13 May 2005 Dedication at Mount Vernon of the Washington-Rochambeau Route to Victory Display

On May 13, 2005, there was a dedication of the new "Washington-Rochambeau Route to Victory" display near the grounds of Mt. Vernon. An original display was erected in 1976 by a Franco-American Bicentennial Commission that no longer exists. Over the years the original display had fallen into disrepair. Through the generous financial assistance of the Virginia Daughters of the American Revolution (VADAR) a new display has been erected.

The dedication ceremony was attended by supporters and several distinguished guests. Pictured above at the ceremony are from left to right: Susan Adams Gonchar, Organizing Secretary General, NSDAR; Carol Pope Howerton, State Chairman, Washington-Rochambeau Route (W3R) VADAR; Patricia Hatfield Mayer, State Regent, VADAR. Guests for the occasion, M. Jean-Pierre Allex-Lyoudi, Consul General of France in Washington, DC; Lt. Col. Jean-Michel Millet, Assistant Military Attaché to the French Embassy. Mr. Albert D. McJoynt, representing the Expédition Particulière Commemorative Cantonment Society and Ruth Wilde Smith, Regent of the Kate Waller Barrett Chapter, VADAR.
  The outdoors ceremony was led by VADAR members with the assistance of the Mount Vernon staff. At the left, Dr. Dennis J. Pogue, Associate Director of Mount Vernon, oversees the ribbon cutting conducted by representatives of the French Embassy and the VADAR.
Following the ribbon cutting, a reception was hosted by the Kate Waller Barrett Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) in the Mount Vernon Inn. Mr. James C. Rees, Executive Director of Mount Vernon, joined the event and is pictured at the right with some of the Virginia Daughters.  
The Reception program consisted of a few brief talks by the Virginia State Regent, NSDAR; the Consul General of France in Washington, DC; and the representative of the Expédition Particulière Society. These presentations emphasized several themes:
  • For two days in September 1781, Mount Vernon was the Supreme Allied military headquarters during the famous Yorktown Campaign. That the ultimate allied victory was due to French participation is not sufficiently known by the general public. The Route to Victory display, located where it is – near the entrance to one of the most visited historical attractions in the United States, historic Mount Vernon, helps to expand the broader public's awareness to this important reality.
  • The original display erected by the Bicentennial Committee was a success, but as an orphan was allowed to deteriorate and soon was ignored – almost hidden as an eye sore to the landscape. Fortunately the Virginia DAR and the Mount Vernon staff rose to the challenge, and one can see that the display is again performing its mission. Special tribute was made to the late Mary Jane Davis, Honorary State Regent (2001-2004), Virginia DAR for her personal commitment to raising the funds for the new display.
  • Of particular note is the display's message that the Yorktown victory was the result of individual initiative and professional performance by certain key commanders – those whose images are on the display. Washington is a central figure – as the ‘généralissime', and is so identified in the French King's instructions to his army. Remarkably, this commander of a rebel army won the respect of his experienced allied military professionals. Washington was enthusiastically and eagerly served by his French‘comrades in arms' in this epic campaign of Yorktown.

The program ended with the Regent of the Kate Waller Barrett Chapter taking up on a Mount Vernon tradition and leading a series of 'Huzzahs' to each of the four commanders who made the Yorktown Campaign a success.
Virginia DAR daughters introducting the individual 'Huzzas' (left to right): Julia Carr for General comte de Rochambeau, Phyllis Kelley for Admiral comte de Grasse, Barbara McJoynt for General marquis de Lafayette, Linda Lyons for General George Washington.

The Bicentennial Commission also placed a 'sister display' to the one at Mount Vernon at the Yorktown National Colonial Park. This second display had totally disappeared by 2000. The Virginia Daughters expanded their project to replace this second display. In cooperation with the Colonial National Park, the Yorktown replacement display was erected near the French Monument on the Park grounds. The dedication ceremony was held on 19 October 2006, in conjunction with commemoration of the 225th Anniversary of the 1781 Yorktown Victory.

Links to Further Background Information:
Images of the New Display
Restoration Initiative of the display.
Photos by Phyllis Kelley, VADAR.    Page created 18 May 2005; revised 11 March 2008.