French General Jean Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau, and thousands of French ground and vaval forces arrived in Newport in July of 1780 to assist to assist the Americans in the War for Independence. After wintering in Newport, Rochambeau's troops marched through Connecticut to join General George Washington's Continental Army just over the New York border. The combined forces moved down the eastern seaboard and confronted Lieutenant General Earl Cornwallis and the British army in Yorktown, Virginia. After a prolonged seige, Cornwallis surrendered on October 19, 1781, virtually ending the war and ensuring American independence.
This is one of 12 informative panels that mark the French route south through Connecticut from June 19 to July 2, 1781 and on the return north October 23 to November 9, 1782.
Southington became a town in 1779 - during the American Revolution. Its first town meetings dealt with supporting the American cause: providing bonuses for residents who enlisted in the Continental Army and arranging for the support of dependents of enlistees.
There were 138 men who served in the military forces during the Revolution out of a town-wide population of only about 1,500. Some Southington residents served as minutemen, committed to arming themselves on short notice to defend against British attacks. They were called to defend both Danbury and New Haven.
After several years of sacrifice and discouraging news, local residents were inspired and encouraged by some 4,700 French troops with artillery and wagon trains marching through town on the way to join General George Washington in what is today White Plains, New York.