Monday, August 16, 2021

Washington-Rochambeau March to Yorktown—240th anniversary events

Saturday, August 28—Somerset County

Celebrate the 240th Anniversary of the March to Yorktown Along the D&R Canal in Somerset County

The Millstone Valley Preservation Coalition (MVPC) is teaming up with Somerset County’s Franklin Township on August 28 to commemorate the 700-mile victory march of thousands of American and French troops along the Millstone River 240 years ago.

MVPC has arranged to have reenactors of French and American troops near its visitor center at 2 Griggstown Causeway, at the same time the township closes eight miles of Canal Road to through-traffic as part of Franklin’s “Walk and Roll” community event. The road follows the D&R Canal, built in the 1830s, and is part of the Millstone Valley National Scenic Byway.

Trenton-based reenactors of the First Rhode Island Regiment will portray a mixed-race American unit that marched the trail in 1781 to participate in the final, decisive battle at Yorktown, Virginia. Around 1:00 p.m., reenactors will interpret the French Officers Rochambeau and Chastellux (pictured), who led the allied French troops as allies to the American forces, while a third reenactor interprets George Washington on horseback.

The event will be one of several 240th anniversary events organized in conjunction with the National Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association (W3R-US) and its local New Jersey chapter. W3R is the official partner to the Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail, part of the National Park Service. 

Saturday, August 28—Mercer County

On the Road to Victory at Yorktown—The Encampment in Trenton, August 1781

Relive the experiences of American and French soldiers as they joined forces for the decisive battle of the Revolutionary War


The Trent House Association hosts an all-day event on Saturday, August 28, 2021, from 10 am to 5 pm, celebrating the 240th anniversary of the Washington-Rochambeau march to victory in Yorktown. This is a free outdoor event with activities suitable for adults and children.

The final major battle of the Revolutionary War took place in 1781 when the combined forces of General Washington’s Continental Army and its French allies under General Rochambeau captured British General Cornwallis’ army at Yorktown in Virginia. It was at the end of August 1781 that the two armies first converged in Princeton. They then proceeded down the King’s Highway, now New Jersey Route 206, to encampment at Trenton, New Jersey before crossing the Delaware River. On Saturday, August 28, 2021, the program at the William Trent House Museum will portray the American and French soldiers who marched nearly 700 miles from Rhode Island to Yorktown.

The August 2021 event features reenactors portraying soldiers from both the American and French armies. Two re-enactor organizations – Le Régiment Bourbonnais and Le Régiment Saintonge – represent French infantry and artillery. Also participating are re-enactors of African American infantrymen of the 1st Rhode Island Regiment and John Lamb’s Artillery Company. Demonstrations of military drills and camp life take place throughout the event as well as other family-friendly activities and historical talks. The William Trent House Museum as a site on the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Heritage Trail will be recognized.

Co-sponsors of the event include the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie, the Lawrence Historical Society, and the National Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association (W3R-US) and its local New Jersey chapter.

The event will be one of several 240th anniversary programs in the area. Also on August 28, the Millstone Valley Preservation Coalition (MVPC) and Franklin Township will host reenactors representing both American and French troops. Both events will occur throughout the day, and organizers encourage the public to spend the morning at one event and the afternoon at the other. And on August 12, Morven Museum and Garden will host a virtual talk, “Rochambeau at Morven, given by Bob Selig.

For more information, visit