Saving the Battlefields Where America Was Forged

A Project of the Civil War Trust |  civilwar.org

Gilbert du Motier, "Marquis de Lafayette" (1757-1834) Betsy Ross Flag

French Aristocrat, General

Marquis de Lafayette

(Wikimedia Commons)

Believing the American revolutionary cause was noble and just, Gilbert du Motier, the Marquis de Lafayette, journeyed to the fledgling American colonies, and offered his military service to the Continental Army at the age of 19. With the approval of Congress, Lafayette was commissioned to the rank of Major General. As a member of his staff, Lafayette was practically inseparable from Washington, and the pair developed a father-son like relationship lasting the duration of their lives. Lafayette was skilled, heroic, and was paramount in successfully lobbying King Louis XVI for increased financial and military support. He is also credited for conducting a brilliant campaign throughout Virginia in 1781 which pinned General Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, eventually resulting in the British defeat there. Lafayette later became a member of the National Assembly in France, drafted the Declaration of the Rights of Man, and was hailed as a hero on both sides of the Atlantic.  He officially renounced the title "Marquis" during the French Revolution.