A section of the French map of the route to Yorktown, 1782 Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress

A section of the French map of the route to Yorktown, 1782
Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress

The Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail was created by an act of Congress in 2009.  It marks the contribution made by the French that finally enabled the Colonial Army to defeat the British and win independence for the American Colonies.  The Trail, which runs from Rhode Island to Virginia, passes through Union County from Scotch Plains to Summit. http://www.nps.gov/waro/index.htm

Union County is steeped in Colonial History, witnessing numerous troop movements and battles during the Revolutionary War, including the Battle of Connecticut Farms, Battle of the Short Hills, and the Battle of Springfield.

The 55-year-old French General Jean Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau, arrived in Narragansett Bay off Newport, Rhode Island, on July 11, 1780, with an army of 450 officers and 5,300 men.  Their arrival came just in time, for in the fall of 1780, with the war now well into its fourth year, the Continental Army was running on faith, hope, and promises, as it was short of men, weapons, food, clothing, and money.

While lacking the strength to take the offensive against British strongholds, the army nonetheless could contain the British and fend off attacks as long as it remained in its positions in the Hudson Highlands and the hills of New Jersey, including the Watchung Mountains. The combination of Gen. Rochambeau’s and Gen. George Washington’s forces culminated 15 months later in the victory at Yorktown.  

The Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail marks the 680 miles of land and water trails that follow the route taken by General Washington and General Rochambeau to and from the siege of Yorktown. It passes through New Jersey, following many roads which have been in existence since the 18th century, roads that pass through towns large and small, offering a unity to the many communities along the way.

In Union County, the trail runs along numerous County roads, including; Raritan Road in Scotch Plains (CR509), Lamberts Mill Road in Scotch Plains (CR606),  West Broad Street in Westfield (CR509), Mountain Avenue in Westfield, Mountainside and Springfield (CR613), Morris Avenue in Springfield(SR 82), Morris Turnpike in Summit (SR 24).  In 2014, Union County became the first County in New Jersey to sign and dedicate the trail where it passes through the state.