Ceremony set for Old Brandywine Village
It’s hard to imagine an army of more than 4,000 French soldiers, 2,000 horses and 300 wagons marching down Market Street in Wilmington, but that is exactly what happened in early September 1781. Led by General Rochambeau, the army traveled along the King’s Highway (U.S. Rt. 13) down to Yorktown, Virginia, for what would be a victory in the Battle of Yorktown. On their way back, that same army left its cavalry behind in Wilmington to guard Philadelphia. That presence lasted until 1783.
Old Brandywine Village’s Peg Tigue believes this event connects Wilmington to Revolutionary War history that stretches across the Mid-Atlantic. “As part of the National Park Service’s W3R National historic Trail, Brandywine Village, which is geographically centered along the trail, is a natural respite for tourists journeying from Rhode Island to Yorktown,” she says. “I think many people living in Delaware don’t know about this and don’t realize how big a piece of history this is.”
Two markers and an on-going project will celebrate this unique piece of Wilmington history. The first is a new Delaware Historical Marker that will be placed in Brandywine Mills Plaza (1800 N. Market St.). It will include a plaque that will have a description of the historical event. The second is the start of the Road to Yorktown Historic Preservation and Revitalization Mural Project, a series of murals of historical events and people placed in public places to increase awareness and helped beautify the streets. Lastly, there will be an official Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route trail sign that will match others along the route.
The W3R Delaware and the Brandywine Village Partners will hold an unveiling ceremony on Thursday, Aug. 22, at 6 p.m., in the Brandywine Village Plaza. They will debut the new plaque, present the mural project, and announce the trail marker.
“Our combined goal is to someday make the Brandywine Village area a [Revolutionary] War visitors’ hub,” says Tigue. “It is not only close to city historical sites but also Hagley Museum and the Brandywine Battlefield.”
It is also another way of bringing attention to Wilmington’s rich history.