Wealthy and influential during the Enlightenment, young Marquis de Lafayette (Marie Jean Palu Joseph Roche Yves Gilbert du Motier came to the United States to fight for the ideals in which he believed: a representational form of government with a republican head, the liberty of man and the rights of mankind. He secretly led a contingent of French officers and soldiers and was made a major general after volunteering and offering to serve at his own expense.
Cornwallis was in pursuit of Lafayette and his army in June, 1781 when the Marquis was re-enforced by Baron von Steuben. The combined armies turned and began to pursue Cornwallis to Yorktown. Informed of the precarious position of the British Army in Virginia, Washington began a move from the Hudson River to Yorktown with 6,000 men on August 19, arriving on September 14th. By the time Washington arrived the French fleet had defeated the British fleet, gaining control of Chesapeake Bay and Lafayette, re-enforced by French infantry had effectively surrounded Cornwallis. The surrender took place on Oct. 17, 1781.
He sailed for France that December. In 1824 the Marquis de Lafayette returned to visit the United States at the behest of President James Monroe. Upon his arrival in Georgia, where he was warmly greeted by the citizens of Savannah, where he dedicated a statue to his friend, General Nathaniel Greene. From Savannah Lafayette sailed up-river to the capital, where he again was feted. From here he headed west along the Federal Highway. He passed through the Creek Nation and arrived in Montgomery, Alabama