Wethersfield in Hartford County, Connecticut — The American Northeast (New England)
Washington – Rochambeau Revolutionary Route
French General Jean Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau, and thousands of French ground and naval forces arrived in Newport in July of 1780 to assist the Americans in the War for Independence. After wintering in Newport, Rochambeau’s troops marched through Connecticut to join General George Washington’s Continental Army just over the New York border. The combined forces moved down the eastern seaboard and confronted Lieutenant General Earl Cornwallis and the British army in Yorktown, Virginia. After a prolonged siege, Cornwallis surrendered on October 19, 1781, virtually ending the war and ensuring American independence.
This narrative panel focuses on the role of Wethersfield residents in planning for the allied Franco-American military campaign against the British. Another nine panels mark the French route south through Connecticut from June 19 to July 2, 1781 and on the return north October 23 to November 9, 1782.
The Wethersfield Conference
General George Washington's first meeting with the comte de Rochambeau was in Hartford on September 21, 1780, where they began to discuss a joint military campaign. After the French fleet under Admiral de Grasse arrived in the Caribbean, they met again, this time in Wethersfield.
The Webb House was selected as the place for a meeting on May 22, 1781. Washington and his officers arrived early and established their headquarters in the house on Saturday, May 19. The next day, they attended services at the Meeting House, which is now First Church of Christ Congregational.
The comte de Rochambeau, and his officers, including the chevalier de Chastellux, arrived around noon on Monday, May 21 and stayed at the Stillman Tavern. That evening, Governor Jonathan Trumbull, Jeremiah Wadsworth, Washington and his staff, and their French guests attended a concert given in their honor at the Meeting House.
The two delegations met at the Webb House the next day, Tuesday, May 22. "Fixed with count de Rochambeau the plan of Campaign," Washington wrote in his diary. That night, Trumbull, Wadsworth, Washington, Rochambeau and others enjoyed a celebratory dinner at Stillman's Tavern. The next day, Wednesday, May 23, Rochambeau and his officers went to Hartford. Washington remained at the Webb House to write letters.
Silas Deane (1737-1789) was Wethersfield's representative to the Connecticut General Assembly and one of Connecticut's delegates to the Continental Congress. In the spring of 1776, the Committee of Secret Correspondence sent Deane to France as an official but secret agent. In a letter to his wife Elizabeth before
In France, Deane enlisted officers and obtained military supplies for the American Army. After the Declaration of Independence, Congress appointed Deane, Benjamin Franklin, and Arthur Lee to negotiate a written alliance. On February 6, 1778, they signed treaties of Friendship and Alliance with France, the first country to recognize the United States as an independent nation. Courtesy of the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum Continental Congress:
The name of the federal legislature during the American Revolution and immediately following it. The First Continental Congress in 1774 consisted of permanent committees, including the secret committee that sent Silas Deane to France. General George Washington was appointed commander-in-chief during the Second Continental Congress.
Washington visited Wethersfield on three separate occasions. Having just been selected commander-in-chief by the Continental Congress, he was on his way in June 1775 to take command of the militia outside Boston. He and General Charles Lee stopped at Silas Deane's house for a meal with Elizabeth Deane and Jeremiah Wadsworth. He passed through Wethersfield on his way to meet Rochambeau in Hartford in September 1780. He stayed
Comte de Rochambeau
Comte de Rochambeau had a distinguished career in the French army before coming to the aid of the colonies. France wanted to diminish England as a world power. Rochambeau was originally asked to lead an invasion of England in the early years of the American Revolution. When that plan was aborted, he took on the leadership of the Expédition Particulière, the name given by the French to the campaign in America. In this portrait, he is wearing the Eagle Insignia of the Society of the Cincinnati. Courtesy of the Independence National Historical Park
Engaging the British
According to Washington's correspondence before and after the Wethersfield Conference, he considered the recapture of New York City a primary goal. Rochambeau insisted on waiting for the French fleet. He marched his army across the Connecticut River between June 19 and July 2, 1781 and waited with the Continental Army in what is now White Plains, New York, until mid-August. When de Grasse sent word that his fleet was heading for Chesapeake Bay, the combined forces headed for Yorktown, Virginia.
Marker series. This marker is included in the The Washington-Rochambeau Route marker series.
Location. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 222 Main Street, Wethersfield CT 06109, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Webb House (within shouting distance of this marker); Society of the Cincinnati (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Webb House (within shouting distance of this marker); Connecticut Constitution Oak (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Home of Silas Deane (about 300 feet away); Silas Deane House (about 300 feet away); The Old Academy (approx. 0.2 miles away); Rev. Joseph Emerson (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Wethersfield.
Categories. • War, US Revolutionary •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 21, 2011, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut. This page has been viewed 715 times since then and 33 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on August 21, 2011, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.