Here I am, my Dear General

l'Hermione at the South Street Seaport

l’Hermione at the South Street Seaport

So wrote the Marquis de Lafayette to General George Washington when he arrived in Boston in 1780.

While Lafayette won’t be making an appearance, if you go to the South Street Seaport, you will find an exact replica of l’Hermione, the frigate which brought Lafayette back to the US.  At 185 feet high, with 3 masts, 34 guns and a crew of 242, she is impressive. 

L’Hermione’s stay in New York is part of the celebration of Lafayette’s 1780 return to America. He had volunteered with the Continental Army in 1777 at the age of 19, and returned to France after being wounded the following year.  He then worked to secure the support of the French monarchy for Washington’s troops, and in 1780 he landed in Boston with a large and well equipped French military force which assisted the Continental Army at pivotal points, notably the battle of Yorktown.

The idea to re-create the frigate and Lafayette’s voyage was sparked in 1993, when a small group in France began raising funds and arranging the construction.  The culmination of their efforts came in April this year, when l’Hermione left Port des Barques, France, headed  to Yorktown, then sailed up the Eastern seaboard, calling at several ports.   She is docking in New York City through July 4th at the South Street Seaport, where you can visit the ship, peruse the traveling exhibit, or shop at the Heritage Village.  Later Wednesday evening catch a concert in Central Park, (combining hip hop and Mozart) or see “Les Demoiselles de Rochefort” in Battery Park.  For the full schedule of events, click  here 

On July 4th, from 10:00 to 3:00 l’Hermione will lead a Parade of Ships departing from Gravesend Bay, to New York harbor, and up the Hudson to the Intrepid  details here  

In case you’re wondering, Lafayette’s full name was Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette.

Happy 4th of July!

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