An Afternoon of High Drama in Newport, R.I. June 6, 2019

Part One: Outside the Vernon House
Part Two: The interior of the Vernon House
Part Three: The Re-Dedication of the Rochambeau Statue, Plinth, and Pyramid

 

My husband, John and I arrive in Newport about noon on June 6th where we meet our Connecticut friends, Nancy, and Patrick at the Yankee Pedlar Inn. Here is the first part of our visit. The other two parts will be posted soon. In this way the suspense builds!

Nancy Callahan, President of the Alliance Francaise of NW CT and Jini Jones Vail by the corner of the Vernon House

 

Part One: Outside Vernon House

It took me a few days to line up our first event on June 6, 2019. I have wanted to visit the William Vernon House, 46 Clark Street, since the early years of research and writing: Rochambeau, Washington’s Ideal Lieutenant. Every time I came to Newport, I found that the house was inaccessible as it was privately owned. Vernon House was General Rochambeau’s headquarters from July 1780 for at least a year before he marched to the Hudson with his 4,000 troops to coalesce armies with his commander, George Washington.

Vernon House is the ‘crème de la crème’ of dwellings to visit in Newport in my estimation. Even now, it is not a simple task finding the key to the house of my dreams. It takes a circuitous route to find an ‘entrée’. First I write to my friend, Mary-Gail Smith, President of the Alliance Francaise of Newport. I know that if anyone could help, it would be she. Certainly, Mary-Gail knows the one person who would come to my aid with the golden key.

It is she who will be feted today at 5:30 at King Park where the newly re-furbished Rochambeau statue, plinth, and pyramid stand in all their glory to be enjoyed in their perfection for another 100 years. Mary-Gail is the woman of the hour today. Her four years of fund-raising and travail are to be celebrated in a few hours.

I wait for her response, knowing how busy she is today. She sends me an email with a name and a phone number. This is how I find Mark Thompson, Executive Director of the Newport Restoration Foundation. He left me a note at the most helpful Laura of the Yankee Pedlar Inn who assisted greatly in the plan.

So, here we are, Nancy Callahan, President of the Alliance Francaise of NW CT and myself by the corner of the Vernon House. Do you recognize my Rochambeau necklace from an earlier post?

Nancy and I are standing below the copper relief bust of General Rochambeau in profile. We arrive a little early to take a couple of photos before we tour the house. The suspense is building as we will meet Mr. Thompson at 1:30 around the corner at the front door.

GUESS WHO IS ON CENTER STAGE

AT THE M*AR PHILADELPHIA?

OUR FAVORITE FRENCH GENERAL,
Rochambeau, who points to the Battlefield at Yorktown, Virginia. He stands at the War Tent with Washington and Lafayette October 1781

Jini Jones Vail with the Henri Le Grand copy of the Siege of Yorktown

Jini Jones Vail with the Henri Le Grand copy of the Siege of Yorktown at the newly-opened Museum of the American Revolution (M*AR) in Philadelphia. The painting was restored and framed by the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution and then presented to the M*AR for our enjoyment.

The above image represents my first visit to the M*AR in Philadelphia with my son, Rusty Dyer. This scene is in the atrium of the M*AR looking up to the central painting at the top of the stairs.

Rochambeau, Washington’s Ideal Lieutenant now available as an audiobook !

ROCHAMBEAU NEWS FLASH TO ALL MY BLOG READERS

 

Dear Friends, Family, Colleagues, and Associates,

I am pleased to announce that my book, Rochambeau, Washington’s Ideal Lieutenant is now available as an audiobook directly online through Amazon.com and Audible.com (see links below). It will soon be available on iTunes. Please use the links below to access the book and listen to a sample. I hope you will purchase the book for your audio library. I think you will enjoy it very much. If you are new to Audible, please sign up for a free trial membership and make my book your first purchase! I would love to hear what you think of it.

Tell your friends and family, especially those with an interest in Rochambeau, the Revolutionary War, George Washington, and The National Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association Inc. (W3R) and it’s National Historic Trail (see: http://w3r-us.org)

Best wishes and happy listening!

 

Jini Jones Vail

 

AUDIBLE                 AMAZON

 

Click here if you’re not familiar with Audible  

 

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

Step back in time and travel with Rochambeau as he rides through the night to the Palace of Versailles, answering a summons from King Louis XVI.

Sail with Rochambeau as he and his 42-ship convoy cross the Atlantic on an exhausting 70-day voyage to America.
Sit by his side as his carriage travels to meet with George Washington for their first face-to-face conference in Hartford, Connecticut. Enjoy the tension between the two generals as their strategy emerges.

Stand beside Rochambeau as he proudly watches his handsome French troops depart from Newport, Rhode Island, to begin their 200-mile march to join forces with Washington’s army above the Hudson.

Stand near him in Chester, Pennsylvania, as he watches an overjoyed Washington twirl his hat in the air on hearing that the long-awaited French navy under Admiral De Grasse had arrived in the Chesapeake. Ride at his side in the sweltering sun during the grueling trek from New York to Williamsburg, Virginia.

Listen in as he rallies his troops at the Battle of Yorktown. And observe how Cornwallis grudgingly surrenders his sword at the final battle of the American Revolution.

 

©2011 Jini Jones Vail (P)2018 Jini Jones Vail

What readers say

REVIEWS

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.

Just when you thought there were no more surprises!

The King of Spain should be remembered for his contribution to the American cause, without which we might have faltered!

Please go to page 309 in my book:

Rochambeau, Washington’s Ideal Lieutenant
A French General’s Role in the American Revolution

 

 

King Carlos III.

Carlos, King of Spain: Former king of Naples and Sicily and former duke of Parma and Piacenza; born Catholic into the House of Bourbon, the same family as King Louis XVI of France. He married Maria Amalia of Saxony, ascended to the throne of Spain in 1759, and reigned until his death in 1788.

King Carlos did not fully support American independence since he thought it might ignite an uprising in his own country, but he tolerated and supported covert aid beginning in 1776. After declaring war on Britain in 1779 he continued to aid the American cause in indirect ways while at the same time meeting Spain’s goals. At the request of Rochambeau and La Luzerne, De Grasse assembled the funds needed for the siege of Yorktown from Carlos’s subjects in Havana, Cuba.

Spain and its Generals on both sides of the Atlantic were most helpful in sending supplies to the insurgents in Massachusetts and in the Louisiana area as well. Spain has not received due credit for all it did to aid the UIS. I am making sure my readers are aware of their contribution.

Voila Another Frenchman who helped America behind the scenes during the Revolutionary War!

Do you know him?

Julien-Alexandre Achard de Bonvouloir

Once again, in the early days of the American Revolution, in the year 1775, Bonvouloir (even his name signifies a man of good will), served the American cause!

Let us remember!

Only a few months after the untimely death of Colonel Lee in Massachusetts in August 1775, Vergennes, “acting on the advice of his ambassador in London, approved the sending of a secret messenger to the American Continental Congress. Julien-Alexandre Achard de Bonvouloir was the man chosen for the job. His “mission was a major turning point in both American and French diplomacy.

When he reached Philadelphia in December 1775 he found as a ready audience the newly appointed Committee of Secret Correspondence. Between December 18 and December 27, Bonvouloir met three times with the committee  December 27, Bonvouloir met three times with the committee, including Benjamin Franklin, at Carpenters’ Hall.

The meetings went extremely well. The committee posed several leading questions to Bonvouloir, asking “if France were disposed favorably toward the Americans, if she would send them two good army engineers, and if she would sell them arms and war supplies in her ports. They also expressed their need of naval support. Bonvouloir gave positive responses to all their requests. In his December 28 report to Versailles he enthusiastically wrote, “Independency is a certainty for 1776.” When Vergennes received news of the success of the meeting, he “proposed a major shift in French policy toward the American Revolution.

There was growing excitement in France for the sake of American liberty. In response to the request of the Continental Congress to Bonvouloir, volunteers were encouraged to serve in America, and many answered the call.

This excerpt is from my book: pp. 35 and 37 Rochambeau, Washington’s Ideal Lieutenant, A French General’s Role in the American Revolution