Friday, September 6, 2013
September 6 - Marquis de Lafayette
The Marquis de Lafayette was born Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier on September 6, 1757, in Auvergne, in south central France. At age 13 he became a wealthy orphan. In 1775, he supported the cause of the American Revolution and joined efforts to help the colonials fight France’s major enemy, England. When the Continental Congress could not pay for his voyage, he bought a ship, La Victoire, instead. King Louis XVI forbade him to leave France, and the British ambassador ordered seizure of his ship at Bordeaux. But in April 1777, disguised as a woman, he sailed for America, leaving behind his pregnant wife. To avoid possible arrest in the West Indies, he bought the ship’s entire cargo and sailed directly to an island off South Carolina’s coast. He served as a major-general in the Continental Army under Gen. Washington, was wounded in the Battle of Brandywine, served in the Battle of Rhode Island, and in 1781 blocked Cornwallis’ troops at the Battle of Yorktown while Continental armies prepared to battle the British to defeat.