230th Anniversary Commemoration
10-11 September 2011
General of the American Army, George Washngton [aka. Dean Malissa] and General of the French military expedition, Comte de Rochambeau [aka. John Beresford Welsh]. Between the two allied commanders is an American staff officer [aka. Ben Goldman] who performed as interpreter for the two allied generals, neither of whom were conversant in the other's language. The presence of the interpreter*, and themes addressed during the brief skits re-enacting ‘strategy discussions between the two generals, effectively conveyed the complex challenges confronting the Allied commanders as the epic Yorktown Campaign of 1781 was taking form.

* Historical records do not identify a specific individual interpreter. The role was likely performed by any of, or alternately, at least three staff officers. Washington had two known staff members who conceivably knew some French. These were Colonel David Humphreys, aide de camp to Gen. Washington; and Jonathan Trumbull, Jr., Secretary to the Commander in Chief at the time. On the 11 Sept., there was present from Rochambeau's staff Major General Marquis de Chastellux, who was often the principal liaison officer between the French Commander and General Washington during earlier planning meetings in New England.

This was the first commemoration of this event since the bicentennial Mount Vernon gala in 1981. This event was Washington's first visit home after six years of war and a special occasion where Washington and Rochambeau were to remain overnight in the same dwelling.
From Mount Vernon, the two allied commanders proceeded overland together to Williamsburg and launched their successful siege of the British general Cornwallis.
This event is now commemorated as part of the larger celebration of the WASHINGTON-ROCHAMBEAU REVOLUTIONARY ROUTE (W3R), which is now a "National Historic Trail". That ‘trail' is a network of land and water routes traversing nine states and the District of Columbia. It is designed to following the original path traveled by the French and American forces between June of 1781 and December of 1782. The 9-11 September weekend's event marked the 230th anniversary of a momentous occasion in history.
More information on the background of the strategic movement is covered at the webage link at the bottom of this page that describes the 1981 bicentennial Mount Vernon gala program in 1981.

The two day program included - in addition to full access to the Mount Vernon estate generally open to the public -- out doors demonstrations of 18th-century military music, and re-enactment troops drilling and encampment placements. Officials from the National Park Service participated in the commemoration program hosted by Mount Vernon. A special skit portrayed Washigton and Rochambeau discussing their concerns as so much was yet to be realized in the implementation of their daring strategic march from New York to Yorktown.

Return to TWO DAYS at MOUNT VERNON, 10-11 September 1781.

Further Information at:
George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens.
Dean Malissa:
John Beresford Welsh, Esq.
Ben Goldman:
Pamela White:

Page constructed 14 September 2011.