Historical Markers
Lafayette (Barren Hill) Historical Marker
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Lafayette (Barren Hill)

Philadelphia and its Countryside/Lehigh Valley


Marker Location:
801 Ridge Pike, Barren Hill

Dedication Date:
October 7, 1980

Behind the Marker

Map of the Battle of Barren Hills from 1778.
Map of the Battle of Barren Hills, by M'r Michel Capitaine du Chesnoy, A.d.C....
The Revolutionary War's Philadelphia Campaign of 1777 transformed General Lafayette's military career. Still a teenager, the French aristocrat joined the Continental Army in the summer of that year, as a volunteer major general without command, but did not see his first significant action until the Battle of Brandywine. He served with distinction in the conflict, surviving a leg wound and helping to rally American forces as defeat loomed.
Bust length, facing forward of a man wearing a dark blue uniform coat with buff facings, gold epaulettes with two stars each. He has a buff waistcoat, white shirt, and a black sword across his chest.
Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Motier, Marquis De Lafayette, by Charles...

Then in December 1777, just prior to the Army's withdrawal to Valley Forge, the young marquis received his first divisional command. Lafayette replaced General Adam Stephen, who had been dismissed from the service for drunkenness and poor leadership at the Battle of Germantown.

General George Washington was one of Lafayette's strongest supporters. He informed the Continental Congress that the Frenchman "possesses a large share of that Military order, which generally characterises the Nobility of his Country." He also quoted, approvingly, a line about Lafayette that originated with General Nathanael Greene – "The Marquis is determined to be in the way of danger."

After serving with distinction in the American Revolution, Lafayette returned to France, where he worked closely with American ambassadors Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. In the 1780s, Lafayette became a participant of the reform movement, working to establish a constitutional monarchy in France, but did not join with radical forces during the French Revolution and was forced to flee the country. He would return to public life in Paris only after the exile of Napoleon Bonaparte.

President James Monroe invited Lafayette to return to the United States in 1824. During the next year, he visited every state in the young nation, generally receiving an enthusiastic reception from Americans eager to remember the glories of the Revolution and to honor the Frenchman for his friendship with Washington and contribution to the American cause.
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