An exploration of the journal of Captain George Frederick Frank de la Roche, during the years before, during, and after the war of 1812
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Type of Work68 pages
The contents of this thesis are a history of an individual who took part in the fabrication of early American history. George F. de la Roche was the son of a foreign officer who served in the American Revolution with Washington, Rochambeau, and Lafayette. After the war, Frederick de la Roche immigrated to the United States with young George and the rest of his family due to the French Revolution and the unpopularity of the nobility. Arriving in Philadelphia in the early 1790's, Frederick established a profitable shipping company, which collapsed during the Quasi-War when all of the ships he owned were captured by French privateers. With the collapse of his business and feeling disgraced, Frederick returned to France in the late 1790's and was never heard from again, though George believed his father served in the Allied Army fighting Napoleon. At this point, young George was old enough to start writing in his journal and began to describe the events of his life and what information he could remember about his father. With the family destitute, George de la Roche became indentured to a maritime captain, Lloyd Jones, who mentored him in the nautical profession. At the age of twenty-one and free of his indenture, George joined the United States Navy in 1812 and served with distinction as a Masters' Mate on the Frigate Constellation during the British Chesapeake Campaigns of 1813, and as a Sailing Master on the Sloop of War Erie during the siege of Baltimore in 1814. After the war, George left the navy and took command of several merchant vessels making frequent runs between the United States and Europe, and even ran into some pirates in the Caribbean. Finally deciding to retire from the sea, George sets himself up as an architect and engineer, designing several facilities, which still stand. The original United States Naval Observatory in North West Washington, D.C. was designed by George as well as laying out the grounds of the cemetery adjourning Rock Creek Park where he was buried.