200th anniversary of Lafayette’s visit to Alexandria celebrated with concert Tuesday night

Portrait of Marquis de Lafayette by Ary Scheffer (National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution)

The Office of Historic Alexandria will celebrate Marquis de Lafayette, the acclaimed Hero of Two Worlds, with a concert and lecture marking 200 years since the city first threw its arms open to a hero of both the American and French revolutions.

Lafayette, a French nobleman and military officer, served under George Washington throughout the war and commanded Continental Army troops at the siege of Yorktown. Lafayette was also a prominent voice early in the French revolution, though he was later driven out of the country by more radical factions.

Lafayette came to Alexandria on Oct. 16, 1824.

“Thousands of spectators lined the streets and the ladies leaned out of windows waving their handkerchiefs in celebration,” the National Park Service wrote. “Over 2,000 militiamen marched down King Street, accompanied by artillery salutes, marching bands, and a carriage carrying Washington’s war tents. One of the marchers in this pageant was 17-year old Robert E. Lee, then a recently accepted West Point cadet.”

Lafayette spoke with locals about his experiences in the Revolutionary War and his encounters with America’s Founding Fathers, all published in the Alexandria Gazette.

A celebration of that visit is scheduled to kick off tonight (Tuesday) from 7-9 p.m. at The Lyceum (201 S. Washington Street). The event will feature music from the French Revolution as well as a discussion of Lafayette’s leadership in the Garde Nationale Parisienne.

“Experience the sounds of Lafayette’s era through a captivating lecture and concert featuring music performed on authentic early 19th-century instruments,” the Office of Historic Alexandria said in a release. “Researchers and historical-performance specialists Dominic Giardino and Dr. Chris Troiano will bring to life the melodies that underscored Lafayette’s remarkable French Revolutionary career.”

Tickets are $20 per person and available online.