225th Anniversary of the Washington - Rochambeau Revolutionary War Route.
Friday, June 30 through Sunday July 2, 2006
March to Victory Weekend- Ridgefield

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Connecticut History

Rochambeau’s Army in Connecticut

Reprinted from Connecticut Preservation News,        January/February 2003

Connecticut’s role in supporting Rochambeau’s expedition went well beyond simply allowing the column to pass through the state. Connecticut patriots such as Jonathan and Joseph Trumbull, Henry Champion, and Jeremiah Wadsworth were instrumental in arranging for the acquisition of draft animals, food, and other supplies for both the American and French armies, earning Connecticut the name "the Provisions State." Both civil and military officials participated in important strategic meetings, and the hostility of shoreline communities helped prevent the British from establishing a land presence from Long Island Sound. Finally, local historical traditions in a number of Connecticut towns assert that some young men, impressed by the size and scope of the French movement, enlisted as combatants and traveled with the French to Yorktown.

In addition to its military significance, the French march through Connecticut engendered a host of cultural and social encounters that left their mark on both sides. Local citizens flocked to see the spectacle of the French column, alive with martial music and sometimes stretching from horizon to horizon. People came by the hundreds to visit the camps, both to hear musical programs put on by the French musicians and to trade local produce for French silver. Local notables entertained the officers in their homes, while other officers visited local taverns. Officers were lodged overnight in private homes and inns as conditions allowed, furthering the social interaction between the French and local families. For their part, the journals kept by the French show them to have been interested, and often surprised, by their meetings with Americans. Their position as European noblemen made them see most Americans’ houses as rather poor habitations, and they found many Americans unsuitably tight-fisted in their dealings. Although to a man they deplored the conditions of Connecticut roads, they regarded the countryside as beautiful and intelligently cultivated. Imbued perhaps with the ideals of the Enlightenment, most were complimentary regarding the middling economic level seemingly enjoyed by most Americans, and they admired the plain and forthright conversation of their Connecticut hosts.

—Reprinted from Connecticut Preservation News, January/February 2003

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