Timeline: Lafayette in the American Revolution

Cover of Liberty-Loving Lafayette,
coming SUMMER, 2020
(Cover art based on  Lafayette’s Baptism of Fire
by E. Percy Moran, 1909)
If the text below is jumbled on your device, you may download a pdf of this timeline here.
September 6, 1757   Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, born in Chavaniac, France
August 1, 1759  Father dies in battle in Minton, Germany, during Seven Years War with England
November 2, 1759  Adrienne de Noailles, later Lafayette’s wife, born in Paris
September, 1768  Begins school at age 11 at the College of Plessis in Paris
April 3, 1770  Mother dies
April 24, 1770  Maternal grandfather dies, leaving his estate to Lafayette, who, after inheriting from an uncle soon after, becomes one of the richest men in France
April 9, 1771  Receives appointment to serve in the King’s Musketeers; begins his military education at the Military Academy at Versailles.
May, 1771  Commissioned as an officer in the Musketeers, with mostly ceremonial duties
April, 1773  With help from his future father-in-law becomes Brevet Lieutenant in the prestigious Noailles Regiment
April 11, 1774  Married at age 16 to Adrienne de Noailles, aged 14
August 8, 1775  Dined in Metz, France, with the King George III’s younger brother, the Duke of Gloucester, who told him about America’s struggle for independence which enlisted his heart in that cause
December, 1775  Daughter Henriette born
Summer or fall, 1776  Sent to England by father-in-law, whose brother was the French ambassador there; meets George III and General Clinton, then returns to France
November, 1776  Is introduced to American agent Silas Deane, by Baron de Kalb
December 7, 1776  Accepts commission as American Major General from Silas Deane, subsequently buys his own ship and calls it La Victoire.
April 20, 1777  Avoids arrest by escaping across the Spanish border and setting sail for America
June 13, 1777  Lands in America near Georgetown, SC
July 31, 1777  Arrives in Philadelphia, receives unenthusiastic reception from Congress, meets General George Washington
August 10, 1777  Becomes an aide-de-camp for Washington, but given no command
September 11, 1777  Fights bravely in the Battle of Brandywine, wounded in his left leg, is taken to Moravian Hospital in Bethlehem, PA, to recover
October 3, 1777  His daughter, Henriette, dies
November, 1777  Rejoins Washington
November 24, 1777  Sent by General Greene with 400 men to reconnoiter Howe’s movements, successfully attacks Hessians near Gloucester, New Jersey
December 19, 1777  Marches into Valley Forge with Washington and 12,000 troops
November, 1777  Conway Cabal discovered
February 6, 1778  Treaty of alliance between America and France signed in Paris
February 17, 1778  Sent to invade Canada, arrives at Albany, sees lack of troops, aborts mission
March, 1778  Convinces the Oneida to support the Americans; recruits Oneida warriors and sends them to Valley Forge
April, 1778  Returns to Valley Forge
May 1, 1778  Washington gets word of the Treat of Alliance, at about the same time, Lafayette learns of the death of his daughter, Henriette
May 4, 1778  The Treaty of Alliance with France ratified by Congress.
Early May, 1778  French Alliance announced at Valley Forge
May 18, 1778  Leads 2200 troops to Barren Hill to scout British in Philadelphia
May 20, 1778  Escapes from 16,000 British troops at Barren Hill, PA
June 18, 1778  British leave Philadelphia for New York
June 28, 1778  Fights bravely at the battle of Monmouth Court House, Monmouth, NJ    
July 1778  Obtains a leave of absence to go to France to seek more aid.
July 29, 1778  Leads one division under General Greene in assault on British in Newport; when D’Estaing takes his French fleet out of this battle, sent to act as go-between
December 29, 1778   British forces capture Savannah, Georgia.
January 11, 1779  Leaves for France to seek more support
December 24, 1779  Adrienne gives birth to a baby boy, George Washington Lafayette
March 17, 1780  Embarks on L’Hermione to America with message of additional French support
April 28, 1780  Arrives at Boston Harbor, tumultuously greeted as a hero                                  
March 10, 1780  Arrives at Morristown and tells Washington France sending 6,000 troops, artillery, munitions, ships and money, under the command of Rochambeau   
May 12, 1780  Charleston, South Carolina surrenders to Crown forces.
July 1780  Rochambeau and the French Army arrive in Newport, Rhode Island to join the allied cause.
August 16, 1780  American forces defeated at the Battle of Camden, South Carolina; Gates abandons his troops
September 23, 1780  Discovery that General Benedict Arnold has committed treason
Fall 1780  British move the war to the South: since the situation in the North is a stalemate, and because they believe loyalist support is strong there 
October 7, 1780  Loyalist forces defeated at King’s Mountain, South Carolina.                                                                              
February, 1781  Takes command of troops, which he outfits from his own pocket, and tries to capture Benedict Arnold, who is laying waste to Virginia
March 15, 1781  At the Battle of Guilford Court House, NC, British forces technically win, but with so many casualties they must cease operations. Cornwallis decides to leave the Carolinas and invade Virginia, which he thinks will cripple Patriot support
January 17, 1781  British forces defeated at Cowpens, South Carolina
May 10, 1781  Cornwallis and his army enter Virginia
May 20, 1781  Cornwallis assumes overall command of all British forces in Virginia. His campaign of economic and military destruction begins.
July 6, 1781  Lafayette’s small American force barely escapes destruction during the Battle of Green Spring, near Jamestown.
August 1, 1781  Cornwallis occupies Yorktown, planning to use the port as his base for resupply as he continues his Virginia campaign. Even as he sets up camp, Lafayette’s spies bring news of the plan. Lafayette relays word to Washington.
August 14, 1781  Washington receives word that French Admiral DeGrasse is sailing for the Chesapeake Bay with a large battle fleet (28 battleships and many support vessels) and a 3,000 man army from the Caribbean.
August 19,1781  Washington and Rochambeau and the allied troops begin 450 mile trek to Yorktown in secret
August 25, 1781  DeBarras sails from Newport, Rhode Island with supplies and heavy siege guns.
August 29, 1781  DeGrasse arrives at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.
September, 1781  Pursues and corners Cornwallis at Yorktown, VA           
September 5, 1781  Battle of the Capes DeGrasse defeats the British fleet in Chesapeake Bay,
September 5, 1781  British and French naval forces clash in the Battle of the Capes.
September, 1781  DeGrasse blockades the British in Yorktown, urges L. to attack but he insists on waiting for Washington to arrive
September 14, 1781  Meets with Washington and Rochambeau after their arrival in Williamsburg     
September 20, 1781  American and French troops start to arrive in Williamsburg                                                                 
September 28, 1781  Siege of Yorktown begins, Washington gives Lafayette command of one of the three Continental divisions    
October, 1781  French and American troops cannonade the British into surrender after nine days of blistering artillery fire, Lafayette’s troops, under the command of Hamilton and ? capture one of two remaining British redoubts
October 19, 1781  Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, effectively ending the War of Independence
December 23, 1781  Leaves Boston on the Alliance and returns to France, where he continues to lobby for trade agreements, etc., with America
March 28, 1783 ? Daughter Virginie born, named after Washington’s home state
September, 1783 The Treaty of Paris signed, America wins its complete independence 
August 17, 1784 Visits Mount Vernon as Washington’s honored guest 
July, 1824  At the invitation of President Monroe, Lafayette makes a triumphal Farewell Tour of September 24, 1825 all of the United States         
May 20,1834  Lafayette dies in Paris, aged 76,  and is buried in Picpus cemetery under dirt from  Bunker Hill
For a complete timeline that includes Lafayette’s role in the French revolution, please visit:        https://friendsoflafayette.wildapricot.org/Timeline, on which this timeline is largely based.