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No Pamphlet or Ticket
February 10th, 2008
The statue depicts Jean-Baptiste-Donatien de Vimeur Baron von Rochambeau (1725-1807).. It's located at the SW corner of Lafayette Park, on Pennsylvania Avenue, across of the White House. It was erected 1902 and sculpted by Fernand Hamar. This statue is a replica; the original was made for France.
Baron von Rochambeau was a French Army Commander who served alongside of George Washington during the Revolutionary War. He was so good an officer for France that at age 22 he was promoted to Colonel. It was at the age of 55 when he was called to help America during the Revolutionary War. He was about ready to retire then... and had reached the rank of Lieutenant General. During the War he served in Newport RI, where he was basically inactive but stayed because the French had been blockaded. Later, he followed the celebrated march of the combined forces to Yorktown, where on September 22, his forces and others formed a junction with the troops of Lafayette; as the result Cornwallis was forced to surrender. After the war he returned to France where he was regarded in high esteem.
The inscription on the statue quotes a portion of a letter that George Washington wrote to Rochambeau on February 1, 1784: "We have been contemporaries and fellow Labourers in the cause of liberty and we have lived together as brothers should do in the harmonious friendship - Washington to Rochambeau February 1, 1784". After the statue was erected, people thought it had been a gift from France but it wasn't; it was paid for by Congress. So a Senator wrote the sculptor, and an addition was added to the only available spot - the curved part of the base - and it says " By The Congress/ May XXIV MDCCCCII". Some sites claim it was a gift of France; I guess this is a matter of semantics... it may be the French allowed it but Congress paid for it. Either way, a delegation came from France for the unveiling.
This is a free attraction.
Above: Statue of Jean-Baptiste-Donatien de Vimeur Baron von Rochambeau