The March Heard ’Round the World:
Wethersfield, Washington and Rochambeau
Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum to Host Lecture
by Historian/Author Jini Jones Vail
What: According to author Jini Jones Vail, were it not for the involvement of French General Rochambeau in the American Revolution, “We’d be speaking the King’s English right now.” The Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, in Wethersfield, Connecticut, will host a presentation by Vail, the author of “Rochambeau, Washington’s Ideal Lieutenant, A French General’s Role in the American Revolution.” Admission to the lecture is free and donations will be accepted.
Vail will discuss the march across Connecticut of French General Rochambeau and 4,000 of His Majesty, King Louis 16th’s “best soldiers.” The march was launched by George Washington and Rochambeau at a high-level conference held May 21, 1781 at the home of Joseph Webb in Wethersfield – now the core of the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum. One month later, Rochambeau and his horses, oxen, men and supplies, cooks and servants, artillery, baggage wagons and cattle, passed through Connecticut from Plainfield to Ridgefield. Vail will include many personal stories recorded by men who marched, as well as reports from locals who witnessed the mass movement of French troops across Connecticut. The march planned at Webb’s home ultimately led to the defeat of the British in Yorktown, Virginia, just five months later.
When: September 19, 2013.The lecture begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be preceded by a wine reception (by donation) at 6 p.m. and followed by a book signing.
Where: Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, 211 Main St., Wethersfield, CT 06109
Background: Vail was a commissioner on the Connecticut Governor's Advisory Commission on American and Francophone Cultural Affairs, a board member of the Alliance Francaise, and is a current member of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, Trumbull-Porter Chapter, and Sexta Feira, a 130-year-old literary group. She has been a presenter on French history, Rochambeau, and the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route.
She is a retired French teacher, and a graduate of Sweet Briar College with a major in French Literature. She completed graduate work at Southern Connecticut State University, the universities of Touraine and Bourgogne, in France, with in-depth studies in French history, literature and language, and has travelled extensively in France. She is a passionate writer of poetry, children's mysteries, France travel articles, and a play, “Conversations with Queen Aliénor,” featuring her ancestor Aliénor d'Aquitaine. Vail is married, a mother of three, a grandmother of nine, and resides in Connecticut.