A replica of one of the Marquis de Lafayette's ships is in Alexandria for three days as part of a tour of the Eastern Seaboard from Yorktown to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Suddenly, everyone is very conscious of saying its name in the French style (lair-me-own) rather than the English (like the character in Harry Potter). Lafayette sailed on the original ship in 1780, one of many times he came across the Atlantic, this time with word that France would support the Americans with men and ships. At the ceremony I attended yesterday, much was made of the historic and current French-U.S. alliance, with lots of Vive la France! cries from the speakers and audience. The real treat was to board the ship. (It had that wonderful smell of creosote or tar or something that I remember from working at Mystic Seaport many years ago.)
Lafayette died in 1834, still a beloved figure in the U.S.
Shortly after Julia Wilbur arrived in Washington in October 1862, she took her first walk around LaFayette Sq. [sic], across from the White House, a fashionable address for Washington movers and shakers.
In Alexandria, on January 7, 1863, when her sister Frances and sister-in-law Charlotte were visiting--
... Met Col. Tait who told us of a Museum over the Market. We went there. A police man opened the sanctorum for us. There is the bier on which Washington was carried to the grave, & Lafayette’s saddle, & Revolutionary Flags & many curious and interesting relics. They are covered with dust, & the labels are torn off some of them. I must go there again.
Everyone would have known about the Marquis de Lafayette, dust notwithstanding.
And here is the beautiful ship from a press package--which I could not begin to capture with my iphone camera.