Descendants of Revolutionaries Honor a Regiment in Germany that Helped the United States Gain Independence

A plaque honoring the Royal Deux-Ponts Regiment and its leaders, Colonel Christian von Zweibrücken and Lieutenant-Colonel Wilhelm von Zweibrücken, was unveiled during a ceremony in Zweibrucken, Germany, Saturday, October 29, 2022. (Phillip Walter Wellman/Stars and )

ZWEIBRUCKEN, Germany – In October 1781, a French regiment with German-speaking troops helped defeat the British at Yorktown, Virginia, ending the American Revolutionary War and securing American independence.

Descendants of those who fought in the war joined local officials on Saturday to honor the regiment and the two brothers who led it by unveiling a plaque in their hometown of Zweibrucken, near Germany’s western border with France.

“We are very proud, as the city of Zweibrucken, to be part of the history of the United States,” the city’s mayor, Marlod Wosnitza, told about three dozen people who attended the inauguration. . “We have a long-standing partnership with this country.”

The plaque – awarded by the Daughters of the American Revolution, a lineage-based group whose members are descended from people who supported US independence efforts more than two centuries ago – is located at the site of the former family home of Christian and Wilhelm von Zweibrucken near the center of town.

Christian led the regiment, known by its French name of Régiment Royal Deux-Ponts, which his father Christian IV, Duke of Zweibrucken, assembled. It included members from the Palatinate and Saar regions of Germany and eastern France. Wilhelm served as second-in-command colonel.

About a year after arriving in North America, the regiment took part in the Battle of Yorktown, which proved to be the decisive engagement of the Revolution, forcing British troops to surrender and paving the way for the Treaty of Paris in 1783.

Catherine Armand, member of the Rochambeau Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in France, left, Jacques Hauvette and fellow DAR Rochambeau Chapter members Anne Hauvette and Janet Galas Hill attend a plaque unveiling in Zweibrucken, Germany, on Saturday October 29, 2022, commemorating the Royal Deux-Ponts Regiment.

Catherine Armand, member of the Rochambeau Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in France, left, Jacques Hauvette and fellow DAR Rochambeau Chapter members Anne Hauvette and Janet Galas Hill attend a plaque unveiling in Zweibrucken, Germany, on Saturday October 29, 2022, commemorating the Royal Deux-Ponts Regiment. (Philip Walter Wellman/Stars and Stripes)

Shirley Herzer, a member of the Palatinate Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, delivers a prayer during a ceremony in Zweibrucken, Germany, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, at which a plaque was unveiled honoring the Regiment Local Royal Deux-Ponts who supported American settlers at the Battle of Yorktown.

Shirley Herzer, a member of the Palatinate Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, delivers a prayer during a ceremony in Zweibrucken, Germany, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, at which a plaque was unveiled honoring the Regiment Local Royal Deux-Ponts who supported American settlers at the Battle of Yorktown. (Philip Walter Wellman/Stars and Stripes)

Retired Defense Department teacher Carol Moldenhauer, left, and retired Lt. Col. Lois Borsay - both members of the Daughters of the American Revolution - lay a wreath at an unveiled plaque in Zweibrucken, Germany , to commemorate the Royal Deux-Ponts Regiment, Saturday October 29, 2022.

Retired Defense Department teacher Carol Moldenhauer, left, and retired Lt. Col. Lois Borsay – both members of the Daughters of the American Revolution – lay a wreath at an unveiled plaque in Zweibrucken, Germany , to commemorate the Royal Deux-Ponts Regiment, Saturday October 29, 2022. (Phillip Walter Wellman/Stars and Stripes)

The Zweibrucken City Band performs Yankee Doodle at a ceremony hosted by the Daughters of the American Revolution in Zweibrucken, Germany on Saturday, October 29, 2022.

The Zweibrucken City Band performs Yankee Doodle at a ceremony hosted by the Daughters of the American Revolution in Zweibrucken, Germany on Saturday, October 29, 2022. (Phillip Walter Wellman/Stars and)

A model of the Royal Deux-Ponts Regiment, which supported the settlers during the American Revolution, is on display at the Zweibrucken City Museum on Saturday, October 29, 2022.

A model of the Regiment Royal Deux-Ponts, which supported the settlers during the American Revolution, is displayed in the Zweibrucken city museum on Saturday, October 29, 2022. (Phillip Walter Wellman/Stars and Stripes)

A painting by Johann Christian von Mannlich, on display at the Zweibrucken City Museum on Saturday, October 29, 2022, depicts Christian von Zweibrucken, left, and his younger brother Wilhelm.  Both would later support American settlers at the Battle of Yorktown.

A painting by Johann Christian von Mannlich, on display at the Zweibrucken City Museum on Saturday, October 29, 2022, depicts Christian von Zweibrucken, left, and his younger brother Wilhelm. Both would later support American settlers at the Battle of Yorktown. (Philip Walter Wellman/Stars and Stripes)

Some DAR members living in the nearby military community of Kaiserslautern, the largest U.S. overseas military community, attended Saturday’s event. American flags were handed out to attendees and a local band played songs including The Star-Spangled Banner and Yankee Doodle. About two dozen other members living in Germany and France also attended.

“It’s a specific part of our shared history: French, German and American,” Catherine Armand, the regent of the DAR’s Rochambeau chapter in France, who traveled to the event from Paris, told Stars and Stripes.

Mindy Kammeyer-Price, the former DAR National Society general reporter, flew in from Atlanta, Georgia to attend.

“Being in this country with these women who still remember their heritage is really important,” Kammeyer-Price said, adding that the new plaque should help others remember this piece of American history. German and French.

“It really made a difference for us, that these two brothers came to the United States and participated in this decisive battle,” said Kammeyer-Price. “Honoring them like that is truly wonderful.”

Mayor Wosnitza highlighted the parallels between Regiment 18e century’s efforts and the support the United States and Germany provide to Ukraine today as it struggles to repel invading Russian forces.

“Ukraine is at war for its independence,” Wosnitza told the crowd. “[The] the country must be defended by its people and by all of us.

The unveiling of the plaque, which has wordings in English, German and French, corresponds to a German-language exhibition on Duke Christian IV at the Zweibrucken City Museum which runs until March and includes information on the Royal Regiment Two Bridges. Museum officials encourage Americans to visit.

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