Washington-Rochambeau Route Markings in Virginia

This is a working page to be viewed by interested parties trying to determine the status of road markers in Virginia that commemorate the Washington-Rochambeau march to Yorktown in 1781, the French 1781-82 winter campsites in Virginia, and the route of the French army's march back north in 1782.

THE SIGNS SHOWN HERE DO NOT REPRESENT ALL THE SIGNS or markers along the route or that commemorate the French participation in the American Revolution in Virginia. There are some other markers, especially around Williamsburg and at Yorktown. Also, in addition to the historic markers, there are many simple road signs, with just the words 'Washington Rochambeau Route' that identify the route.
These latter signs are the result of Virginia having designated a "WASHINGTON - ROCHAMBEAU HIGHWAY" for specified portions of the State Highway System between Historic Mount Vernon and the Bicentennial Victory Center in Yorktown. The route is described in detail in Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia, 1980 Session, 9 January - 8 March 1980, Chapter 121, H 93 approved 15 March 1980.The Act calls for markers to be placed and maintained by the Department of Highways and Transportation "to indicate" the designated route. As of 22 February 2001, the state has not identified a point of contact to work with the National initiative relating to the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Heritage Act of 2000. This latter initiative is explained in a website referenced at the end of this page.

Comments and corrections are invited. Especially welcomed are jpg images of other such signs or commemorative displays. Send responses to:
Expédition Particulière Commemorative Cantonment Society.

This marker was placed in Alexandria in 1998. Located on Oronoco Street, close to the intersection with Washington Street. It is a Virginia historic road marker (E 106) that was paid for by funds raised by the Washington, DC committee of the 'Le Souvenir Français'. Note that the Virginia state markers have the Virginia's seal along with a letter and/or number code. At the end of this webpage is a link to a page that describes how the research was conducted to determine the location of the Alexandria French camps from a French army 1782 sketch map.
This marker is near the entrance to the Historic Mount Vernon, home of George Washington. It stands only a few feet away from a large, wood-framed display shown later in this page. Both appear to be gifts from the French government by way of the Franco-American Bicentennial Commission 1776-1976. Note the logo of the Bicentennial Commission.
This marker is located about 20 miles south of Mt. Vernon, and was placed there by Prince William County.
This marker is at the north of Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania County, VA. It is also apparently a gift from the French government by way of the Franco-American Bicentennial Commission. Note the logo at the top of the sign.
This marker is located at New Kent Courthouse (CH), in New Kent County, and is a Virginia historic road marker (WO 16).
Washington Rochambeau sign at Rt 1020 and Colonial Parkway in Yorktown. Image submited by the Manager of the Historical Highway Marker Program, Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Logo at the top of the sign indictes that is another provided by the Franco-American Bicentennial Commission. Ms Karen Rehm of the National Park Service at Yorktown has provided the text which does not show clearly in the above photo: "General Washington and the French troops under General Rochambeau began the siege of Great Britain's General Cornwallis at Yorktown on September 28,1781. Cornwallis surrendered his army on October 19 after a siege of 21days. The marking of this route is a gift form the French government. Committee of the Bicentennial 1776-1976."
An impressive new Washington-Rochambeau Route to Victory Display was erected outside Historic Mount Vernon in December 2004. It is near the medal, Virginia historic road marker shown earlier, and replaces a worn wood-framed display. The original display and the historic marker were gifts from the French government by way of the Franco-American Bicentennial Commission. The new display was made possible by a donation of the Virginia Daughters of the American Revolution and the cooperation of the Ladies of Mount Vernon Association. The display at Mount Vernon, next to the tourist bus parking, is of particular importance, as it is exposed to casual viewing at one of the most visited historic sites in the United States. See more on this project at New Washington-Rochambeau Route to Victory Display at Mount Vernon; and the May 2005 dedication of the Washington-Rochambeau Route to Victory Display at Mount Vernon.
The old display was one of two in Virginia given by the Franco-American Bicentennial Commission to provide an explanation of the importance of the march in context of the military campaign, and to illustrate the route's full scope from Rhode Island to Yorktown. The other display was located at Yorktown, near the State's Victory Center. However, it disappeared some years back and local officials have little recollection of it. Again, the the Virginia Daughters of the American Revolution took up the challenge and enabled the dedication of a new display -- identical to the one at Mount Vernon -- to be placed at the Yorktown National Park. See more on this project at October 2006 dedication of the new "Washington-Rochambeau Route to Victory" display near the Yorktown French Memorial.

At various points along the Virginia highways are markers like the one shown here. These have been put up by the Virginia Department of Transportation to guide visitors attempting to trace the route of Washington and Rochambeau along present day roads.

More images and descriptions of Washington-Rochambeau Route related historic markers can be found at a website sponsored by HMdb.org.

THE HISTORICAL MARKER DATABASE of The Washington-Rochambeau Route Markers at http://www.hmdb.org/results.asp?SeriesID=47

NOTE: One MUST SCROLL TO locate JUST THOSE [presently14] that are located in VIRGINIA.

More information on this historic march and the French Army in Virginia is at the following websites:

Page created 24 August 2000 by Expédition Particulière Commemorative Cantonment Society, Mount Vernon Cantonnment. Significant revision and updated 4 June 2010.