April 24, 2007
Editor Hans DePold, Bolton Town Historian
Our goal is the creation and stewardship 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.
A letter to Madam Speaker of the House
Before They Were Monuments They Were Men
General Washington & General Rochambeau were cast along with the Liberty Bell in the same fire of freedom. Their relationship was molded in Hartford and Newport, their strategy welded at Wethersfield. Their swords were wielded at Yorktown. But before they were monuments they were men. They led their soldiers with a delight in liberty, while their voices always remained the measured voices of civilization. The Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail does not commemorate a battle, it commemorates a journey that France and the United States took together as social freedom and national democracy first emerged.
We the undersigned support the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail proposal that the National Park Service has recently reported to the nation. The Route is 600 miles of history, winding from Newport, RI, to Yorktown, VA. In our opinion it is worthy of designation as a National Historic Trail. Let us celebrate the unprecedented Franco-American alliance and the superhuman efforts of Generals George Washington and Jean Baptiste de Rochambeau to preserve that alliance in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Let us create a National Historic Trail along whose course we can pause and remember these heroes and their journey through colonial America to its culmination at Yorktown. We support these bills before the 110th Congress; H.R.1286 and S. 686, Bills to amend the National Trails System Act to designate the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historical Trail.
This letter was signed by dozens of citizens at a meeting in Hartford on April 20, 2007 and Madam Speaker Nancy Pelosi liked it and took it with her back to Washington. Please send in your letters of support of the NPS report to the NPS as soon as possible. The deadline for accepting comments from the public has been extended to April 30, 2007.
Patriots are the True Liberals
As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.
Patriotism isn’t sentimental vanity, its national self-preservation. Patriotism is central to the survival of our liberty and our ideals. Our ideals light the fire in each of us to do all we can… and do it better than those who would now oppress and terrorize the world. Washington and Rochambeau knew they could do better, but only by working together… only by reaching out together. They were vastly outnumbered and out gunned, so to protect their warriors they only entered a battlefield when they were assured of victory or when they knew their exit strategy and would be able to withdraw quietly. They still command our attention for their devotion to country and their troops. These are the patriots who won our freedom at Yorktown. Now, it is for us, to come together for the common good, to shape the future by creating theWashington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail and make our future worthy of our past. Future generations need to understand the people who enabled the birth to our American ideals.
Today, more than two centuries after the march on Yorktown, VA, the ideals of our founders still resonate across the globe.
Today, thankful of the constant wisdom of Generals Washington and Rochambeau, and their constant courage and faith, the power in America rests securely with our people.
Today we need to remember them with this National Historic Trail so that Washington and Rochambeau will remind us and our children of the importance of our friends and allies who share our love of Liberty. We need to preserve the places Washington and Rochambeau visited and the vistas they beheld. Time is running out so please support the NPS report ASAP.
In The Beginning
If I left anyone out in what follows, please let me know immediately and I will ask that the web site be corrected.
Ann Rhinelander had an idea in 1994 that the five towns affected by a proposed expressway should form a group and document the historical resources that were affected. We called it the Intercommunity Historic Resources Committee (ICHRC). Arnold Carlson was the Coventry Municipal Historian and a good fried of Bob Selig. I was Vice Chair of the Bolton Economic Development Committee and also a town representative on expressway Study Committee working with Larry Larned, the Bolton Municipal Historian. Larry worked for the DOT and was a noted highway historian. Larry retired from the DOT and moved the next year and I then became the Bolton Town Historian. It was at one of the ICHRC meetings at Loraine Busque’s house (the White Tavern, Andover) that I saw Rice’s book and knew immediately that the exact camp site locations in Connecticut had been forgotten. My wife, Susan, the Town Clerk of Bolton was the keeper of town historic records. I discovered that the 5th Camp was on the Rose Farm (now Bolton Heritage Farm), not next to Bolton High School as the Town of Bolton had depicted since at least 1971. The Army Corps of Engineers wanted to put the expressway through the middle of the Rose Farm. I made side by side copies of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection’s topographical maps and the French Camp 5 map that showed conclusively that Camp 5 was on the Rose Farm and would be destroyed by the proposed expressway. Susan and I then sent the copies of the maps to the French Consul in NYC and to the French Ambassador in Washington DC and asked them to write to then Connecticut Governor Rowland and ask that Camp 5 be saved as invaluable Franco-American Heritage. They did just that and their letters made headlines in the Hartford Courant. Governor Rowland agreed, and the center of Bolton and Camp 5 were spared. The Consul also put me in contact with Dr. Jacques Bossier who chaired the Governor’s Francophone Committee and Jacques invited me to their meetings from then on. Sometimes Arnold, Ann, and Susan would accompany me to Jacques’ meetings.
I also gave copies of the maps to the owners of the Rose Farm. Richard Rose then contacted me and offered to sell the farm to Bolton to preserve Camp 5 and the center of Bolton forever. The Bolton Economic Development Committee liked the proposal and Rusty Kelsey (Chairperson) and I organized a meeting with town staff and Patricia Morianos and then proposed the purchase to the Bolton Selectmen. No immediate action was taken but Bolton established a committee to make recommendations for the purchase of open space.
The highway proposal quickly died but Ann Rhinelander, Arnold Carlson, Susan and I decided in 1996 to continue the ICHRC to press for state legislation to document the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Road. I chaired the ICHRC from then on and wrote the early 1996 and 1997 drafts of the Connecticut legislation with the cost estimates ($85,000) provided by Jack Shannahan (SHPO, Director). I also did the early research to provide correct trail and camp locations so our representatives knew the facts to support Connecticut documentation of the trail. I produced copies of Rochambeau’s map on parchment paper to be given to any legislator who would co-sign the legislation and to other citizens who actively supported the legislation.
In 1998, Russell Wirtella (Sons of the American Revolution), Serge Gabriel (Governor’s Francophone Committee), Jay Jackson (Society of the Cincinnati). Arnold Carlson, and the 2nd Dragoons joined me at the State Legislature to request that the W3R be released from committee and sent to the legislature for a vote. Captain Sal Tarantino and his dragoons were late because the security guards were alarmed by the strangely armed men that approached them. The Dragoons were stopped, disarmed of their swords, and questioned before they were released. Sal was allowed to speak before the legislative committee and they were duly impressed.
State Representative Pamela Sawyer then convinced the State Representatives of Connecticut to pass the legislation to define the route and underwrite the archeological surveys of all the CT camps. That summer, Jack Shannahan of the State Historic Preservation Office invited Arnold Carlson, Ann Rhinelander, and me to join him and Mary Donahue in interviewing the candidates to do the W3R research. We chose Robert Selig for the historical documentation and Mary Harper for the digs. That summer I also began the W3R newsletter.
That fall, as Bolton Municipal Historian, I called a multi-town meeting where the archeologists presented pictures of the 60 Native American and Revolutionary War artifacts they had found at Camp 5, proving it was Camp 5 was on the Rose Farm. That same evening we created the Bolton Historical Society and simultaneously created the original “Friends of The Rose Farm” to work to purchase and preserve W3R Camp 5, now known as Bolton Heritage Farm. That was our last meeting of the ICHRC. About 60 people attended including our State Representative Pamela Sawyer and our State Senator Maryann Handley.
Late in 1999 Dr. Bossiere informed me that Souvenir Francaise had decided to support the national W3R and I provided him with a list of the most active W3R newsletter subscribers in each of the nine W3R states. Souvenir Francaise invited everyone to a meeting at Washington’s command house in New York to create the first national W3R organization. Dr. Bossier became Chairman, Dr. Johnson became Executive Director and I became The Committee of Correspondence. The W3R organization met once and then began establishing state committees in each of the nine states. It changed the name from a Road to a Route and chose the logo for the route. The committee did succeed in creating several state organizations before it was reorganized into the current W3R committee in 2003.
Bolton remained in the forefront of the effort to create the Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail (W3RNHT). I sent W3R documentation and asked Congressman John B. Larson and Senator Joseph Lieberman to introduce the federal legislation to fund the National Park Service study of the entire 600+ mile route to Yorktown, Virginia. At the historic meeting at the Bolton Senior Center (arranged by Patricia Morianos)
Congressman John B Larson agreed to introduce the legislation. Also present were Jay Jackson (Society of the Cincinnati), Patricia Morianos (CT. Democratic State Central Committee), Jane Maneggia (President, Bolton Seniors), some of the Congressman’s staff and myself.
Congressman John Larson and Senator Joseph Lieberman introduced the first bills in March of 2000 to study the possibility of creating the W3R National Historic Trail.The bills passed unanimously.
Later that year Gwen Marrion began to put together that State Matching Grant open space proposal for the purchase of Bolton Camp 5. The tiny but highly placed local opposition to the proposal planned to defeat the $1.3 million Camp 5 purchase by putting it up for referendum along with an 8% tax increase and a $2 million Library expenditure. At the largest Town meeting in Bolton history. Patricia Morianos played a major roll in Bolton becoming the first community to preserve one of the French camps. The opposition had failed to get enough signatures for a referendum so the Patricia turned the tables and asked to put it to an immediate town vote. Bolton Seniors and even the Chairperson of the tight fisted Bolton Taxpayer’s organization all spoke in favor of the purchase. The purchase passed overwhelmingly.
Going Forward with the W3RNHT
The National W3R Committee began to lead the effort in 2001 and reorganized in 2003. They created a credible organization that could work with the NPS and had an organization that could help manage the W3R NHT when passed by Congress.
This year the NPS completed the reports funded since 2000. Senator Lieberman, Congressman Larson and others have again introduced legislation but this time it is to actually create the National Historic Trail. The cost would only be $300,000 to $400,000 per year for the NPS to manage and plan.
These bills are the first stage of the legislative process. Senate bill S. 686 has been referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee where it is being considered. The house has referred their bill H.R.1286 to the House Committee on Natural Resources. See:
Dr. Jacques Bossiere, who has been our friend since 1996 recently retired from the national W3R organization. He has been chairman of the board of directors of the national W3R organization since the December of 1999, when we met to create the first national organization. The W3R organization is now under the able leadership of Kim Burdick, chairperson.
Again, this week (April 30) is your last opportunity to provide public support to the National Park Service’s W3R National Historic Trail report and proposal to create and manage the trail for $300,000 to $400,000 per year (a bargain).