Manuscript, The Comte de Rochambeau’s June 1782 Speech Thanking the People of Williamsburg
After Charles Cornwallis's surrender at Yorktown in October 1781, most of the Comte de Rochambeau's French troops moved into quarters at Williamsburg for the winter. They appear to have enjoyed themselves quite a bit during their sojourn in the former capital, hosting balls, dinners, horse races, and other social events that endeared them to the people of the town and its surrounding area. When the soldiers began to organize their departure in June 1782, the citizens of Williamsburg were genuinely sorry to see them go. This speech of Rochambeau's, delivered about the time of his departure on June 23, 1782, reveals that the sentiment was mutual. In it, he speaks in glowing terms of the people of Williamsburg, their friendship, and their hospitality during his stay.