Lafayette’s Hermione

On Sunday we went to Yorktown to see Lafayette’s Hermionethe replica of the ship on which the Marquis de Lafayette traveled from France to New York in 1780, with the message for George Washington that France would be sending troops to aid the colonies in their struggle for independence. This assistance of course became instrumental in Washington’s eventual victory at Yorktown.

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The replica was built in Rouchfort, France. Construction began in 1997, and she was finally launched in 2012. Yorktown was her first stop in America, but it will continue up the East Coast, with several stops on her goodwill tour, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York, among others. She is definitely worth the look if you have the opportunity.

We were very disappointed to find that we missed getting tickets for deck tours. From what we heard, you pretty much had to be in line at dawn to get a ticket. She was still super impressive to see. The schooners Alliance and Serenity were also at the city dock, as well as the replica of the Godspeed, which was visiting from Jamestown Settlement. L’Hermione dwarfed them all.

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While we were there, we visited the Thomas Nelson house again, where we were greeted by a fantastic interpreter who represented a soldier in the Rhode Island Regiment, the only fully integrated regiment in the U.S. Army until the Korean War.

We had a nice picnic lunch at the Victory Monument and were lucky to see The Fifes and Drums of York Town perform twice.

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The historic waterfront area of Yorktown is always fun; it is just a fantastic little town where history truly comes alive all around you. This really was a special trip, though, with L’Hermione in port. She left Sunday evening to continue her tour up the coast.

One thing that really sparked my curiosity was the particular revolutionary flag that L’Hermione is flying.

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Of course the flag of the United States had not yet been standardized, but this is a version I have not seen anywhere else. The thirteen stars are in rows of 4, 5, and 4, and the stripes are red, white, and blue. I’m sure there must be a reason this particular flag was chosen, but I haven’t been able to find it. I’ve sent an email to the contract address on the voyage website, but until I hear back, I’m interested on any thoughts you might have.

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