.
February 1A

Over There, Over There!

Yes:  The French Are Coming, The French Are Coming!

General Rochambeau Statue

General Rochambeau Statue

Sung to the tune of the World War I war ditty, only this time they are coming to America, and they are friendly!!!

This statue of General Rochambeau stands in 4 places.  Do you know where? Who was the sculptor?

I know where you can find all these answers and more~ Read: Rochambeau, Washington’s Ideal Lieutenant, A French General’s Role in the American Revolution by me, Jini Jones Vail.