July 4, 2003
Our goal is the creation and sustenance of the Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route, National Historic Trail, that passes through Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, and the elevation to a higher level the quality of heritage preservation all along the route. This newsletter tries to represent the point of view of the patriots who respected Washington and Rochambeau, the ones who, if alive, would be working with us to honor them.
SAR Transmitting Washington’s and Rochambeau’s Legacy
In Bolton CT., on April 17, 2000, Congressman John Larson agreed to introduce and to champion the legislation for the Washington Rochambeau National Historic Trail study. In May of that same year, Bolton, CT. purchased a 100-acre farm containing the 5th French encampment for a little more than $1.3 million. The Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution recently contacted Bolton and proposed installing a W3R monument. It will likely go on the town green until the Connecticut W3R visitor center and museum are built near the encampment.
The Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Study was authorized by Congress through the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Heritage Act of 2000, HR4794, (PL106-473). The purpose of the study is to determine if the route is eligible to become a National Historic Trail.
Thank you for your continued interest in the W3R all these years. It has been an act of faith, forging a line of events and places into a national historic trail that would make the patriots proud.
Hope for the W3R National Historic Trail Increases
Historians didn’t have the first profession: it is only the historical revisionists who make it seem that way. There is increasing hope that Congress will honor Washington and Rochambeau by 2006, the 225th anniversary of the march along the W3R, because the revisionists are beginning to converge on the truth which the SAR, DAR, and Society of the Cincinnati have been urging all along. So far none of the revisionist nonsense has made it into any of the Congressional reports. There are just a few conspicuous omissions. If you want to read what Washington and Rochambeau said they did, start with the CTSSAR web site: http://www.ctssar.org/revroad/news49.htm and the Library of Congress: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/mgw:@field(DOCID+@lit(gw300032))
If you want to read the representation the revisionists gave of what Washington and Rochambeau did, it is too late. They apparently withdrew the New York report from the internet. It would have been interesting to watch them squirm when knowledgeable congressmen and senators challenged their claims at W3R congressional hearings.
Notably absent from the NPS report is the theme of the role of General George Washington as military strategist and leader, and documentation that the W3R retains its integrity and has the potential for public recreation. Congress could designate the route a National Historic Trail if the National Park Service (NPS) does not waffle and propose a different management alternative. For more W3R background see: http://www.ctssar.org/revroad/contents.htm
The NPS report does not carry the revisionist contention that the decision to march against the southern British army was foisted upon Washington on August 14, 1781 by the French. It acknowledges that Washington seemed to have decided by at least August 1, 1781, not to attack NYC. The NPS report, while removing most of the revisionist nonsense still does not acknowledge Washington’s rendition of the Wethersfield plan.
Of course Washington and Rochambeau both refer to the Wethersfield Conference as the place they finally decided on a two-part strategy. Part 1 was to feint an attack on the British at NYC as a diversion and a means to build up and supply American forces with provisions from the northern states. Phase 2 was to then attack the southern British army with the support of the French army and navy. The CTSSAR site shows Washington’s orders in June of 1781 for General Schuyler to assemble the armada of small ferryboats to cross the Hudson River skirting NYC. It shows the letters to Lafayette where Washington specifically mentions the first phase of the Wethersfield plan was nearly complete, and the second phase was about to begin. It contains Washington’s diary comment that Schuyler’s boats were ready on August 1. It contains Washington’s August 2 orders to Robert Morris to prepare to commandeer an armada of boats between Philadelphia to Baltimore to ferry the troops to Yorktown.
Next we await the NPS environmental impact statement in February 2004, and then later a final report so that a Congressional designation of a National Historic Trail can be made in 2005 just in time for 2006, the 225th anniversary of the Washington Rochambeau march. Alas, with the revisionists backpedaling… the W3R National Historic Trail could be unanimously passed by Congress.