Cannons from New England Guards, War of 1812, one fire by Lafayette in 1824

No. 21902 cannons from War of 1812 New England Guards

On his farewell tour, the Marquis de La Fayette visited New England and was invited by Governor William Eustis to visit the camp of the New England Guards at Savin Hill on August 28, 1824.  While there, Lafayette was invited to fire a cannon.  The Dorchester Historical Society has in its collections the two cannons that were at the training camp on Savin Hill that day.


No. 21903 Detail of ornamental figure on the cannons from the New England Guards

Lafayette in America, in 1824 and 1825; or, Journal of Travels in the United States. By A. Levasseur. (New York, 1829), 58-59.

The Governor of Massachusetts in August 1824 was William Eustis, whose house was in Roxbury.

l Lafayette was invited by the Governor to visit the Camp at Savin Hill, a few miles from Boston. He accepted; and we reached there at noon. Savin Hill is a very picturesque situation, on the sea-shore. It is there that the volunteer companies, of Boston, in the pleasant season of the year, go by turns, to employ them¬selves in military exercises. The camp was at that time occupied by a company of the New England Guards. At our arrival we found them under arms. Their young commander came forward to receive the General; and after a short speech returned to the head of his band, which he manoeuvred with much precision. After different movements by the infantry, the artillery began to practise in firing. Most of the shots were directed with great precision at a floating target placed at a considerable distance. The artillerists invited the General to aim one of the pieces himself; he did so, and the shot broke the target. This successful experiment, which no one expected from a man of his age, excited the applause of all the young militiamen; and the ladies, who usually go to the camp to visit their bro¬thers and husbands, and who on that day had gone in greater numbers to see Lafayette.

The materiel of the artillery which was before our eyes, had attracted my attention from the first moment of out arrival in the camp. After the manoeuvres were finished, I approached to examine it more particularly ; and was not a little surprised recognize our French models perfectly imitated.  There were the first I had seen in the hands of militiamen.  The officers who remarked the interest I took in the examination informed me that they owed this imrovement to General Lallemand, whom the proscriptions of 1815 compelled to seek a refuge among the Americans, and who died a few years after at New York, regretting that he could not turn his last looks upon his country. During his abode in the United States, where his talents and character had conciliated the public esteem, he devoted himself with ardour to his desire of being useful to the nation which ex¬tended to him such generous hospitality. The militia of Massachusetts owe to him great improvements in their ar¬tillery; and he has left a treatise on that arm, in two volumes, in which he has, it is true, repeated the regulations already known and practised in France ; but which he has perfectly adapted to the wants of those for whom he laboured. He married, in Philadelphia, the niece of a Frenchman who had lived more than forty years in that city, where he has amassed one of the greatest estates in Pennsylvania, by his skill in commerce. This marriage did not, however, improve the condition of General Lallemand, who died poor. His widow remains in Philadelphia under the care of her uncle.

After the visit to the camp at Savin Hill, the Governor took us to dine at his country house; and we returned to the city, to attend a very brilliant ball, which Mr. Lloyd, a Senator of the United States, gave to General Lafayette.”


Posted on

December 23, 2021

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