Visit of the Marquis de Lafayette to the United States
From July 1824 to September 1825, the last surviving French general of the Revolutionary War, the Marquis de Lafayette, made a tour of the 24 states in the United States. At many stops on this tour he was received by the populace with a hero's welcome, and many honors and monuments were presented to commemorate and memorialize the Marquis de Lafayette's visit.
- 1 Reason for the visit
- 2 The traveling party
- 3 Welcoming celebrations
- 4 General timeline
- 5 Detailed timeline
- 6 Honors received during the trip
- 7 1824: Visit to Monticello
- 8 1825: Conveying Marquis de Lafayette back to France
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
- 11 Sources
- 12 External links
Reason for the visit
The Marquis de Lafayette led troops alongside George Washington in the American Revolution over 40 years earlier. He fought in several crucial battles, including the Battle of Brandywine in Pennsylvania and the Siege of Yorktown in Virginia.
The Marquis had returned to France and pursued a political career championing the ideals of liberty that the fledgling U.S. republic represented. While the Bourbon constitutional monarchy had been in place in France for at least ten years, in the spring of 1824, King Louis XVIII was wheelchair bound and suffering from severe health issues that would prove fatal by late summer. Further, Lafayette was being monitored by the dying King. After the Marquis left the French legislature in 1824, President James Monroe invited him to tour the United States, partly to instill the "spirit of 1776" in the next generation of Americans and partly to celebrate the nation's 50th anniversary.
The traveling party
During his trip, he visited all of the American states and travelled more than 6,000 miles (9,656 km). Lafayette was accompanied by, among others, his son Georges Washington de La Fayette. For part of the journey, Lafayette was also accompanied by social reformer Fanny Wright. The main means of transportation for the party were stagecoach, horseback, canal barge, and steamboat.
Different cities celebrated in different ways. Some held parades or conducted an artillery salute. In some places schoolchildren were brought to welcome the Marquis. Veterans from the war, some of whom were in their sixties and seventies, welcomed the Marquis, and some dined with him. While touring Yorktown, he recognized and embraced James Armistead Lafayette, a free negro who adopted his last name to honor the Marquis (he was the first US double agent spy); the story of the event was reported by the Richmond Enquirer.
He left France on an American merchant vessel, the Cadmus, on July 13, 1824. Lafayette's extended tour began on August 15, 1824, when he arrived at Staten Island, New York. Lafayette toured the northern and eastern states in the fall of 1824, including stops at Monticello to visit Thomas Jefferson and Washington, D.C., where he was received at the White House by President James Monroe. Lafayette began his tour of the Southern United States in March 1825, arriving at the Fort Mitchell crossing of the Chattahoochee River on March 31.
- July 13 – Lafayette leaves France.
- August 15 – Lafayette arrives at Staten Island, New York.
- August 16 - Arrives in New York City landing at Castle Garden. See Lafayette Welcoming Parade of 1824 (New York).
- August 20 – Leaves New York City and travels to Bridgeport, Connecticut, stopping along the way in Harlem, New Rochelle, Byram Bridge and Putnam Hill in Greenwich, Stamford, Norwalk, Saugatuck (Westport) and Fairfield before reaching Bridgeport and staying at the Washington Hotel.
- August 21–24 – Travels through and makes stops in New Haven, Connecticut; Providence, Rhode Island; Stoughton, Massachusetts; and Boston.
- August 25 – Arrives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. During the following days he visits former President John Adams at the latter's estate, Peacefield, in Quincy.
- August 31 – Leaves Boston, travels through and makes stops at Lexington, Concord, Salem, Marblehead, and Newburyport, Massachusetts.
- September 1 – Visits Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
- September 2 – Visits Boston and Lexington, Massachusetts.
- September 3 – Visits Worcester, Massachusetts, and Tolland, Connecticut.
- September 4 – Visits Hartford and Middletown, Connecticut.
- September 5 – Arrives in New York City.
- September 11 – Celebrates the 47th anniversary of the Battle of Brandywine with French residents in New York.
- September 16 - Visits Poughkeepsie, New York
- September 24 - Visits Newburgh, New York.
- September 28 – Visit to Philadelphia with a parade followed by speeches at the State House (Independence Hall) under Philadelphian architect William Strickland's Triumphal Arches.
- October 6 – Lafayette escorted to Wilmington, Delaware, by the Grand Lodge of Delaware Masons.
- October 12 – Lafayette arrives in the District of Columbia.
- October 15 – Spends the entire evening at Arlington House, although he returns to his hotel in Washington D.C. at night.
- October 17 – In Virginia, Lafayette visits Mount Vernon and George Washington's tomb.
- October 18–19 – Lafayette arrives by steamer in Petersburg, Virginia, for visit to Yorktown for festivities marking the 43rd anniversary of the battle.
- October 19–22 – Lafayette visits Williamsburg, Virginia, and the College of William & Mary.
- October 22 – Lafayette arrives in Norfolk, Virginia, via steamer from Petersburg and spends four days there and in Portsmouth.
- October – Arrives in Richmond, Virginia, on a steamer from Norfolk. Edgar Allan Poe is in the youth honor guard in Richmond that welcomed him when he arrived.
- November 4 – Lafayette visits former President Thomas Jefferson at Monticello.
- November 8 – Lafayette attends a public banquet at the University of Virginia in nearby Charlottesville.
- Early December – Lafayette stays in Washington, D.C., visiting the White House, meeting several times with President James Monroe, as well as George Washington's relatives. Visits the Navy Yard. On December 8 and 9 he makes official visits to the Senate and addresses the U.S. Congress at the House of Representatives.
- December 15 – Lafayette is feted at the first commencement ceremony of the Columbian College in the District of Columbia (later renamed George Washington University).
- December 17 – Lafayette arrives at Annapolis, Maryland, at 3:00 pm, is received in the Senate chamber and visits Fort Severn. He attends a ball that night. He is formally received at the State House on December 20.
- December 24 – Lafayette arrives at the "Jug Bridge" crossing the Monocacy River on the National Pike east of Frederick, Maryland.
- January 1 – Attends a banquet hosted by Congress.
- January 19 – Visits Baltimore and leaves January 20 on a steamboat bound for Norfolk, on his way to visit the legislature of Virginia at Richmond.
- January 31 – Visits Perseverance Lodge #21 Harrisburg, Pennsylvania,
- February 23, 1825 - Lafayette set off on the southern leg of his tour. Because the route from Richmond to Raleigh was by carriage over poor roads, the traveling party was obliged to take the sandy "Lower Road" by Suffolk and Halifax.
- February 25 -- "On February 25, 1825, Lafayette granted Poulson's Advertiser, one of Philadelphia's leading newspapers, an interview. Lafayette recalled receiving his wound at Brandywine"
- February 26—Lafayette’s first overnight stop in North Carolina was at the Indian Queen Inn in Murfreesboro.
- February 27 - In the morning, Lafayette traveled about twenty miles to Northampton Court House (now the town of Jackson) where he met up with the official North Carolina greeting party  and stayed at Eagle Tavern in Halifax.
- February 28 - The party traveled through Enfield, North Carolina with a brief stop at the home of Joseph Branch and across the Tar River at the falls  (the falls are at present day Rocky Mount). They spent the night at Col. Allen Rogers's Tavern at Rogers Crossroads in eastern Wake County. They soon moved on to Raleigh.
- March 1. Lafayette and his entourage travel from Raleigh to his namesake town Fayetteville.
- March 2–3 – Stays in Raleigh, North Carolina: Lafayette is reunited with Colonel William Polk who fought beside him at the Battle of Brandywine where both were wounded.
- March 15 - Lafayette arrives in Charleston, South Carolina, and enjoys three days of balls, fireworks and reunions. The reunion in Charleston with Francis Kinloch Huger, son of his comrade Benjamin Huger, is particularly significant, since Francis had tried to free Lafayette from an Austrian prison around 1795.
- March 18 – Lafayette arrives in Beaufort, South Carolina, to a 13-gun salute and speaks to citizens from the John Mark Verdier House.
- Savannah, Georgia.
- March 21 – In a ceremony on Johnson Square, Lafayette lays the cornerstone for a memorial dedicated to Revolutionary War hero General Nathanael Greene.
- March 23 - The party travels up the Savannah River by steamboat and arrives in Augusta.
- March 25 - the party travels along the Milledgeville Stage Road to Warrenton, Georgia 
- March 26 - Lafayette continued on to Sparta, Georgia 
- March 27 – Lafayette arrives in Milledgeville, Georgia (the capital of Georgia since 1804)  where he meets with the governor, George Troup  in an elaborate reception and feast at the Capitol grounds.
- March 29 - Lafayette leaves the capital early in the morning, and reaches Macon, Georgia by noon. He then enters Creek Indian territory and visits the Old Creek Indian agency in Crawford County, Georgia.
- March 30 - Still travelling through Creek country, the traveling party spends the night in a bark-covered log cabins in present-day Chattahoochee County.
- March 31 – Lafayette crosses the Chattahoochee River into Alabama and stays in Fort Mitchell. After staying overnight at the fort, they begin their route west to Montgomery via military escort through Creek territory.
- April 3 – Lafayette arrives in Montgomery.
- April 4–6 – Lafayette's party boards two boats, the Balize and the Henderson, and makes its way over the Alabama River through Selma, through the ill-fated, newly platted capital city of Cahaba, and then meet with members of the French Vine and Olive refugee colony (from near present-day Demopolis). The party makes a brief stop in Claiborne.
- April 7 – Lafayette arrives in Mobile.
- April 8 – Governor Pickens accompanies Lafayette by steamboat down Mobile Bay to Mobile Point, where he joins an official welcoming party from Louisiana. He boards the original steamer Natchez (built in 1823) which takes him to New Orleans to continue his tour of America.
- April 11 – Lafayette arrives in Chalmette, Louisiana (site of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans). Remaining in New Orleans for several days of festivities, he lodges in the Cabildo (the site of the Louisiana Purchase transfer ceremonies in 1803).
- April 15 – Lafayette departs New Orleans on the steamer Natchez up the Mississippi River towards Baton Rouge.
- April 16 – After stopping briefly at Duncan's Point, eight miles below Baton Rouge, Lafayette is received in Baton Rouge for a reception and banquet, leaving just before nightfall.
- April 18 - Stopped at Natchez, Mississippi.
- April 28 - Natchez ties up for the evening at Carondelet, Missouri.
- April 29 - Visits St. Louis, Missouri.
- April 30 - Governor Edward Coles hosts Lafayette in Kaskaskia, Illinois, once the French capital of Upper Louisiana. Among the dignitaries were Pierre Menard and William Hamilton, son of Alexander Hamilton. A banquet was served at Colonel Sweet's Tavern and a ball was held at the stone mansion of William Morrison. Mary Panisciowa showed a letter written by Lafayette in 1778, from his headquarters in Albany to her father, a chief of a New York Indian nation. Lafayette's party departed shortly after midnight.:147-152:350-352
- May 4 – Lafayette arrives in Nashville, Tennessee.
- May 8–9 – The steamboat Mechanic, conveying Lafayette and party to Louisville, Kentucky, sinks on the Ohio. All passengers reach shore safely, but Lafayette loses property and money. The party is picked up the following day by the passing steamboat Paragon.
- May 11 – Lafayette crosses the Ohio River from Louisville to spend a day in Jeffersonville, Indiana. He returns to Louisville that evening.
- May 12–13 – Lafayette stays in Louisville.
- May 14 – Attends dinner and a ball in Frankfort, Kentucky.
- May 15 – Spent the night at the home of Major John Keene, five miles from Lexington, Kentucky.
- May 16–17 – Attends a military parade and speaks at Transylvania University and the Lexington Female Academy in Lexington.
- May 18 – Arrives in Georgetown, Kentucky.
- May 19–20 – Stays in Cincinnati, Ohio.
- May 21 – Arrives in Maysville, Kentucky.
- May 22 - Visits the historic Our House Tavern in Gallipolis, Ohio
- May 24 – Visits Wheeling, Virginia.
- May 25 – Visits Washington, Pennsylvania, dining at the Pioneer Grill (The George Washington Hotel) and staying at the Globe Inn.
- May 29 – Visits Braddock, Pennsylvania.
- May 30–31 – Stays in Pittsburgh
- June 1 – Arrives in Butler, Pennsylvania. Stays overnight.
- June 4 – Lafayette gives speech at Eagle Tavern, Lafayette Square, Buffalo. Lafayette follows part of the route of the still-uncompleted Erie Canal from Buffalo across New York.
- June 7 – Lafayette meets local Revolutionary War veterans at Silvius Hoard's Tavern, Rochester, New York.
- Bunker Hill Monument during celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill, in Charlestown, Boston, Massachusetts. He is accompanied by Daniel Webster, who gives a rousing speech.
- June 22 in Dover, New Hampshire 
- June 23 - Lafayette crosses into Maine at 8AM via South Berwick, Maine and spent the day in Saco, Maine and Biddeford, Maine.
- June 24 Lafayette stops in Scarborough, Maine at 7AM and then at 9AM was welcomed at Portland, Maine by Maine governor Albion Parris, Bowdoin College President William Henry Allen, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's father Stephen Longfellow.
- Sunday, June 27 — Lafayette leaves Portland early in the morning, passes through Saco and Biddford, and arrives in Concord, New Hampshire that same day. arrives late (~10 p.m.) in Claremont, New Hampshire.
- June 28—Early morning, Lafayette crosses into Vermont at the Cornish Bridge. He travels north, passing through Woodstock at 11 a.m., taking a stagecoach through the mountains to Barnard and Royalton, Vermont. He passes through Randolph; here he is said to have met a young Justin S. Morrill and eventual Senator Dudley Chase. He is escorted with Governor Cornelius P. Van Ness and others through Barre to large festivities in Montpelier that include speeches by Supreme Court Judge Elijah Paine and others. He spends the night in Montpelier at The Pavilion.
- June 29—Lafayette meets with women's groups and then departs Montpelier for Burlington, Vermont, arriving there about 11:00am. He lays the cornerstone for the "South College" building at the University of Vermont and gives a talk to about 50-60 students. He is entertained at the Grassmount estate. He departs 12 hours after he arrives for Whitehall, New York.
- July 14 - Lafayette attends a banquet held in his honor at Sansay House in Morristown, New Jersey.
- July 15 - Lafayette attends a reception at Waverly House in then Bottle Hill, now Madison, New Jersey, on his way to Springfield.
- July 20 – Lafayette visits Germantown and Chestnut Hill, near Philadelphia. He specifically visited Wyck Historic House and Cliveden.
- July 25 – Lafayette again visits Wilmington, Delaware.
- July 26 – Lafayette departs Chester, Pennsylvania, for the Brandywine Battlefield, ending the day in West Chester.
- July 27 – Departs West Chester for Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
- Late July – Departs Lancaster for Baltimore, Maryland, via Port Deposit and Havre de Grace, Maryland. Spends two days in Baltimore.
- September 6 – Lafayette arrives in Washington, D.C., where he meets the new U.S. President John Quincy Adams, addresses a joint session of Congress and celebrates his 68th birthday at a White House banquet with President Adams.
- September 7 – Lafayette leaves Washington and returns to France on the frigate USS Brandywine.
Honors received during the trip
Fayetteville, North Carolina, was named after him. The College of William and Mary on October 20, 1824, conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. Late in the trip, he again received honorary citizenship of Maryland.[a] He was voted, by the U.S. Congress, the sum of $200,000 and a township of land in Tallahassee, Florida, to be known as the Lafayette Land Grant.
1824: Visit to Monticello
In the summer of 1824, while Thomas Jefferson was making final plans for the opening of the University of Virginia, he learned that Lafayette would be arriving soon. He knew this meant that he would soon be reunited with an old friend and consultant that guided him around France when he was Minister there. They had not seen each other since 1789. Lafayette finally arrived at Monticello on November 4 in a carriage provided by Jefferson with a military escort of 120 men. Jefferson waited outside on the front portico. By this time some 200 friends and neighbors had also arrived for the event. Lafayette's carriage pulled up to the front lawn where a bugle sounded the arrival of the procession with its revolutionary banners waving. Lafayette, advanced in age, slowly stepped down from the carriage. Jefferson, who was now 81 years old and in ill health, slowly descended the front steps and began making his way towards his old friend. Jefferson's grandson Randolph was present and witnessed the historic reunion: "As they approached each other, their uncertain gait quickened itself into a shuffling run, and exclaiming, 'Ah Jefferson!' 'Ah Lafayette!', they burst into tears as they fell into each other's arms." Everyone in attendance stood in respectful silence, many of them stifling sobs of their own. Jefferson and Lafayette then retired to the privacy of the house and began reminiscing the many events and encounters they shared years before.
The next morning Jefferson, Lafayette and James Madison rode to the Central Hotel in Charlottesville in Jefferson's landau. They were escorted by mounted troops and followed by the local townspeople and other friends. After being greeted and honored with speeches they departed the hotel at noon and set out for a banquet at the University of Virginia which Jefferson was anxious for Lafayette to see. Jefferson had postponed the commencement of classes for the event beforehand. In the rotunda of the university with Jefferson seated between Lafayette and Madison, they enjoyed a fine dinner, complete with French wine which Jefferson had personally selected from the cellar at Monticello. It was the first public function at the University. After a three-hour dinner Jefferson had someone read a speech he had prepared for Lafayette, as his voice was weak and could not carry very far. This would prove to be Jefferson's last public speech. Lafayette later accepted Jefferson's invitation for honorary membership to the University's Jefferson Literary and Debating Society. After an eleven-day visit, Lafayette bid Jefferson goodbye.
1825: Conveying Marquis de Lafayette back to France
Lafayette had expressed his intention of sailing for home sometime in the late summer or early autumn of 1825. President John Quincy Adams decided to have an American warship carry Lafayette back to Europe. Adams chose a recently built 44-gun frigate (originally named Susquehanna) for this honor, and accordingly, as a gesture of the nation's affection for Lafayette, the frigate was renamed Brandywine to commemorate the battle in which the Frenchman had shed his blood for American freedom. Launched on June 16, 1825, and christened by Sailing Master Marmaduke Dove, Brandywine was commissioned on August 25, 1825, Capt. Charles Morris in command.
Lafayette enjoyed a last state dinner to celebrate his 68th birthday on the evening of September 6, and then embarked in the steamboat Mount Vernon on the 7th for the trip downriver to join Brandywine. On the 8th, the frigate stood out of the Potomac River and sailed down Chesapeake Bay toward the open ocean.
As he sat on the Brandywine ready to depart, General Isaac Fletcher conveyed Revolutionary War compatriot General William Barton's greetings as well as Barton's situation with respect to being in debtors' prison in Danville, Vermont, for 14 years. Lafayette promptly paid Barton's fine and thus allowed him to return to his family in Rhode Island.
After a stormy three weeks at sea, the warship arrived off Le Havre, France, early in October, and, following some initial trepidation about the government's attitude toward Lafayette's return to a France now ruled by King Charles X, Brandywine's honored passenger returned home.
- Lafayette was already a "natural born" American citizen via his pre-Constitution Maryland citizenship.
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Lafayette was very much against the Bourbon Restoration, including their excessive spending, and began to plot against the King, who in turn tried to monitor him closely.
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- http://files.usgwarchives.net/me/maine/sprague/journal/lafayette/sj2p206.txt General Lafayette in Maine Vol 2 page 206 SPRAGUE'S JOURNAL OF MAINE HISTORY
- http://files.usgwarchives.net/me/maine/sprague/journal/lafayette/sj2p206.txt General Lafayette in Maine Vol 2 page 206 SPRAGUE'S JOURNAL OF MAINE HISTORY "He, was then escorted to Cleaves' H ot-el in Saco"
- http://files.usgwarchives.net/me/maine/sprague/journal/lafayette/sj2p206.txt General Lafayette in Maine Vol 2 page 206 SPRAGUE'S JOURNAL OF MAINE HISTORY "From Cleaves' Hotel, he was escorted to the house of Captain Seth Spring in Biddeford, who was a soldier of the revolution, and in the battle of Bunker Hill"
- http://files.usgwarchives.net/me/maine/sprague/journal/lafayette/sj2p206.txt General Lafayette in Maine Vol 2 page 206 SPRAGUE'S JOURNAL OF MAINE HISTORY "On Saturday morning, at 7 o'clock, he was escorted by a numerous cavalcade as far as the village of Scarborough, where he was received with the same feeling of gratitude by the people, that had cheered him on all his journey through the States;"
- http://files.usgwarchives.net/me/maine/sprague/journal/lafayette/sj2p206.txt General Lafayette in Maine Vol 2 page 206 SPRAGUE'S JOURNAL OF MAINE HISTORY "and about 9 o'clock A. M. (June 24, 1825), General LaFayette entered the town of Portland."
- http://files.usgwarchives.net/me/maine/sprague/journal/lafayette/sj2p206.txt General Lafayette in Maine Vol 2 page 206 SPRAGUE'S JOURNAL OF MAINE HISTORY LaFayette left town Sunday morning about 7 o'clock without any parade and returned to Saco on his way to Vermont. He took breakfast at Captain Spring's in Biddeford, ... he set out for Concord, where he arrived the same night."
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