A reception attended by 55 Compatriots and guests celebrating the 242nd anniversary of the American Victory at Yorktown and the major contributions to its success by France and French Heroes of the Revolution was held on Thursday, October 19, 2023, at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia.
Among the toasts offered were to France by DCSAR President William Ritchie, to the United States of America by Compatriot Guillaume de Waziers of the France Society, to the French Heroes of the Revolution by DCSAR Past President Joel Hinzman and to George Washington by DCSAR Trustee Gary Nordlinger.
President Ritchie offered a special toast to James Armistead Lafayette who was born into slavery. James receive permission from his slave master to enlist in the Marquis de Lafayette’s French allied units. Instead of becoming a soldier, he became a spy. He told the British that he was a runaway slave and wanted to serve the Loyalist cause. James became a double spy giving the British false information about the Patriots and obtaining information about the British plans to his commander. James subsequently informed Lafayette about British General Lord Cornwallis’s move to Yorktown and the expected arrival of 10,000 British troops. This information was instrumental in the surrender of the British at Yorktown.
Although an Act of 1781 promised freedom to any enslaved soldier, James was denied his freedom because he had served as a spy. With the personal intervention of Lafayette himself, James received his freedom in 1787.
Two new compatriots were inducted during the reception. Stephen Earl Bates is the 5th great grandson of Robert Faris, who served as a Captain in Colonel Brandon's Regiment of the South Carolina Militia. Robert Harrison Carey, Jr., is the 6th great grandson of Henry Harmon, who served as a member of the Rowan County, North Carolina Committee of Safety. Both Stephen and Robert were sponsored by Joel Hinzman.
Greetings were also given by DCDAR State Regent Beth Hicks, and by Avery Hinzman, President of the DC C.A.R Harriett Lothrop Society.