Revolutionary Rhode Island
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Rochambeau Statue - Newport Harbor
King’s Park on Newport Harbor is the present location of a statute to General Rochambeau. The statue remains a symbol of the assistance that France rendered to the American colonies during the War for Independence. The statue’s original location in 1934 was Vanderbilt Circle (Equality Park). The statute is the third replica of the Rochambeau Statue. The first statue was created by sculptor Fernand Hamar and was erected in 1900 at Vendome, France – the home town of Rochambeau. (It has been replaced in 1974 with a 4th replica because the Germans melted down the original statue when they occupied the area in World War II. This statue was a gift of the American members of the Society of Cincinnati.) Paris and Washington D.C. also have replicas of the same statue.
Revolutionary Rhode Island: Rochambeau Statue Newport HarborDescription: Rochambeau is dressed in the uniform of a Marshal of France. He wears the traditional French tricorn hat and cockade (a knot of ribbons) and the medal of the Order of the Saint Esprit on his overcoat. He stands atop in a pose where he holds a battle map of Yorktown in his left hand. Rochambeau’s sword rests at his left hip. The cannons behind him may refer to captured British cannons that the U.S. Congress gave to Rochambeau at the end of the Revolutionary War. A spring of laurel lies at Rochambeau’s feet.
One of the reasons the Newport statue was moved to Newport Harbor in 1940 was that it was the general opinion at the time that the French landed nearby. One of the French maps shows a landing area a few tenths of a mile away. Other maps show other possible landing areas, so the question of exact location is still up for debate.
Near the statue is a cairn or monument of rocks. In 1928, Dr. Roderick Terry of the Newport Historical Society had the cairn designed and built. The cairn’s location is the spot where the Admiral de Ternay Society dedicated a stone in honor of the admiral who commanded the French fleet into Newport Harbor. Restoration work was financed by the Alliance Francaise of Newport in 2019. The stone blocks making up the pyramid shape at the site were crumbling and the entire pyramid was dismantled and rebuilt block by block. The bronze statue of General Rochambeau had also suffered the effects of time and weather and needed restoration.
Map: the Plan de la ville, port, et rade de Newport, avec une partie de Rhode-Island occupée par l’armée française aux ordres de Mr. Le comte de Rochambeau, et de l’escadre française commandée par Mr. le Chr. Destouches [probably done in 1781] (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress Geography and Map Division, Rochambeau collection, 39, at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gmd/g3774n.ar101800)
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- Skirmish at West Main Road and Union Street
- Skirmish at East Main Road and Union Street
- Turkey Hill
- Quaker Hill
- Lehigh Hill
- The Gaspee Affair: A Rhode Island Perspective on Its 250th Anniversary
- The Conspiracy to Destroy the Gaspee
- Patriot’s Retreat to Tiverton
- Significant People
- Eyewitness Accounts
- The Aftermath of the Battle