Lafayette was a French aristocrat and military officer who commanded American troops in the American Revolutionary War. In France he was a commissioned officer by age 13, and in America he was made a major general at age 19. He became a member of Washington’s staff; Washington told Lafayette that he held him in confidence as a “friend and father.” Wounded during the Battle of Brandywine, Lafayette still managed to organize an orderly retreat, and he served with distinction in the Battle of Rhode Island. In 1781, troops under his command in Virginia blocked forces led by Cornwallis until other American and French forces could position themselves for the decisive siege of Yorktown. More than any other foreign dignitary, Marquis de Lafayette, advocated an independent United States. The French aristocrat and military officer was a close friend of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. Through his actions and achievements he became a beloved figure in both America and France.