In July 1777 the Marquis de La Fayette (6th September, 1757 - 20th May, 1834), arrived in Philadelphia to receive his commission as major general in the Continental Army. A French aristocrat and military officer, Lafayette, as he was known, had been impassioned by the American cause and had agreed to serve without pay in the revolutionary army. Using his own funds he procured a ship and secretly sailed to America against the wishes of the French king. He served with distinction in a number of battles and became a life long friend of the Continental Army's commander-in-chief (and future US President) George Washington.
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