Alexandria Travel Blog› entry 107 of 107 › view all entries
During summer 2015, a replica of the 18th century French frigate Hermione is sailing into several ports along the Eastern seaboard. In 1780, the original Hermione brought the Marquis de Lafayette to Boston to give the Continentals the news that France would provide military support to the Revolution. Construction of the replica began in 1997. "La frégate de la liberté" sailed from La Rochelle, France, on April 18. After crossing the the Atlantic under sail and calling at Las Palmas, the tall ship arrived at Yorktown, Virginia on June 5, its first North American port of call.
Hermione next called at Alexandria, Virginia, where the ship was on display on June 10-12.
Lafayette first came to America in 1777 and offered his services to George Washington. Wounded in 1778, Lafayete returned to France, where he lobbied Louis XVI to lend military supprot to the Americans. The king eventually agreed, and Lafayette returned to America in March 1780 aboard the original Hermione. Lafayette rejoined Washington and the Continental Army, culminating in the defeat of Cornwallis at Yorktown in October 1781. Hermione joined the French fleet in fighting the Royal Navy. Observed the BBC: "Yorktown was the result of an American-French alliance that - for all the subsequent travails in the relationship - still counts for much in the two nations' historical memory".
At the Alexandria Marina is a relic of a more recent war. The Torpedo Factory Arts Center is a housed in a repurposed submarine torpedo factory built in 1918. The munitions factory closed in 1945 and was adapted as an art gallery, studio and classroom space in 1974. I took a walk through it after viewing Hermione.