President's Park (White House)

President's Park (White House)

Sights to See

Northern Trail

White House Visitor Center

The White House Visitor Center is operated by the National Park Service and is located at the north end of the Department of Commerce Building in Malcolm Baldrige Hall, originally called the Great Hall. Mr. Baldrige was Secretary of Commerce from 1981 to 1985 during Ronald Reagan's presidency.

Construction of the Commerce building began on October 4, 1927, when Herbert C. Hoover was the Secretary of Commerce. The cornerstone was laid on July 10, 1929, when Hoover was President, and the building was completed in 1932.

The Great Hall, 225 feet long and 62 feet wide, was originally used as the Patent Search Room for more than three million patents catalogued by the Department of Commerce. In celebration of our country's two hundredth birthday, the Hall became the Bicentennial Visitor Center in 1976. Until 1989, it housed the Washington Tourist Information Center.

Renovations began in July 1993 with the restoration of the ornate plaster ceiling. The intent was to restore the simple elegance of the Great Hall. The original Indiana limestone walls, bronze doors, Vermont marble base and accent flooring, and Italianate bronze chandeliers were cleaned and refurbished.

The visitor center opened in March 1995. It is designed to offer a welcoming experience and provide visitors with history and information on the White House and President's Park. It is open seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.

The White House Historical Association has a museum shop in the Visitor Center.

General Sherman Statue

This monument consists of a bronze equestrian statue of Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-1891) and a square platform with a bronze soldier at each corner, representing the four branches of the U.S. Army: infantry, artillery, cavalry, and engineers. President Theodore Roosevelt dedicated the monument on October 15, 1903.

This site was chosen because General Sherman was reported to have stood here while reviewing returning Civil War troops in May 1865.

Relief medallions of generals who served under Sherman's command are located on the east and west sides of the granite pedestal. Around the base of the pedestal's terrace is a mosaic inlaid with the names of battles in which Sherman fought.

U.S. Department of the Treasury

Two treasury buildings already had been lost to fire when this site was chosen in 1836 for a new fireproof building near the ruins. The building's east wing, designed by Robert Mills, architect of the Washington Monument, was completed in 1842. The south wing was completed in 1860. The design for the south and west wings was provided by Thomas Ustick Walter, architect of the U.S. Capitol dome, but architects Ammi Young and Isaiah Rogers designed the interior details and supervised construction. The final addition, the north wing, was designed by Alfred Mullett.

The Treasury Building served as a barracks for soldiers during the Civil War and as a temporary White House for President Andrew Johnson following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln in 1865.

The building's most impressive feature is the east colonnade, running the length of the building. Each of the thirty columns is 36 feet tall, and is carved from a single block of granite.

A statue of Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury, is located on the south side of the building. Hamilton was killed in a duel with Vice President Aaron Burr in 1804. A statue of Albert Gallatin of Pennsylvania, Secretary of the Treasury from 1801 to 1814, is located on the north side of the building.

White House North Lawn

John Adams, our second president, was the first president to live in the White House. The first president, George Washington, oversaw construction, but never lived here. Washington chose Irish-born and trained architect James Hoban to build the sandstone residence. Construction began in 1792 and was completed in 1800.

The White House was the largest residence in the United States until after the Civil War. It has been expanded, renovated, repaired, and repainted many times in the last two hundred years.

British troops burned the White House in 1814 during the War of 1812. Although the fire was put out by a summer thunderstorm, all that remained were the charred outside walls and the interior brick walls. President James Madison brought Hoban back to rebuild the mansion, and it was completed in three years.

During the nineteenth century, the grounds on the north side were open every day. Tourists and business callers walked up a fenced driveway and entered as they might enter any friend's house. President Lincoln delivered several memorable speeches from the window over the main door, with thousand listeners crowded below. The fountain was added by President Ulysses S. Grant in the mid-1870s. Today, it is surrounded by colorful plantings seasonally, including tulips in the spring, red salvia in the summer, and mums in the fall.

As the United States became more prominent in world affairs and the role of the presidency expanded, the White House needed to grow. In 1902, the West Wing was added to the White House. In 1909, the wing was expanded, and an oval office was added. In 1934, the West Wing was expanded again, and the current Oval Office, the president's office, was located on the south side of the West Wing.

The East Wing was built in 1942. Traditionally, the first lady's offices are located in this area.

The northwest corner of the North Lawn is used by the news media reporting national and international news.

Lafayette Park

The seven acre Lafayette Park is directly north of the White House.

The land that comprises Lafayette Park had been used as a race track, a showplace for caged animals, a graveyard, a slave market, and an encampment for soldiers, as well as for many political protests and celebrations that continue today.

The park was planned by architect Charles Bulfinch in 1821, and upon completion several years later, it was named for the first foreign guest of state to stay at the White House, General Marquis de Lafayette.

Originally named Lafayette Square, it was once a prime residential address. Many important residents included Vice Presidents, members of Congress, and foreign ambassadors. Naval hero Stephen Decatur's and former first lady Dolly Madison's houses still stand. The park has a rich history with St. John's Church, often referred to as the "Church of the Presidents." Where the Treasury Annex stands was once of the Freedman's Bank, of which Frederick Douglass was a director. By the 20th century the park was known as Lafayette Park.

The present park design was created by John Carl Warneke in the 1960s. The historic efforts of President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy, in the 1960s, led to the preservation of the park and the buildings surrounding it. The area was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970.

General Lafayette Statue

This memorial was erected in 1891 on the southeast corner of Lafayette Park. Some believe the bronze statue portrays the Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834) petitioning the French National Assembly for assistance to the Americans in their fight for independence. He stands on a marble pedestal facing south, wearing a military uniform and carrying a sword. On the south pedestal face, a bronze female figure, symbolizing America, turns toward him and imploringly lifts a sword.

Lafayette was a wealthy nineteen-year-old nobleman when he sailed his own vessel, la Victoire, to America in 1777. He sought glory as a soldier and contributed a large sum of his own money to the Americans. He was appointed a major general in the Continental army and served under General George Washington. He was wounded at Brandywine, shared the winter hardships at Valley Forge, and was a key strategist in the Yorktown campaign that led to the British surrender.

Lafayette was the first foreign dignitary to address Congress in 1824, and on his death in 1834, both the House and Senate draped their chambers in black.

Congress bestowed honorary citizenship on Lafayette in 2002.

General Kosciuszko Statue

The statue commemorates Polish patriot Thaddeus Kosciuszko (1747-1798) and his life-long dedication to fighting for freedom in America and Poland. His skill in building fortifications in key places, including West Point, contributed greatly to the success of freedom in the American Revolution.

This bronze memorial, located at the northeast corner of Lafayette Park, was dedicated in 1910. The figure of Kosciuszko, on a granite pedestal, wears the uniform of a general of the Continental Army and his right hand holds a map of the fortifications of Saratoga, New York.

Directly below Kosciuszko stands a defiant eagle with outspread wings. The eagle is guarding a flag, a shield, and a sword upon a portion of the globe showing America. On the opposite side is an eagle struggling fiercely with a snake atop a portion of the globe shown Poland.

General Jackson Statue

This monument, located in the center of Lafayette Park, portrays Major General Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) as he appeared while reviewing his troops at the Battle of New Orleans, Louisiana, on January 8, 1815. Thirteen years later he became the seventh president of the United States.

The bronze statue faces west, while Jackson and his charger look slightly south toward the White House. Grouped at the base are four of the cannons Jackson captured in Pensacola, Florida. These four are rare pieces cast by Josephus Barnola at the royal foundry in Barcelona, Spain, and are named El Aristeo (1773), El Apolo (1773), El Witiza (1748), and El Egica (1748) for Greek gods and Visigoth kings.

The sculptor erected a studio and furnace near the proposed site in 1849. He had to make six castings of the horse before the final casting was completed in December, 1852. The entire statue was cast in ten pieces, four of the horse and six of Jackson, for a total weight of 15 tons. The statue, the first in the park, was dedicated on January 8, 1853, on the thirty-eighth anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans.

Baruch Bench of Inspiration

Bernard Baruch (1870-1965), a financial advisor from New York City, made his fortune on Wall Street. His greatest satisfaction, however, was his service to his country as an economic advisor during Work Wars I and II and as a confidante to six Presidents.

The story is told that Mr. Baruch disliked being driven to the White House to confer. He preferred to sit on a bench and wait for a signal light from the White House indicating that the president was ready to meet with him. He was so well-known in this role that he was dubbed "the Park Bench Statesman," and once received a letter addressed simply, "Bernard Baruch, Lafayette Park, Washington, D.C."

A commemorative bench with a bronze plaque set in granite block was dedicated on August 16, 1960, Baruch's ninetieth birthday. The bench is located just northwest of the Jackson statue.

Navy Yard Urns

These five-foot high, four-foot wide ornamental bronze urns were cast here in Washington at the Navy Yard using melted cannon from the Civil War. The Ordinance Department of the U.S. Navy crafted them, and they were erected in Lafayette Park in 1872. They were presented by Secretary of the Navy George Robeson. The urns were included in the 1852 plans for the park by renowned landscape architect Andrew Jackson Downing.

Originally these urns were placed on granite pedestals and located in the center of two flower beds east and west of the Jackson statue. In 1936, the urns were relocated within the park at the center of Jackson Place and Madison Place, and relocated to their present location in 1969.

General Rochambeau Statue

Comte de Rochambeau (1725-1807) commanded the 5,500-man Royal French Expeditionary Force sent to help the American revolutionary forces from 1780 to 1782. His skillful leadership and professional wisdom were vital to the American victory at Yorktown in 1781.

The statue depicts him directing his troops. Rochambeau is wearing the uniform of France. He was the "official" representative of the King of France.

A female figure, Liberty, raises two flags in her left hand, symbolizing the unity of France and America. She grasps a sword in her right hand as she prepares to defend an embattled eagle symbolizing America. The eagle, with its right talon, grasps a shield with thirteen stars symbolizing the thirteen colonies, while it fends off aggressors with its left talon.

This sculptural group on the southwest corner of Lafayette Park was dedicated in 1902 by President Theodore Roosevelt.

General von Steuben Statue

This memorial portrays Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben (1730-1794) as he inspected American troops at the great maneuvers of 1778 during the American Revolution. His experiences as a General staff member in the Prussian army gave him a wealth of knowledge unheard of in the British and French armies of the period. This training eventually brought to the American soldiers the technical knowledge necessary to create an army. During the winter of 1778-79, von Steuben prepared the "Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States." He also established a standard of sanitation and camp layouts that would remain a standard a century and a half later. Today he is known as the "Father of Military Instruction."

The statue, erected on the northwest corner of Lafayette Park in 1910, shows von Steuben wearing the uniform of a major general of the Continental army, heavily cloaked against the rigors of the winter at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

After his discharge from the army on March 24, 1784, he became an American citizen and was granted sixteen thousand acres of land by the state of New York. Today, this land, including the town of Steubenville, is located in central New York.

Blair-Lee House

Built in 1824 for Dr. Joseph Lovell, first surgeon general of the United States, this National Historic Landmark serves as the official guest house of the president. It was the second private residence built near Lafayette Square.

In 1836, both Dr. Lovell and his wife died. The house was purchased by Francis Preston Blair, a member of President Andrew Jackson's "kitchen cabinet" and co-publisher of the newspaper The Globe.

In 1852 the Blairs constructed a house next door for their only daughter, Elizabeth Preston Blair, who had married Samuel Phillips Lee in 1843. The tow houses began to be used as one; this continues today.

William Tecumseh Sherman was married at the house in 1850. Also in this house Robert E. Lee was offered command of the Union army, which he turned down in favor of the Confederate army.

Francis Blair's grandson, Gist Blair, contributed major renovations to Blair-Lee House. When he died in 1940, he expressed in his will a desire that the house be preserved and used as a residence. The house became the president's official guest house in late 1942, during the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

During the renovation of the White House from 1948 to 1952. President Harry S Truman and his family lived in Blair-Lee House. In 1951, President Truman survived an assassination attempt. One member of the president's Secret Service detail was killed and a memorial plaque on the fence acknowledges the agent's sacrifice.

Many foreign heads of state stay at Blair-Lee House when visiting the President. The flag of the visiting dignitary's country flies from Blair-Lee House during a state visit.

Eisenhower Executive Office Building

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building was built between 1871 and 1888 to house the growing staffs of the State, War, and Navy Departments.

The first electric lights were installed in its corridors in 1893. Telephone service became available between 1900 and 1902.

The Department of Navy and War merged into the Department of Defense and moved into the Pentagon in the 1940s. By 1949, the Department of State had moved into its new headquarters, and the building was renamed the Executive Office Building.

Among the "firsts" that occurred in this building; On January 19, 1955, President Eisenhower held the first televised presidential press conference in the building and in 1995, the White House web site was officially unveiled here.

Renamed again by Congress in 1999 to honor the thirty-fourth president, the building today houses various agencies that make up the Executive Office of the President, including the Office of the Vice President, the Office of Management and Budget, and the National Security Council.

First Division Monument

This memorial proclaims the heroism of the soldiers of the First Division of the American Expeditionary Forces who gave their lives during World War I. The monument was dedicated by President Calvin Coolidge on October 4, 1924. Additions to the memorial were made in 1957 to honor the dead from World War II and in 1977 to honor those who died in the Vietnam War. The most recent addition, dedicated in 1995, commemorates those who died during Desert Storm in 1991.

The symbol of the First Division is "the Big Red One." A bed of red flowers in front of the memorial spells out a huge numeral one from spring to fall. The symbol is modeled after the "big red one" in the center of the division's patch.

This pink Milford granite column from Massachusetts is one of the largest pieces ever taken from a quarry in the United States.

Standing atop the sphere is a 15-foot-tall, gilded bronze figure of Victory. She is supported by wings, suggesting the perfection of body and soul. In her right hand she carries a flag, while her left extends in a blessing of the dead.

First Division Monument

Location: South of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building

Erected: 1924

Sculptor: Daniel Chester French

Architects: Cass Gilbert and Cass Gilbert, Jr.

Written by Silvina Fernandez-Duque

Introduction

The First Division Monument is located in President's Park, west of the White House and south of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building (formerly the Old Executive Building and the State, War, and Navy Building) at the corner of 17th Street and State Place, NW. The monument was conceived by the Society of the First Division, the veteran's organization of the U.S. Army's First Division, to commemorate the lives of members of the division who died during World War I. The stately column surmounted by an allegorical statue of Victory was dedicated on October 4, 1924, and was the first memorial built in Washington, DC, in honor of the valiant efforts of the soldiers who fought in World War I. Later additions to the monument commemorate the lives of First Division soldiers who fought in subsequent wars. The World War II addition on the west side was dedicated in 1957, the Vietnam War addition of the east side in 1977, and the Desert Storm plaque in 1995. Cass Gilbert was the architect of the original memorial, and Daniel Chester French was the sculptor of the Victory statue. Gilbert's son, Cass Gilbert Jr., designed the World War II addition. Both the Vietnam War addition, which mirrors the World War II addition, the Desert Storm Plaque was designed by the firm of Harbeson, Hough, Livingston, and Larson of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Congressional approval was obtained to erect the First Division Monument and its later additions on federal ground. The Society of the First Division (later called the Society of the First Infantry Division) raised all the funds for the original monument and its additions. No federal money was used. Today, the monument and grounds are maintained by the National Park Service.

World War I Addition

After American soldiers returned from World War I, war memorials began to be built all across the nation. One of the first proposals for a war memorial in the nation's capital came from the Society of the First Division, to commemorate the fallen soldiers of the First Division, American Expeditionary Forces (AEF). Shortly after the United States declared war on Germany in April 1917, the First Division was formed as part of the American Expeditionary Forces. General John J. Pershing was designated commander in chief of the American Expeditionary Forces and organized the efforts of the American troops. The soldiers of the First Division were the first American troops to arrive in France in 1917 and the last to leave Europe in September 1919. The names of 5,516 First Division soldiers are commemorated on the monument. Pershing was particularly proud of the First Division, which came to be known as "Pershing's Own." He said of the division that it had "a special pride of service and a high state of morale never broken by hardship nor battle," a quote inscribed on the pedestal of the monument. The monument was "erected by the Memorial Association of the First Division and patriotic friends to the memory of the dead of the division who gave their lives in the world war that the liberty and the ideals of our country might endure," also inscribed on the monument pedestal

The First Division, keenly aware of the sacrifices made during the war, organized the Society of the First Division in February 1919 while on occupation duty in Germany. The society immediately set about building memorials in Europe to honor the soldiers who fell on French battlefields and began plans to erect a memorial in the United States. Under the leadership of Major General Charles P. Summerall, the Society of the First Division proposed building the First Division Monument in the nation's capital. Summerall, the society's president, was a commander of the First Division during World War I. He became the major force behind the First Division memorial project and fund raising for it. In September 1919, Summerall contacted Charles Moore, chairman of the Commission of Fine Arts, a federal agency that advises the government on matters of art and architecture, to suggest erecting a monument in Washington, DC. The idea for the monument was to commemorate the dead of the First Division as well as to convey the sprit of triumph and sacrifice of all American divisions and services. In October 1919, the First Division Memorial Association was organized to raise funds and oversee the memorial project. (After World War II, the group added "AEF" to its name.) The association proposed to raise $100,000 to build the memorial, a significant sum that would allow for a monument of high quality. The Society of the First Division raised $135,000, and the final cost of the monument was $115.000.

Summerall envisioned a monument similar in form and ideals to the Battle Monument at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. The design scheme was a tall of column with an allegorical sculpture and the names of all fallen soldiers inscribed on the monument. The Battle Monument was designed by McKim, Mead, and White and was dedicated in 1897, while Summerall was a student at the academy. It commemorates the lives of the officers and soldiers of the Regular Army of the United States who died during the Civil War and bears the names of 188 officers and 2,042 soldiers. The monument is composed of a monolithic granite shaft surmounted by a winged female figure representing Lady Fame or Victory and holding a trumpet and wreath, symbols of victory. The symbolism of the monument must have made a deep impression on Summerall, and he held strong convictions for modeling the First Division Monument on its design. He did not waver in his commitment to inscribing all the soldiers' names on the monument and to the symbolism of the column's shaft and sculpture.

The Commission of Fine Arts discussed the First Division's request at its meeting on October 17, 1919, but members were not sure whether a monument dedicated solely to the First Division would be nationally significant. They suggested revising the concept of the memorial to represent a "national Memorial" dedicated to the whole Army. The First Division, however, did see the project as relevant to the entire nation---First Division soldiers came from across the nation, and funding for the project was contributed by their families and friends, rather than by government appropriations. By 1921 the Commission of Fine Arts recognized the advantages of public monuments such as the one proposed by the First Division. Much of the civic sculpture of Washington was Civil War monuments, primarily equestrian statues. The First Division Monument offered an opportunity to create contemporary and unique works of art. Rather than representing a specific war hero, a with the statues of Civil War generals or other individuals, the First Division Monument envisioned commemorating the efforts of the American soldiers and their triumph in the face of extreme hardship.

By November 1920, the First Division Memorial Association decided on the location of the memorial in the park south of the State, War, and Navy Building. The prominences of the site and its location across from the War Department were important factors in its selection. The decision also followed the ideas of the Senate Park Commission's 1901 Plan of Washington, which called for locating a monument south of the State, War, and Navy Building, where it would serve to balance the Sherman Statue on the east side of the President's Park. The Senate Park Commission was organized to review the formal plan of Washington, and it made a series of plans and proposals based on Pierre L'Enfant's ideas for the city from 1791. The commission envisioned two symmetrical, tree-lined axes that would connect the White House grounds to the Washington Monument and provide pedestrians relief from the city streets. The Sherman Statue and the First Division Monument would serve as terminus points of a long vista stretching south toward the Washington Monument. The Commission of Fine Arts expected that the First Division Monument would be integrated in to the city's landscape according to the Senate Park Commission plan.

The point resolution to erect the memorial was first introduced in Congress in December 1920. The bill (H.J.R. 81) was referred to the Joint Committee on the Library, a join congressional committee overseeing the location of statues and memorials. The joint resolution was passed by the House of Representatives on June 6, 1921. and by the Senate on November 23, 1921. The joint resolution called for the site and design to be approved by the Joint Committee on the Library with the advice and recommendation of the Commission of Fine Arts, and it stipulated that no public funds would be used. The resolution was by President Warren G. Harding and became Public Resolution No. 31 on December 16, 1921.

The Society of the First Division selected Cass Gilbert and Daniel Chester French as architect and sculptor for the monument in the summer of 1921. Cass Gilbert (1859-1934) was then a prominent architect and capable of great technical achievements. Perhaps Gilbert's most famous building is the Woolworth Building in New York (1913), which was the tallest building in the United States until 1930. Gilbert was familiar with the Washington area and with the procedures of the Commission of Fine Arts, having served as one of its original members from 1910-1916. Although Gilbert's studio was in New York, he designed several buildings in Washington, including the Treasury Annex Building (1919), the US Chamber of Commerce Building (1925), and the Supreme Court Building (1935).

Daniel Chester French (1850-1931) was also a leader in the American artistic community. French, like Gilbert, was an original member of the Commission of Fine Arts. He served on the commission from 1910 to 1915 and was its chairman from 1912 to 1915. French is perhaps best known for his statue of the seated Abraham Lincoln in Washington's Lincoln Memorial, which was designed by Henry Bacon and dedicated in 1922. French also created the Dupont Memorial Fountain, in the center of Dupont Circle, which commemorates Rear Admiral Samuel Francis du Pont (1803-1865), US Navy, the first Union naval hero in the Civil War. French knew the site of the First Division Monument because he had worked on the Butt-Millet Memorial Fountain in 1913, located at the end of the path that crosses through the park south of the State, War, and Navy Building. (The Butt-Millet Memorial Fountain commemorates the lives of Major Archibald Wallingham Butt and Francis David Millet, who died on the RMS Titanic on April 14, 1912.)

Gilbert initially proposed carving the names of the more than 5,500 dead into the vertical surfaces of the granite base. That solution, however, proved impractical and very expensive. Instead, he proposed placing the honor roll on bronze plates. He planned the shaft to be a monolith of thirty-five feet in height made of pink Milford granite form Massachusetts, while the other stone form the monument would be white granite. The Victory statue was fifteen feet tall and gilded bronze. The monument's total height, from the ground to the top of the statue, was seventy-eight feet.

At first, the Commission of Fine Arts did not find Gilbert's design for the memorial shaft to be appropriate for the park south of the State, War, and Navy Building. The commission favored a fountain, something lower and more relevant to the daily use of the park, and suggested that the Army War College campus would be a more appropriate location for the memorial shaft. A special meeting was held on April 27, 1922, to discuss the design and siting of the First Division Monument. Gilbert and a member of his firm as well as six representatives of the First Division Memorial Association attended the meeting. Gilbert defended the monument's design and addressed the commission's concerns. He rejected the idea of a fountain, arguing that the monolithic granite column ensured a more permanent and stable structure. A fountain, made of many more pieces, would be more prone to damage caused by weather conditions and water. One of the memorial association's main requirements was that the First Division Monument be permanent and require little maintenance. In answer to the commission's suggestion that the tall shaft was inappropriate in an urban setting and should be placed in a park or on a hill, Gilbert cited several examples of successful monumental shafts in urban areas; the July Column and the Column Vendome in Paris, The nelson Column in Trafalgar Square in London, the Trajan Column in Rome, and the Washington Column in Baltimore, Maryland. Gilbert also saw the First Division Monument as a prominent marker for the terminus of a shaded avenue leading to the Washington Monument, as envisioned by the Senate Park Commission.

The grounds and exact location of the monument were also considered in relations to a landscape plan for the park south of the State, War, and Navy Building. It was decided to move the monument north from the axis of E Street to the axis of the center of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and to set it in a plaza. The monument's final location was set at 115 feet south of the north curb of State Place. Two rows of trees could then be planted along the central axis defining the path leading to the Washington Monument grounds.

The Commission of Fine Arts agreed to recommend the design and location of the First Division Monument south of the State, War, and Navy Building. On May 27, 1922, the Join Committee on the Library approved the plans for the monument, as required by H.J.R. 81.

French make sketches for the Victory statue during the winter of 1921-1922. One of his initial designs shows Victory holding a flag in her left hand and a sword and wreath in her right. In a later sketch, he eliminated the sword and wreath and placed a flag in the figure's right hand; the left hand is free and extended in gesture of benediction. This was the design French finally developed. French did not want to impose his ideas on the spectator, but he did offer his intentions in creating the design. He said," I had in mind, the flag symbolizing our country, held by a figure of Victory whose left hand is extended in benediction of the men whose names will appear a the base of the monument." French was pleased with Victory and considered it one of his best pieces. In designing the figure, he had to account for its being seen from below and at a distance. The figure's silhouette, rather than detailing, became the vehicle of its expression. Victory is a dynamic statue the outstretched wings are balanced by the flag held aloft and her extended arm. The flowing drapery suggests a figure in constant movement. The complex folds of the flag and the precarious stance of the figure on the globe also contribute to the figure's dynamism. Perhaps French envisioned the gilded Victory as an eternal flame on the constant memorial.

French completed the scale model of Victory at the end of April 1923 and contracted with the Piccirilli Brothers and the Roman Bronze Works, both New York firms, to cast the statue. The Piccirilli Brothers translated the scale model of the statue into a full-size plaster cast, which the bronze foundry then used to cast the pieces for the final statue. The enlargement and plaster casting of the model began in May and were completed in the first week of July 1923.

The cast was then delivered immediately to the Roman Bronze Works. The dedication was planned for the autumn of that year, and French felt pressure to complete the job as soon as possible.

By August, however, the granite monolith for the column still had not been extracted from the quarry, and the dedication plans were postponed. In September, the Roman Bronze Works began assembling the bronze pieces of final statue. The figure was completed by the end of February 1924; it stood in the foundry until the contractors were ready to receive it in Washington.

The George A. Fuller Co. began work at the site on March 5, 1923 Construction of the foundation and base proceeded through the spring and summer of 1923 in preparation for a fall dedication ceremony. Finally, at the end of November 1923, the Dodd's Granite Co. in Milford, Massachusetts, extracted the monolithic block for the columnar shaft. The block measured 42 feet by 7 feet by 6 1/2 feet. The process of cutting and polishing the shaft occurred over the next few months, and the shaft was ready to be shipped to Washington by mid-April 1924. The pedestal was completed and ready to receive the granite column by the end of March 1924. The pedestal is inscribed with the dedication and areas of battle. The north side of the stone is decorated with a numeral one with a laurel wreath, the insignia of the First Division. Around the stone are four swords and memorial wreaths, which recall the cord fouragere, an acknowledgment of valor granted to the First Division by the French government.

The shaft arrived in Washington on April 18, 1924. A scaffolding system of powerful engines and hydraulic jacks had been set up to lift the 58-ton shaft to a vertical position and to place it on the pedestal, about thirty feet above the ground. The A-frame of the scaffolding system was seventy-five feet tall and held two sets of clamps to lift the shaft. The granite monolith was set in place on April 28, 1924. A small crowd gathered to witness the technological feat. Cass Gilbert, his son, the contractors, and representative of the First Division attended the event. The difficult task was successful and the monument now closes to completion.

The Victory statue arrived in Washington on April 26 and was unloaded a few days later, on April 29. The statue was hoisted to the top of the column on May 2, 1924. It was 1924. It was anchored into the granite shaft with a long brass rod extending eleven feet through the square blocks and into the column. Victory was placed facing south over-looking the long expanse of parkland toward the Mall. The site was cleared, and the grounds were prepared for the dedication.

The First Division Monument was highly praised for both its design and its mission. For many years it was the only memorial in Washington dedicated to the soldiers of World War I. The Commission of Fine Arts described it as "the chief symbol of American valor in that war, a position borne out by the universal character of its design and location".

Cass Gilbert had envisioned a grand terrace treatment for the site with a plaza extending to the east and west sides of the column at the length of the façade, with fountains at the ends and stairs on the south side leading to three paths toward E Street. The plan was not implemented because it was too felt it compromised the park's integrity. Gilbert's terrace plan was realized later with his son's design for the addition for the World War II monument.

In November 1927, Ulysses S. Grant III, directory of the Office of Public Buildings and Public Parks, recommended to the Commission of Fine Arts plans for landscaping the memorial grounds. He suggested grading the south slopes immediately because it was too steep to hold moisture, thus creating a dry, brown streak across the lawn. The slope was also exposed to direct sunlight, contributing to it s poor condition. By the early 1940s, E Street was extended across the President's Park. Its extension did not affect the monument grounds; however, the separation from the Ellipse marked the beginning of the erosion of the long vista so valued by the Commission of Fine Arts.

National Park Service records show that little work was done on the First Division Monument during the Depression, and in 1939 the National Park Service took custody of the monument. The First Division Memorial Association retained ultimate responsibility for the monument, however, and continues to approve all major work to the monument and its grounds.

During World War II, a temporary barracks was erected in 1943 to house troops to protect the President, the White House, and the Treasury. It occupied the entire park and required the removal of the diagonal path and of a number of trees, many of which were not replaced. After the 1950s, the park landscape lost the coherent plan of the long vista established in the 1920s and 1930s.

World War II Addition

The World War II addition to the First Division Monument was dedicated on August 24, 1957, ten years after it was proposed. The monument was erected to the west of the World War I column, at the end of an extension of the terrace. The monument is composed of a central block of granite (approximately fourteen feet by twelve feet) and inscribed with the areas of battle and the dedication. The central block is flanked by two low walls, which support six bronze tablets containing the honor roll of the 4,325 First Infantry Division soldiers who died in World War II. (The First Division was redesignated as the First Infantry Division on August 1, 1942.) A bronze plaque set in the pavement lists the organized and the attached units of the First Infantry Division that participated in World War II and acknowledges the "loyal service and inspiring sacrifices" of other units attached to the First Infantry Division during the war.

The First Infantry Division Memorial Association sponsored the World War II addition, a group separate and distinct from the First Division (AEF) Memorial Association, which erected the World War I column. The accomplishments of the First Infantry Division in World War II were significant and again distinguished the division's roll in the U. S. Army. As in World War I, the First Infantry Division was the first American division deployed overseas to support the Allied cause. It was one of 89 divisions of the U. S. Army to fight in World War II. The First Infantry Division arrived in England in August 1942 and fought in North Africa, Sicily, northern France, Belgium, Germany, and central Europe. It had reached Czechoslovakia when the war ended on May 8, 1945. Following the war, the First Infantry Division remained in Germany on occupation duty, as it had after World War I. Later, the division worked with the Germans in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and in 1955 returned to Fort Riley, Kansas.

In 1947, the First Infantry Division approached the First Division (AEF) Memorial Association with plans to erect a memorial to honor those who died in World War II. The existing law, however, did not provide the First Division (AEF) Memorial Association authority to erect an addition. The superintendent of National Capital Parks for the National Park Service, Irving Root, determined that additional legislative authority would be necessary. The proposal to build a monument to honor the First Infantry Division World War II soldiers was then presented to Congress in May 1947.

As with the previous legislation, the bill stipulated that "the site chosen and the design of the monument and pedestal shall be approved by the Joint Committee on the Library of the National Commission of Fine Arts." The bill also explicitly stated that the "United States shall be put to no expense in or by the erection of this memorial." The legislation was introduced in Congress on May 2, 1947. The House of Representatives referred the joint resolution (H.J.R. 188) to the Committee on House Administration. On May 14, the House passed H.J.R. 188, which was then put on the Senate calendar. The joint resolution was then read in the Senate on May 15 and referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration. The Senate passed H.J.R. 188 on June 16, 1947. President Harry S. Truman approved and signed it on June 25, 1947.

The First Infantry Division Memorial Association chose Cass Gilbert Jr. to design the new addition. Gilbert Jr. had worked closely with his father and participated in the design process for the World War I monument. He was familiar with the design and his father's ideas for its development. Gilbert Jr. submitted three preliminary designs to the Commission of Fine Arts between 1948 and 1950. The basic plan was to extend the terrace to the east and west, recalling Cass Gilbert Sr.'s unrealized plan for the plaza treatment. The commission approved the design in principle but chose to postpone action until all funds for the project were raised and the barracks had been removed.

Removing the temporary barracks proved to be a long struggle between the Society of the First Division and government officials. The two-story frame structure was made up of a central section that stretched east-west across the park with three wings that crossed it at a north-south axis. The barracks occupied the entire area of the park bounded by 17th Street, E Street, and State Place. At the end of 1946, the barracks were classified as surplus and were occupied by the General Services Administration in 1947. Although all parties agreed that the temporary buildings erected all over Washington during World War II defaced the landscape, the government insisted the provided much-needed office space and helped alleviate the rising rents in privately owned buildings. The temporary building south of the First Division Monument completely obstructed the view of the monument from all sides of the park.

In 1953, the society began an active campaign to have the temporary building removed from the site. Major Charles Coulter, a First Division veteran of World War I, led the efforts. Coulter set out to prove to the government that the building was not indispensable and should be razed to allow the long-overdue World War II addition to the First Division Monument. The First Infantry Division Memorial Association continued to raise money for the World War II addition and garner support for the barracks' removal. The Society of the First Division sought the support of congressmen and other veterans groups.

The efforts of the Society of the First Division were successful; the building was torn down and removed by May 1954. The National Park Service then rehabilitated the grounds, cleaned the monument, and regilded the statue. The removal of the barracks was seen as a victory for the First Infantry Division, which could finally hold services in the front of the monument; for eleven years members had held services at the rear (north side) of the monument.

Coulter contacted the Commission of Fine Arts after the temporary building was removed to notify them that plans for the World War II addition would resume. The plan still under consideration was Gilbert Jr.'s latest design from 1950. By the spring of 1955, the memorial association was anxious to complete the project but did not have enough funds to carry out the scheme. The Washington, D.C., branch of the Society of the First Division commissioned William E. Shepherd, a First Division veteran and Washington architect, to work with Gilbert Jr. to design a monument that could be built with the available funds, about $60,000.

Gilbert Jr. and Shepherd submitted another proposal to the Commission of Fine Arts in November 1955. The new plan extended the terrace to the west side and placed the World War II monument and honor roll at the edge of the new terrace. The existing 1920s steps of the southern approach were widened, and a wide path at grade with the main terrace was added on the north side. The large central block of the World War II monument was to have inscriptions on the east side (i.e., inside) and a mosaic map of the First Infantry Division's battle route on the west side (i.e., outside and visible from 17th Street). The area to the east of the column was left undeveloped and available for future expansion. The Commission of Fine Arts approved the plan in April 1956.

On May 14, 1956, the Joint Committee on the Library approved the plans to expand the monument. The Department of the Interior suggested, however, that the mosaic map be eliminated. It argued that the map on the outside would disrupt the circulation pattern and destroy the original self-contained concept with the principle entrance centered on the monument shaft. The architect agreed to eliminate the mosaic map and replace it with a plain facing of granite.

Work on the site began in the summer of 1956, with Shepherd supervising. By September 1956, the cement foundation was complete. The ground was filled to raise the grade of the park to the level of the World War I monument. A tree well was added on the west side of the south steps. Construction continued until late spring the following year. IN May 1957, the walks were laid, the work shed was removed, and the grounds were restored to parkland. The World War II monument was completed during the summer and dedicated in August.

General Clarence Huebner presided over the dedication ceremony on August 24, 1957. About 700 to 1,000 people attended. Major Daniel Edwards and three Gold Star mothers assisted with the unveiling of the monument. (Major Edwards had unveiled the World War I monument at its dedication in 1924.) General Huebner, who led the First Infantry Division through Normandy and into Germany, gave the dedication address.

A few months after the dedication, the Society of the First Division proposed carving the First Infantry Division's insignia on the west façade of the World War II monument, facing 17th Street, in order to identify the memorial from the outside. The Commission of Fine Arts recommended that an inscription reading "The First Division" be carved instead. The final inscription was approved by the Commission of Fine Arts and National Capital Parks on May 26, 1959, and carved on the monument for Memorial Day 1959.

The landscape also underwent some changes. The large flower bed in the shape of the First Division patch, south of the monument was created in 1965 as part of Lady Bird Johnson's landscape plans to beautify the District of Columbia. The flower bed, approximately 181 feet long, is located just east of the monument's south steps. It ends at E Street and is interrupted only by the macadam walk that crosses the park diagonally south of the monument. Recent plantings have included red tulips in the spring and red begonias in the summer.

Vietnam War Addition

The Vietnam War addition to the First Division Monument was dedicated on August 20, 1977. It is a mirror image of the World War II addition, extending the terrace to the east side. The planners of the World War II addition had foreseen this extension. The architectural firm of Harbeson, Hough, Livingston, & Larson of Philadelphia carried out the project using the same materials as the World War II addition. The honor roll of 3,079 names is placed on four bronze tablets on the low walls flanking the central granite stone. A bronze plaque set in the pavement lists the units of the First Infantry Division that participated in Vietnam and acknowledges the services and sacrifices of other units attached to the First Infantry Division.

The legislation authorizing the Vietnam War addition (S.J.R. 66) was passed by the 93rd Congress and signed by President Gerald R. Ford on August 23, 1974. As with the World War I and World War II memorials, no public funds were used to erect the addition, but the design and plans were subject to the approval of the secretary of the interior, the Commission of Fine Arts, and the National Capital Planning Commission.

The First Infantry Division was the first division deployed to Vietnam. The first units arrived in June 1965, and in November 1965 the division became operational. The division was so successful in its missions that it was sent home in the spring of 1970, although the war did not officially end until 1975.

After receiving congressional approval in 1974 to erect the Vietnam War addition, the Society of the First Division asked the American Battle Monuments Commission to represent it in obtaining the necessary approvals for construction of the monument. By 1970 new laws regarding historic and environmental preservation required the review and approval of several federal and local agencies.

The regional director of the National Capital Region of the National Park Service approved the construction plans for the addition, which were also endorsed by the National Capital Memorial Advisory Committee, a group formed to advise the secretary of the interior. Further approvals were also necessary from the Commission of Fine Arts, the National Capital Planning Commission, the District of Columbia state historic preservation officer, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation before the National Park Service could issue a construction permit.

The Commission of Fine Arts unanimously approved the proposed scheme at its meeting on February 26, 1976. The approval of the state historic preservation officer for the District of Columbia was necessary to ensure that the new memorial would not affect historic properties. On March 25, 1976, the state historic preservation officer determined that the project would not adversely affect neighboring buildings or the surrounding landscape. The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation also determined that the Vietnam War addition would not adversely affect the Old Executive Office Building or the Corcoran Gallery of Art (properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places). The National Capital Planning Commission approved the design plans of the Vietnam War addition at a meeting on April 1, 1976. The plans had to conform to the objectives and policies of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 to ensure that the new work would not affect the environment of the National Capital Region.

After receiving all the requisite approvals, the American Battle Monuments Commission requested permission from the National Capital Region, which authorized final approval for the addition on November 2, 1976. The contractor for the project was the William P. Lipscomb Company of Arlington, Virginia. The construction of the monument took less than a year and was completed by May 1, 1977. The final cost of the addition was about $142,000. The Vietnam Was monument was dedicated in a ceremony on the morning of August 20, 1977, attended by about 500 people.

Desert Storm Plaque

The Desert Storm Plaque commemorates the lives of 27 soldiers who died while serving in the Desert Storm operation in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. For the first time in the division's history, the dead included a female soldier and a contract civilian. The memorial is a plaque placed on a low, granite stone set at the eastern edge of the rectangular flower bed, directly opposite the central block of the Vietnam War addition. The memorial stone measures about three feet by four feet and is about one foot high; it includes a black tablet with gold letters listing the names of the lost soldiers and the divisions in which they served. Also included are the names of members of the Third Brigade of the Second Armored Division, which was attached to the First Infantry Division during the war. As stated in the inscription, the plaque is dedicated to "the soldiers of the First Infantry Division (Mech) who made the supreme sacrifice in Desert Storm (Iraq and Saudi Arabia) 1991."

The First Infantry Division's role in the Desert Storm operation began in 1990 when troops and equipment were deployed to Saudi Arabia on November 8 in preparation for Operation Desert Shield. Upon return from Vietnam in 1970, the division had become a mechanized division, made up of six mechanized infantry battalions and four armored battalions. The division's training equipped it to lead the armored attack into Iraq on February 24, 1991, and by February 28 the Gulf War was over. The American troops overwhelmed the Iraqis while keeping casualties low. Of the more than 12,000 soldiers deployed with the First Infantry Division, 27 died in the war. The division returned on May 10, 1991, to Fort Riley, Kansas.

The memorial was dedicated on May 29, 1995. The cost of the Desert Storm plaque, about $20,000, was fully funded by the Society of the First Infantry Division. The plan for the Desert Storm memorial was limited to a simple structure built within the area bounded by the World War II and Vietnam War monuments and did not require congressional approval.

While designing the Desert Storm Plaque, the Society of the First Infantry Division developed a long-term plan for several future additions. In 1993, the society developed a concept for the monument that distinguished between memorials for "limited actions", comparable to Desert Storm, and major conflicts with greater fatalities, such as the existing memorials for the three wars. Smaller blocks of granite placed around the edge of the flower beds on the east and west sides of the terrace were suggested for limited actions. For larger conflicts, memorials comparable in size and form to the World War II and Vietnam War monuments could be built along the outside edge of the footprint, replacing the hedge.

The Desert Storm plaque was dedicated on Memorial Day, May 29, 1995. The First Infantry Division Gulf War commander, Major General Thomas G. Rhame, Second Armored Division, Brigadier General Jerry Rutherford, jointly unveiled the memorial tablet.

In 2001, the entire monument was rehabilitated. Victory was cleaned and regilded. The bronze tablets were cleaned and waxed. The granite was repaired and cleaned. The cobblestone plaza was repointed. The recent work was done by the National Park Service funding.

Designed by Cass Gilbert and Daniel Chester French, two of America's greatest architects and artists, the First Division Monument is more than an artistic element within the landscape of President's Park and the city. It is a symbol of American valor and the sacrifice of soldiers on the fields of battle. The design of the monument is an example of the early twentieth-century shift away from representation of a single event or individual in memorials. Today, the monument continues to evolve with the history of the First Infantry Division. The participation of the Society of the First Infantry Division in the monument's custody ensures that the monument is not frozen in time. Annual Veterans Day ceremonies at the monument are perpetual reminders of the duty and sacrifice of the First Infantry Division and of all American soldiers.

Rochambeau Statue

Location: Southwest corner of Lafayette Park

Erected: 1902

Sculptor: Fernand Hamar

Written by Margaret M. Grubiak

The statue of the American Revolutionary War hero, General Comte de Rochambeau, in Lafayette Park, Washington, D.C., erected in 1902, stands as the reaffirmation of Franco-American relations in the first years of the twentieth century. The 1898 Spanish-American War had strained relations between France and the United States, and France wished to erase any perception arising from the war that it held anti-American sentiments. Drawing on the historic ties between the two nations, the Rochambeau statue provided a means for France to heal and strengthen its diplomatic relations with the United States.

In June 1900, a statue of Rochambeau by French sculptor Fernand Hamar was unveiled in Vendôme, France. Yet before the erection of this statue, the French chancellor to the United States, Jules Boeufvé, had proposed that a replica of the statue be erected in Washington as well. Jean-Baptiste-Donatien de Vimeur, Comte de Rochambeau (1725-1807), was the commander of the French army that fought along side with George Washington and the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He presented an ideal figure to symbolize the official relations between France and the United States. Largely because of the efforts of Boeufvé, Congress provided funds and passed legislation in April 1901 authorizing Fernand Hamar to cast a replica statue for the United States.

On May 24, 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt, members of Congress, the Diplomatic Corps, and thousands of spectators along with French military and civil delegations dedicated the Rochambeau statue at the southwest corner of Lafayette Square.

Franco-American Relations in the Late Nineteenth Century

The 1898 Spanish-American War greatly strained the relationship between France and the United States at the end of the nineteenth century. The Spanish-American War began over the issue of Cuban independence. Revolutionary groups in Cuba had been fighting since 1895 to come from under control of Spain, Cuba's colonial ruler. When the brutality of the Spanish soldiers against the Cubans became the focus of the American "yellow press" newspapers, support for American intervention in the war intensified. The United States was not entirely disinterested in Cuban independence. American institutions had nearly $50 million invested in Cuba, and the end of Spanish rule of the island would greatly benefit U.S. trade with the island. After Spain's promised reforms in the colony failed to materialize, and after the U.S. battleship Maine exploded and sank in the Havana harbor on February 15, 1898, the United States entered into war with Spain in April 1898.

The war placed France in a difficult position. Historically united with France in religion, race, and politics, Spain looked to France for help. Within France, itself a colonial power, some supported Spain in its actions in Cuba and thought that America was out of line in interfering with what was believed an internal matter. Because involvement in Cuba would be the United States' first engagement with a European power since the War of 1812, a war between Spain and the United States aroused French concern over America's insertion into European affairs. Moreover, because France was itself heavily invested in Spanish bonds, the war would have a great economic impact in France. In balance with these concerns, France did not want to risk supporting Spain, a decidedly weak and declining power, and antagonizing the United States, the rising world power. To mitigate these tensions, France declared its strict neutrality, yet this declaration did not stop France from taking an active role in the war. From the start of the war, France along with Austria acted as the observer of Spanish interests in the United States at the request of Spain. When the war came to an end nearly three months later, Spain asked that Jules Cambon, the French ambassador to the United States, act on its behalf in negotiating the armistice protocol to suspend hostile actions in preparation for the peace negotiations. On August 12, Cambon signed the protocol on behalf of Spain with President William McKinley at the White House. Not only did Paris host the peace conference to negotiate the formal treaty ending the war in October 1898, but French diplomats and leaders continued to play the delicate role of facilitating relations between the United States and Spain during the talks.

Despite France's careful attempts to maintain neutrality in these roles, Americans were wary of French support of Spain. American newspapers such as The New York Times repeated reports in French newspapers with anti-American sentiment, and Americans began to believe that France was indeed antagonistic toward the United States. However, as the war progressed, American newspapers noted the increasing French support for the American cause. Although France upheld every outward sign of neutrality throughout the war, an uneasy friendship remained between the two countries following the peace with Spain.

French diplomats such as Jules Cambon walked a difficult diplomatic line with the United States in the late nineteenth century. Although privately Cambon held concerns about America's growing interference with Europe, outwardly he made every effort to maintain Franco-American relations. The preservation of the Franco-American friendship was indeed important from the French perspective. The United States' position as an emerging world power following the Spanish-American War became increasingly clear. The treaty signed at Paris required that Spain not only give independence to Cuba but also cede the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam to the United States. The French, who also had colonial interests in the Caribbean and the Far East, realized the importance of maintaining good relations with the United States. Thus, following the war, France sought to erase any hint of animosity with the United States. The exchanges of statues in the first years of the twentieth century were conscious attempts to reaffirm and articulate amicable feelings between the two nations.

Impetus for the Statue

In 1900, a little more than a year after the end of the Spanish-American War, France hosted the Paris International Exposition. The exposition and its festivities served as the backdrop for the unveiling of three statues—the Marquis de Lafayette, George Washington, and Rochambeau—celebrating Franco-American relations. Not only did these statues express the strong, historic ties between France and the United States, but the accompanying dedications and addresses articulated the desire to improve relations between the two countries in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War.

The unveiling of the statue to the Marquis de Lafayette on July 4, 1900, at the court of the Louvre in Paris was a prime occasion to express such sentiments. French Foreign Minister Theophile Delcassé hoped that the statue would "in the future be a token of fruitful understanding for the mutual interests of both countries, interests which are in perfect harmony on so many points, and which happily are not irreconcilable." At the dedication of an equestrian statue of General George Washington in Paris on July 3, the United States General Consul in Paris, John Gowdy, remarked, "…As we are on the eve of a new century, may the crown and palms of victory, and the brotherhood of the soldiers of 1776 never fade, nor the stars cease to shine on the friendship of the two Republics."

The same feelings were also conveyed at the unveiling of the Marshal de Rochambeau statue in his hometown of Vendôme, France, on June 4, 1900. The statue, the creation of French sculptor Fernand Hamar, depicted Rochambeau on the eve of the Siege of Yorktown, clutching a battle map of Yorktown in one hand. The inscription on the statue, "Commander-in-chief of the French army in America, took Yorktown in 1781 and assured the independence of the United States," clearly identified Rochambeau's role in the War of Independence and singled it out as his most noteable military victory. The draping of the French and American flags on the scaffolding of the statue further indicated the intention for the statue to be a celebration of Franco-American relations. American Secretary of State John Hay noted that the dedication "illustrates the vitality of the friendship of the two peoples which has endured among the changes of over a century." The mayor of Vendôme, speaking at the unveiling, remarked, "The role of de Rochambeau prepared the union of the United States and France. The monument inaugurated today will always appear as a shining symbol of the brotherhood which unites the two great republics…." In these three monuments, the reaffirmation of Franco-American relations was well represented on French soil.

By 1900, expressions of the Franco-American friendship in the form of monuments and statuary also dotted the American landscape. In 1881, the U.S. Congress erected a monument in Yorktown, Virginia, commemorating the centennial of the deciding battle of the Revolutionary War and the French involvement so crucial in securing the victory; in 1886, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi's iconic Liberty Enlightening the World occupied its place in the New York harbor; and in 1891 the U.S. Congress erected a monument to the Marquis de Lafayette and his French compatriots, including Rochambeau, in Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C.

Despite these existing expressions of Franco-American goodwill, the French chancellor to the United States, Jules Boeufvé, suggested in 1900 that the United States Congress purchase a replica of the Vendôme Rochambeau statue for Washington, D.C. Although the Marquis de Lafayette statue already marked the involvement of the French in the Revolutionary War in the nation's capital, a statue of Rochambeau would symbolize something quite different. In the nine years since the erection of the Lafayette statue, world events had changed. A statue commemorating Rochambeau would speak to the post-Spanish-American War relations between France and the United States. Moreover, the messages conveyed by the figures of Rochambeau and Lafayette greatly differed. Whereas Lafayette defied King Louis XVI's orders and entered the colonial army of his own will, Rochambeau came to America as the official commander of the French army in the Revolutionary War. The Washington Evening Star noted that while "it was customary in America to look upon Lafayette as the representative of France's assistance to the United States during the critical days of the revolution…, as far as the French government was concerned in the issues of that conflict the great field marshal, Count de Rochambeau, was at all times its representative." A statue to Rochambeau, then, would symbolize official Franco-American diplomatic relations, not only in the eighteenth century but also at the dawn of the twentieth century.

General Comte de Rochambeau

Jean-Baptiste-Donatien de Vimeur, Comte de Rochambeau, was born in Vendôme, France, on July 1, 1725. He entered the French military at the age of seventeen and fought in the War of Austrian Succession (1740-1748), where his skill and bravery earned him a promotion to colonel before the age of twenty-two. He also fought in the Seven Years' War (1756-1763) and numerous other battles. When King Louis XVI called Rochambeau to aid in the Americans' insurrection against the British in 1780, the fifty-five-year-old Rochambeau, now a lieutenant general and decorated with the Knight Grand Cross for the Order of Saint-Louis, was on the verge of retiring from an illustrious military career.

By 1778, the American revolutionary forces, short on supplies, money, and morale, faced a desperate situation. The Franco-American treaties signed on February 6, 1778, promised much-need military support to the colonists. King Louis XVI chose Rochambeau, described as a leader who inspired confidence and loyalty in his troops, to lead the French forces in aiding the American colonists' fight against British rule. Rochambeau and 5,500 French troops completed a seventy-day voyage across the Atlantic and arrived in Newport, Rhode Island, on July 11, 1780. With an attack possible from British troops commanded by General Henry Clinton in New York, Rochambeau immediately established a stronghold in Newport. Although George Washington favored an assault on Clinton in New York, Rochambeau refused such an attack without the aid of the naval reinforcements he had been promised and further argued that the Franco-American forces should engage the British in a southern theatre. For nearly a year, Rochambeau waited in vain for the promised reinforcements from France. In the spring of 1781, Rochambeau received word that the troops he had expected, and another ten thousand he had requested, would not be coming. Rochambeau finally agreed to Washington's planned attack on New York.

The arrival of the French Admiral Comte de Grasse in June 1781 in the West Indies, however, changed the course of the war. With another three thousand men and twenty-four ships, de Grasse offered his assistance to Washington. Now with the promise of a strong naval force to match the British navy, Washington decided against engaging Clinton's army in New York and in favor of an attack on British General Cornwallis's army in Virginia. After nearly a year of inactivity, Rochambeau's forces marched to White Plains, New York, where they joined with Washington's forces. In August 1781, the combined Franco-American army marched to the head of the Chesapeake Bay and was transported on ships to Yorktown, Virginia. Twelve thousand French and American soldiers laid siege to Cornwallis's troops on September 28. De Grasse's ships along the Virginia coast prevented the arrival of British reinforcements. Cornwallis was surrounded, and with no hope for further reinforcements, he surrendered three weeks later, on October 19. Although the War of Independence would not officially end until 1783, the Siege of Yorktown was the last major military battle of the war.

Rochambeau's military career continued after his return to France in February 1783. During the French Revolution, Rochambeau commanded the Army of the North from 1790 to 1791, and in 1791 he received the title Marshal of France. In 1792, Rochambeau retired from his military career and returned to his home in Vendôme. He was imprisoned in 1794 in Paris during the Reign of Terror, was stripped of his military position, and barely escaped the fate of the guillotine. At the end of the French Revolution, Rochambeau again returned to Vendôme, and Napoleon restored his title of Marshal of France. Rochambeau died on May 12, 1807, in Thore at the age of eighty-one.

Realizing the Statue

The role of Rochambeau as the French military commander in the American Revolutionary War provided a fitting narrative to describe Franco-American relations in the past and to reinstate those friendly relations following the Spanish-American War. Plans for a replica of the Rochambeau statue began even before the original Rochambeau statue had been unveiled in Vendôme, France, in June 1900. As early as April 1900, Jules Boeufvé, the chancellor and attaché of the French embassy in the United States, had approached several senators about the possibility of erecting a replica of the Rochambeau statue in Washington, D.C. In early May, Boeufvé provided an estimate of $7,500 for the cost of the replica to Senator George Peabody Wetmore of Rhode Island, the chairman of the Senate Committee on the Library, which oversaw art in the nation's capital. On May 23, 1900, nearly a week before the original Rochambeau statue was to be unveiled in Vendôme, Senator Wetmore introduced an amendment to the civil appropriations bill reserving $10,000 for the replica of the statue, its pedestal, and its erection. The Committee on Appropriations modified the amendment to $7,500, covering only the cost of the statue itself and not the erection of the statue or preparation of the site. The amendment, however, was lost in conference.

Despite the defeat of the amendment in 1900, Jules Boeufvé remained undeterred. Boeufvé turned to personal testimony, asking General Horace Porter, the American ambassador to France, to send a letter to the chairman of the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee in support of the statue. In October 1900, Porter wrote: "At the request of Mr. Boeufvé, of the French Embassy in the United States, I beg to say that I participated, on June 4th last, at Vendôme, in the unveiling of the statue of Rochambeau by the French artist Fernand Hamar, and that I found it to be a spirited and excellent work of art. It seems to me that it would be very appropriate and would give great satisfaction, if means were found to erect in Washington, D.C., a replica of the Marshal's Statue."

Four months later, in February 1901, Representative James McCleary of Minnesota, the chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on the Library, introduced a bill appropriating $7,500 for the replica. While McCleary's bill was not passed, Senator Henry Hansbrough of North Dakota, a member of the Senate Committee on the Library, successfully introduced an amendment to the sundry civil appropriations bill just days later on February 25. The amendment for the statue replica was carried into law on March 3, 1901. In less than a year, Boeufvé had successfully induced Congress to pay for a replica statue of Rochambeau.

The speed and relative ease with which the Rochambeau statue bill went through Congress were astonishing. Nearly twenty-four bills for statues for the nation's capital were introduced in the Fifty-sixth and Fifty-seventh Congresses by May 1902, and only five, including the Rochambeau statue, were approved for erection in Washington, D.C. The Rochambeau statue was approved with virtually no congressional debate. Although contemporary accounts acknowledged French Ambassador Jules Cambon's supportive role in securing the replica for the United States, newspapers credited Boeufvé with the idea. The Washington Evening Star wrote that the passage of the legislation for the statue was "due to the untiring zeal of M. Boeufvé in furthering this tribute to the traditional friendship between France and this country."

Further evidence of Boeufvé's work in realizing the statue was his role in the contract. Boeufvé entered into a contract for the statue replica on behalf of Fernand Hamar with the Senate Committee on the Library on April 30, 1901. Boeufvé also successfully campaigned for an additional $15,000 appropriation for the statue. An amendment to the 1902 sundry civil appropriation bill provided $15,000 for the preparation of the site, the erection of the statue, and the completion of the statue and pedestal. Of this additional appropriation, nearly $10,500 paid for the completion of the statue and the erection of pedestal, bringing the cost of the replica statue to nearly $18,000. The same act granting the additional appropriation also appointed a Rochambeau Monument Commission composed of Secretary of State John Hay, Secretary of War Elihu Root, Senator Wetmore, and Representative McCleary to select the statue's site, oversee its erection, and coordinate its unveiling.

In late December 1901, nearly nine months after Congress passed the legislation for the statue, sculptor Fernand Hamar finished the model of the Rochambeau statue for Washington, D.C., and began its casting.

Fernand Hamar

Jean-Jacques-Fernand Hamar (1869-1943) was born in Rochambeau's hometown of Vendôme, France. Fernand Hamar, deaf since birth, entered the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris at the age of twenty. At the École, he trained with renowned sculptors Schuler von E. Barrias, P. J. Cavelier, as well as the deaf sculptor Paul Choppin. As a student, Hamar was recognized repeatedly for his work, winning medals at the 1893 and 1895 Salon exhibits and at the 1900 Universal Exposition in Paris. After remaining at the École for ten years, Hamar opened his own studio in Paris where he specialized in monument commissions. In 1897, the Vendômois Rochambeau monument committee approached Hamar to enter a competition for the statue. Hamar was chosen, and in June 1900 his Rochambeau statue was unveiled. In 1902, Hamar finished the replica of the Rochambeau statue, for Washington, D.C., and created an additional bronze allegorical group, Victory and the American Eagle. He traveled to Washington for the statue's unveiling in May 1902.

In the first decade of the twentieth century, Hamar exhibited his work extensively at the Salon des Champs Elysées. He exhibited a replica of the Rochambeau portrait in the Salon of 1901 and Victory and the American Eagle in the Salon of 1902. Following World War I, Hamar produced several war memorials, including memorials in Vendôme and nearby Freteval in 1921 and 1923 respectively. In 1925, Hamar completed The Shadow of Remembrance, a monument honoring France during World War I. As a deaf sculptor, Hamar created several memorials to deaf persons such as a 1925 bronze bas-relief of Abbe Goiselot for the chapel at the National Institution for the Deaf and a 1926 bust of Henri Gaillard, a French leader of the deaf. In 1934, his work returned to America when he showed his bronze Rochambeau and another, Greyhound, at the International Exhibition of Fine and Applied Arts by Deaf Artists at the Roerich Museum in New York City.

Designing the Statue

Although a replica, the Rochambeau statue was to fit into its specific context in Washington, D.C. Early on, Lafayette Square appeared to be the location of choice for the statue. Lafayette Square was emerging as a "statuary park" by the early twentieth century. The statue of Andrew Jackson had occupied the center of the square since 1853, and the placement of the Marquis de Lafayette statue on the square's southeast corner in 1891 suggested the placement of other statues in the three remaining corners of the park. The southwest corner of Lafayette Square at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Jackson Place was a prestigious location for the Rochambeau statue. It would place the Rochambeau statue along Pennsylvania Avenue across from the White House and the State, War, and Navy Building (now the Dwight D. Eisenhower Office Building). Moreover, the location would strengthen the French presence established by the Lafayette statue in the square and even form a relationship with the Rochambeau bronze on the west side of the Lafayette statue pedestal. The Rochambeau Monument Commission formally chose the southwest corner of the square for the Rochambeau statue in April 1902.

From the beginning, the Rochambeau statue in Washington, D.C., was conceived as a companion piece to the Lafayette statue. The form, symbolism, and scale of the Rochambeau statue responded directly to the Lafayette statue. According to measurements provided by Boeufvé, the original Rochambeau statue in Vendôme included a nine-foot bronze of Rochambeau atop a seventeen-foot pedestal measuring twenty feet at its base. The Marquis de Lafayette statue in Washington, D.C., was larger. A nearly eleven-foot figure of Lafayette surmounted a seventeen-foot pedestal on top of a three-foot base. To match the scale of the Lafayette statue, Hamar increased the dimensions of the original Rochambeau statue, resulting in an almost eleven-foot Rochambeau bronze; a nineteen-foot pedestal; and a one-foot base. Overall, the height of the Rochambeau statue in Washington, D.C., nearly matched that of the Lafayette statue at thirty-one feet.

In addition to matching the Lafayette statue in scale, Hamar also matched the Lafayette statue in symbolic form. Beneath the figure of Lafayette on the south face of the Lafayette statue pedestal, a dramatic bronze grouping depicted a bare-breasted figure representing Liberty offering a sword to Lafayette. In answer to this bronze, Hamar created an equally dramatic allegorical grouping for the Rochambeau statue's south face. In the bronze grouping entitled Victory and the American Eagle, the figure of a woman— an allegorical figure of Minerva or Athena, the symbol of the protector of the state—dressed in armor-like garb, raises two flagstaffs representing the French and American flags in her left hand. A sword in her down-turned right hand protects a bald eagle, the national emblem of the United States. Waves break beneath her and the eagle as they stand in front of the prow of a ship, symbolizing the arrival of the French forces in America. The stance of the female figure with one foot raised, combined with the flow of her garments, the flags, and the outstretched wings of the eagle, gives the composition a feeling of rushing, forward movement. In the clutching talons of the eagle, Hamar makes the transition from bronze to stone. The bronze eagle's talons grasp a granite shield with thirteen stars and stripes representing the thirteen American colonies. Beneath the shield lie sprigs of laurel symbolizing peace.

Although Hamar enlarged the figure of Rochambeau to match the Lafayette statue dimensions, the Rochambeau figure remains a near duplicate of the original in Vendôme. Rochambeau dressed in the uniform of a Marshal of France including the traditional French tricorn hat and cockade, and adorned with the medal of the Order of the Saint Esprit on his overcoat, stands atop the pedestal in a contrapposto pose, or natural stance, and holds a battle map of Yorktown in his left hand. Rochambeau's sword rests at his left hip while a cannon and cannonball rest behind his left foot, symbolizing Rochambeau's role as commander of the army and perhaps alluding 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. The bronze portrait of Rochambeau emphasizes his role as the official French leader in the Revolutionary War, capturing him on the verge of the war's decisive military battle.

The architect of the statue's pedestal, L. Laurant, composed the statue's neoclassical granite pedestal in three parts. A pyramidal shaft, capped by a flattened capital on which the Rochambeau figure stands, curves to meet a square base. Dividing the shaft and the curving base is a jutting ledge of stone. On the south face of the statue, this ledge protrudes to accommodate the Victory and the American Eagle grouping. The east and west faces of the pedestal include two altorilievo, or high-relief, granite shields in identical compositions. On the east side is the Rochambeau family crest with three stars interspersed with a chevron; on the west is the coat of arms of France of the period with three fleurs-de-lis. Over both are crowns, although they differ in style. Framing each shield above is a garland of leaves and berries; beneath are two crossed sprays of laurel tied with ribbon. The motif of the leaf-and-berry garland is repeated on the north side of the statue above the inscription. The statue's pedestal rests on a square granite base of a darker color, which in turn rests atop a mound of grass of almost fifty-five feet in diameter encircled with granite curbing.

By responding to the form and scale of the Lafayette statue, the Rochambeau statue thus fit its specific context in the park. Although the Rochambeau statue was a replica of that in Vendôme, Hamar contributed an original work of art for the pedestal in the Victory and the American Eagle grouping. The increase of the statue's scale to match the Lafayette statue further customized the replica for its location in Lafayette Square. In these ways, the Rochambeau statue in Washington, D.C., became more than a simple replica, but also an original piece of art by Hamar's own hand.

Inscriptions

The inscriptions on the Rochambeau statue consciously articulated the intention of the statue as a symbol of Franco-American relations. On the north side of the statue, the main inscription quotes a portion of a letter that George Washington wrote to Rochambeau on February 1, 1784:

WE HAVE BEEN/ CONTEMPORARIES/ AND/ FELLOW LABOURERS/ IN THE CAUSE/ OF LIBERTY/ AND WE HAVE LIVED/ TOGETHER/ AS BROTHERS SHOULD DO/ IN HARMONIOUS FRIENDSHIP/ WASHINGTON TO ROCHAMBEAU/ FEBRUARY 1, 1784

This quote, reportedly selected by Jules Boeufvé, emphasizes the deep relationship between France and America, reminding the viewer that the statue is a monument not only to Rochambeau but also to the relationship between the two nations. The inscription on the statue's south face, ROCHAMBEAU, gives a simple identification of the statue.

While these inscriptions indicated the intention of the statue, they did not identify who erected it, an omission that became an issue after the unveiling of the statue in May 1902. Even at the time of the statue's erection, the public believed that the Rochambeau statue was a gift from the French government. In June 1902, only two weeks after the unveiling, Senator Wetmore wrote to Augustus Saint-Gaudens, one of the leading American sculptors at the time, "The public appears to think that the statue has been given by France, or Frenchmen, to the United States, and not paid for by the Congress as is the case." The inscription, BY THE CONGRESS/ MAY XXIV MDCCCCII, was chosen to identify the Congress's role in erecting the statue. Because the Rochambeau statue's main inscription already occupied the pyramidal portion of the pedestal's north face, this additional inscription was cut below the protruding granite ledge on the curving base in September 1902.

The statue's other marks identify the creators of the statue. On the west side of the pedestal of the Rochambeau bronze portrait, at its left edge, is the mark F HAMAR. At the bottom left of the bronze Victory and the American Eagle is the mark F HAMAR 1901. The name of the company that cast the bronzes, Val d'Osne, was inscribed on the east side of the pedestal at the bottom right corner. Hamar's name and the name of the architect of the pedestal, L. Laurant, were inscribed on the north face of the pedestal at the bottom right.

In April 1902, Representative Sereno Payne of the Committee on Ways and Means successfully introduced a joint resolution allowing the duty-free entry of the Rochambeau statue and pedestal into the United States. Colonel Theodore A. Bingham, the officer in charge of Public Buildings and Grounds and a member of the executive committee overseeing the statue, directed the preparation of the site and the erection of the statue. Work on the statue foundation began on April 9 and was completed on April 18. The setting of the stone forming the pedestal began on April 25, and the statue and pedestal were fully erected on May 17. The statue, in place, awaited its unveiling.

Preparations for the unveiling of the Rochambeau statue began in earnest in early 1902. In March, Congress passed and the president approved a joint resolution to invite the French government and people of France to the statue's unveiling on May 24, 1902, the anniversary of the day Rochambeau entered the military in France in 1742 at the age of sixteen. In addition to extending the invitation to the French government and people, Congress invited the family of the Comte de Rochambeau and an addition to the resolution also invited the family of the Marquis de Lafayette. On March 27, President Theodore Roosevelt sent the official invitation letter to French President Emile Loubet, who gladly accepted on behalf of the French government and people on April 15. Reflecting the importance it assigned to the dedication, the French government named a delegation of French officials to attend the unveiling. General Brugère, the commander of the French army, and Vice-Admiral Fournier, the inspector-general of the French navy, represented the highest levels of the French military in the French mission. In addition to the official French mission, a group of French guests composed a civil delegation to the dedication. Comte Rene and Comtesse de Rochambeau represented the Rochambeau family, and Paul de Sahune de Lafayette represented the Lafayette family. Sculptor Fernand Hamar, Hamar's father, and representatives of the French government also were members of this civil delegation.

To prepare for the unveiling and the impending visit by the French dignitaries, a president's commission including Third Assistant Secretary of State Herbert Peirce, Colonel Bingham, Commander Raymond Rodgers, and the commission's secretary, Edwin Morgan, was appointed to attend to the guests in their travels throughout the United States. With only a remaining balance of $4,500, President Roosevelt approved a $10,000 appropriation on March 21 and an additional $10,000 appropriation on May 15 to cover the expenses for the unveiling, bringing the total cost of the statue and the unveiling to roughly $42,500. That the amount of money appropriated for the unveiling nearly equaled the cost of the statue indicated the importance of the public dedication in articulating the friendly relationship between the two nations.

After nearly three months of preparation, the United States welcomed the French delegations. On May 17, the civil delegation reached New York City, and on May 20 American warships greeted the official French mission aboard the French warship Gaulois in the Annapolis harbor with gun salutes. On the eve of the statue unveiling, the French delegations visited Mount Vernon and were received at official state dinners at both the White House and the French embassy.

Attended by two thousand official guests and thousands of onlookers, the unveiling of the Comte de Rochambeau statue on Saturday, May 24, 1902, was a grand display of French-American exchange. The official guests filled three color-coded stands around the statue. Members of the House of Representatives occupied the red west stand; members of the Senate and patriotic societies occupied the blue east stand; and President Roosevelt welcomed the French delegations, the French diplomats, the presidential cabinet, the Supreme Court, and the Diplomatic Corps in the white stand to the south of the statue. Four soldiers, two French and two American, stood guard at the corners of the statue, which was cloaked with French and American flags. Despite occasional rain and an overcast sky, this symbolic setting served as the background for a grand diplomatic event.

In his opening address, President Roosevelt emphasized the role of the statue in expressing Franco-American cooperation, remarking, "We prize this fresh proof of the friendship of the French people because it is pleasing to us to have the friendship of a nation so mighty in war and so mighty in peace as France has ever shown herself to be." Following Roosevelt's speech, the Comtesse de Rochambeau performed the honor of unveiling the statue. When the Comtesse pulled the rope, the French flag fell to the ground. The American flag, however, remained caught on the Rochambeau figure's left hand holding the Yorktown battle plan and remained partially draped on the statue through the remainder of the ceremony. Despite this glitch, a cheer rose from the crowd at the moment of the unveiling, and the American band burst into the French national anthem, "La Marseillaise."

With the statue now unveiled, the statue's sculptor, Fernand Hamar, was presented to the crowd and met with applause. French Ambassador Jules Cambon then noted the statue's purpose in expressing Franco-American relations. The next oration by General Horace Porter also placed the statue within its contemporary context: "This statue is not simply to commemorate war, but to typify peace and good will between the newest republic of the Old World and the Oldest Republic of the New World." Senator Henry Cabot Lodge and General Brugère also gave addresses emphasizing the Franco-American friendship. Following the unveiling ceremony, cavalrymen from Fort Myer, French marines, and American troops dressed as minutemen passed in review down Pennsylvania Avenue.

The Franco-American celebration did not end, however, with the unveiling of the statue on May 24. A special train carried the French delegation on a weeklong tour to West Point, Niagara Falls, Newport, and Boston, in part retracing the steps of Rochambeau and his army. The extensive press coverage of the Rochambeau statue unveiling and the accompanying festivities indicated the enormous attention given to the event. American newspapers documented the activities of the official French mission and the civil delegation daily. The Paris newspapers also covered the statue's unveiling through wire reports; the French paper Le Figaro printed an eight-page supplement devoted to the American ceremonies. On the day of the unveiling, a Franco-American banquet in Paris celebrated the Rochambeau statue unveiling in Washington.

Public reception of the Rochambeau statue centered less on its artistic merits and more on its symbolism of Franco-American relations. The Washington Evening Star remarked that the "statue conception is one of beauty and at the same time is suggestive of the ties of friendship between the two republics." This broader reception of the statue fulfilled its intention as an emblem of Franco-American relations.

Commemorative Book

Although the Rochambeau statue dedication and the ceremonies surrounding it were covered extensively in 1902 newspaper accounts, an even more detailed history written by DeBenneville Randolph Keim was published in 1907. The idea to publish the proceedings of the dedication originated as early as May 1902, and finally in February 1904 a resolution was passed calling for ten thousand copies of a commemorative book for members of the Congress, the ambassador of France, and the guests and speakers invited to the unveiling. Keim's nearly 670-page book, Rochambeau: A Commemoration by the Congress of the United States of America of the Services of the French Auxiliary Forces in the War of Independence, chronicles the events and legislation leading to the statue, describes the ceremonies surrounding the dedication, and gives an extensive history of the French participation in the Revolutionary War. Congress's interest in publishing an account of the Rochambeau statue indicates the importance attached to the statue and its unveiling and Congress's desire to publicize the event as an expression of Franco-American diplomatic relations.

Other Replicas of the Rochambeau Statue

While the Rochambeau statue in Washington, D.C., was the first replica of the original Vendôme statue, three other replicas followed in the next seventy years. In November 1933, the second replica was erected in Paris on the Avenue Pierre ler de Serbie. On July 13, 1934, the third replica was erected in Newport, Rhode Island, the site of Rochambeau's landing in America. The fourth and final replica of the Rochambeau statue actually replaced the original. In 1942 during World War II, the Germans destroyed the Rochambeau statue in Vendôme. Fortunately, the mayor of Vendôme had a mold of the original made and placed in a secure area. Although a plaster bust of Rochambeau was put on the pedestal in August 1944 when the Americans freed Vendôme, it was not until 1974 that the American members of the Society of the Cincinnati donated a full bronze replica cast from the original mold of the statue. Notably, of the four replica, only the one in Washington, D.C., was supervised by Fernand Hamar himself, and only the Washington replica possessed an additional allegorical grouping by Hamar.

The Rochambeau Statue Since 1902

Following the unveiling of the Rochambeau statue in Washington, D.C, in May 1902, the ground around the statue was formally prepared. The mound on which the statue stood was sodded and graded, and gravel and asphalt walks and coping were placed around the statue. Originally, the statue's mound had no plantings. The first plantings around the statue were most likely the annual floral beds planted during Lady Bird Johnson's 1965 beautification of Lafayette Park. In 1994, dwarf pink azaleas replaced these annual floral beds. In 2003, the azaleas were removed, and sod was laid. Although the Rochambeau statue and the Lafayette statue were briefly lit for the 1953 Eisenhower inauguration, the statue has generally not been lit.

The General Comte de Rochambeau statue has been cleaned periodically since 1902. In 1910, attempts were made to remove the verdigris (the green patina and stains formed when bronze reacts with exposure to the air) on the Rochambeau and Lafayette statue pedestals, and the statues also were treated with a method called the Caffall process in an attempt to waterproof them. In 1919, the Rochambeau statue bronzes and pedestal were generally cleaned like all statues in Washington, D.C. The National Park Service undertook a major cleaning and preservation of the Lafayette Park statues in 1987. The bronzes were cleaned with an air abrasive treatment, which used pulverized walnut shells, followed by applications of a corrosion inhibitor and protective wax coatings. The Rochambeau statue's granite pedestal and foundation were cleaned and recaulked with sealant. The most recent documented cleaning occurred in 2000, when the bronzes of the Rochambeau statue and all the other statues in Lafayette Park were cleaned and waxed by the National Park Service as part of an overall improvement of the park.

In contrast to the bronze figures, which remain in good condition, the granite pedestal of the Rochambeau statue shows signs of deterioration, due principally to weathering. As early as the 1960s, the inscriptions were becoming illegible, and today the inscriptions are almost unreadable. The main inscription on the north face of the pedestal is extremely faint. The portion of the inscription that identifies the quotation, WASHINGTON TO ROCHAMBEAU/ FEBRUARY 1, 1784, is virtually illegible. The inscription, BY THE CONGRESS/ MAY XXIV MDCCCCII, on the north side of the statue on the curved portion of the pedestal is more readable because staining on the stone has darkened it. The inscriptions that carry the identifying marks of the sculptor, the architect, and the founder at the bottom right of the east and north faces have almost disappeared. The inscription ROCHAMBEAU on the south face of the pedestal remains the most legible.

Verdigris marks the granite pedestal beneath the Victory and the American Eagle grouping. The verdigris extends onto the granite shield with the thirteen stars and stripes, and a lateral fissure visually divides the shield. The bottom of the pedestal beneath the protruding ledge is discolored with water stains. The granite has broken off in several places, including a chip above the bronze prow of the ship on the south face of the pedestal. Several of the adorning granite spheres on the crown of the Rochambeau coat of arms on the east side of the pedestal are also missing.

The statue of General Comte de Rochambeau in Lafayette Park, Washington, D.C., stands as a significant symbol of Franco-American relations in the opening years of the twentieth century. The statue was intended to help solidify relations between the two nations following the Spanish-American War. The statue to Rochambeau was thus both symbolic as well as commemorative. Through the efforts of French diplomat Jules Boeufvé, France successfully induced the United States Congress to erect a statue of Rochambeau in Washington, D.C. Although commemorations to France's role in the American Revolutionary War already dotted the American landscape, a statue to Rochambeau, in the nation's capital was quite symbolic. The statue expressed the official diplomatic relations between France and the United States, becoming a metaphor for both the historic and the present-day friendship between the two nations.