In the 1780s, Peekskill was identified as “Camp 37” by the French Army in America. The important contributions made by French military forces are commemorated by two colorized plaques installed in Peekskill’s downtown.
A dedication of these historical panels will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 17, at the gazebo, which is located at Park and Division streets.
Mayor Frank Catalina will be master of ceremonies and Hudson Valley Historian Col. Jim Johnson will give the Keynote Address. Peekskill Historian Frank Goderre will also share remarks.
Colonel Johnson and Joe Ryan, president of the Living History Foundation, clad in the red uniforms of Dillon’s Irish Regiment in French Service, will form a color guard at the outdoor event.
Two panels identify Peekskill as a significant site along the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail. The trail, a.k.a W3R, runs through nine states starting in Rhode Island, where French soldiers commanded by Gen. Rochambeau arrived in 1780, and through New York, where they crossed the Hudson River between Verplanck and Stony Point. They traveled to victory in Virginia and returned through New York to Boston, where the French sailed away at the end of 1782.
The combined armies of Rochambeau and George Washington’s Americans compelled the surrender of British forces at Yorktown, Virginia, in October 1781. This battle pointed to the end of the Revolutionary War and independence for the United States.
A reception at the Peekskill Museum, located at 124 Union Ave., will follow.