Lafayette – Hero of Two Worlds

Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, the marquis de Lafayette (called Gilbert by his friends) was a French nobleman who, in 1777 at the age of 19, defied his king by sailing to America in to fight in the Revolutionary War against England. His bravery and leadership in the field, his loyalty to General George Washington, his generosity in spending most of his personal wealth on the American cause, and his success in persuading the French king to send soldiers and money were decisive factors in America’s victory. Lafayette’s brilliant command of the Virginia army enabled him to corner General Cornwallis at Yorktown and proved to be the turning point of the Revolutionary War.  Upon returning to France Lafayette continued to fight for freedom.  In 1824-1825 he returned to the United States on a grand tour as “The Nation’s Guest.”  Fayetteville, North Carolina, was the first town named for him and the only one that he personally visited.

Want to know more? Check out the links to the right.

Still curious?  City Center Gallery and Books (112 Hay St, Fayetteville, NC 28301 (910) 678-8899) has an extensive selection of books about Lafayette.  There’s even a comic book that was specially commissioned for Lafayette’s 250th birthday in 2007!

Would you like to have someone talk to your school or organization about Lafayette or the Lafayette Society?

Lafayette visited Fayetteville, NC, on March 4-5, 1825. The Carolina Observer (the forerunner of today’s Fayetteville Observer) ran the following extensive account of the General’s visit.

Observer Fayetteville

THURSDAY MORNING, MARCH 10, 1825

The pride of all hearts and the delight of all eyes, the illustrious American General Lafayette, arrived here on Friday evening last.

We cannot pretend to give a regular correct detail of the scenes to which his presence gave rise. The task were far above our ability. Such, however, as in in our power, we must offer our readers.

The general entered the town about 3 o’clock, accompanied by his Son and Secretary; the Governor of this State; Gen. Wm. Williams, of Warren, and Col. J. G. A. Williamson, of Person, who had been appointed by the Governor to escort him through the State, and Judge Taylor, of Raleigh, in behalf of the citizens of that place. He was escorted from Raleigh by Col. Polk’s fine troop of Cavalry from Mecklenburg, was met at the house of Robert Campbell, Esq. 10 miles from town, by the Fayetteville troop of Flying Artillery…