4 Replies Latest reply on Dec 2, 2020 9:52 AM by Jason Atkinson Branched from an earlier discussion.

    Seeking records of ancestor who fought with Lafayette

    Caren Lee Newbie

      I am looking for an ancestor Wolff who fought with Lafayette, and a few other ancestors. Is there a list of the volunteers that arrived with Marquis de Lafayette in 1777?

        • Re: Seeking records of ancestor who fought with Lafayette
          Elliot Schneider Ranger



          Here is some information. Do you have more on Wolff? was he family to Lafayette?


          The Marquis de Lafayette, a French general who defied his government and came to America to offer his services in the American Revolution, is also known for his action in the French Revolution. A friend of George Washington, he served with Washington at the Battle of Brandywine and at Valley Forge. In 1779 he returned to France to expedite the dispatch of a French army, and returned in time to distinguish himself at the battle of Yorktown in 1781. Lafayette won popularity in America, and his fame helped make liberal ideal acceptable in Europe. A stormy period in his home land included imprisonment by Austria until he was freed in 1799 at the behest of Napoleon. In 1815 Lafayette was one who demanded Napoleon I's abdication. Lafayette made a triumphant tour of the United States in 1824.


          1776 November: Johann DeKalb introduces Lafayette to Silas Deane, the American agent hired by Congress to recruit foreign officers to serve in the Continental Army for the American cause.

          1776 December 7: Lafayette signs a contract with Silas Deane in Paris and accepts the commission as Major General in the American Army. Because Congress has no funds to transport him and other volunteers to America, he uses his wealth to buy his own ship and calls it La Victoire.

          1777 March 16: Lafayette and DeKalb secretly leave for Bordeaux where they make plans to sail to America.

          1777 April 20: Lafayette recruits a dozen other men and uses a disguise to hide from the police who were ordered to arrest him for leaving without permission. Lafayette escapes across the Spanish border and boards ship off the coast of San Sebastian. He sails on this date.

          1777 June 13: He arrives in South Carolina.

          1777 July 31: Lafayette arrives in Philadelphia to receive his commission as major general in the Continental Army. He meets General George Washington at the City Tavern and the two form a friendship of mutual respect that will last the rest of their lives.

          1777 August 10: He becomes an aide-de-camp for General Washington at Moland Headquarters in Bucks County, PA.


          Hope this helps,

          Elliot Schneider

          • Re: Seeking records of ancestor who fought with Lafayette
            Alice Lane Pioneer

            Hi Caren,

            Welcome to History Hub


            If you are connected to the Wolff family of State of Delaware and nearby  Pennsylvania area, you are possibly

            related to this family. Book can be read on Google. A Memorial to Christian and Anna Maria Wolff. Books.https://www.google.com/books/edition/A_Centennial_Memorial_of_Christian_and_A/IdlfAAAAMAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=christian+and…


            Do you have any other information to off about your Wolff relative?


            Alice Lane

            Research Volunteer

            • Re: Seeking records of ancestor who fought with Lafayette
              J. Andrew Scout

              Could you please clarify whether the person you are researching was an American soldier who was assigned to one of the many American units under the command of Lafayette at various times, one of the foreign officers who joined the Continental Army, or was one of the French soldiers that was part of the French units under the command of  Rochambeau?


              Also, it would help to know what records and information you already have so that we do not duplicate what you already know.

              • Re: Seeking records of ancestor who fought with Lafayette
                Jason Atkinson Ranger

                Dear Ms. Lee,


                Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


                We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the Records of the Continental and Confederation Congresses and the Constitutional Convention, 1765 - 1821 (Record Group 360) that includes the record series Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774 - 1789.  This series has been microfilmed and published as Microform Publication M247. Record Group 360 also includes Miscellaneous Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774 - 1789 which has been microfilmed and published as Microform Publication M332. These series include records concerning the Marquis de Lafayette and may include records concerning other foreign volunteers.  The record series Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774 - 1789 is indexed by the five volume publication Index, The Papers of the Continental Congress by John P. Butler that is available online at multiple websites, to include HaithiTrust. Also, the National Archives published A Guide to Pre-federal Records in the National Archives which is available online through Google Books. For more information about these and other Revolutionary War era records in National Archives custody, please email the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1) at Archives1reference@nara.gov.


                Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT1. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


                Both M247 and M332 have been digitized and made available online by our partner, Fold3.com. The digitized records are available under the titles Continental Congress - Papers and Continental Congress - Misc respectively.  There may be a fee for this service. Some libraries make Fold3 available to their patrons.


                You also may find something useful in Founders Online. Founders Online was established through a partnership between the National Archives and the University of Virginia Press to make available the papers of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. The website provides free access to annotated transcriptions of original documents.


                The Library of Congress has the Marquis de Lafayette papers, 1757-1990 (Library of Congress Finding Aid) and the George Washington Papers, as well as other Revolutionary War-era collections that may be relevant. Please contact their Manuscript Division for questions about their holdings.  Additional archival collections concerning Lafayette include the Lafayette Collection at Cornell University Library, the Marquis de Lafayette Collection at Cleveland State University, and the Lafayette Family Papers at the University of Maryland. Other institutions that may be able to assist you in your research include The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, the Library and Archives at Independence National Historical Park, and The Museum of the American Revolution.


                Some documents related to the Marquis de Lafayette have been published in Lafayette in the Age of the American Revolution: Selected Letters and Papers, 1776-1790 published by Cornell University. There is limited availability of this work on HathiTrust. It is also available in a number of libraries, to include the following listed on WorldCat.


                We hope this information is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!