When the 17-story ship glided through the cool morning mist like an apparition in the Virginia town, many didn't realized that it was a replica of a French frigate that in 1780 transported General Lafayette to America to rally US rebels battling for independence.
The Hermione, which carried the Marquis de Lafayette to the US colonies, sailed into Yorktown, Virginia, to kick off a series of events along the east coast
The symbolic return of the Hermione pays homage to Lafayette and the Franco-American alliance that brought victory at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781.
The ship was guided into Virginia by the Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Mitscher.
The much-anticipated vessel — which took 17 years and nearly $30 million to build — fired its unarmed cannons as it neared shore.
A flurry of red, white and blue fireworks exploded in the air as the ship touched the dock. Even reenactors dressed in period clothing broke character and snapped photos, unwilling to miss the moment.
The replica is among the most authentic in the world, and its voyage is a source of immense national pride in France
The ship is expected to draw huge crowds as it travels to Alexandria, Va., Annapolis, Baltimore, and then up the East Coast to Boston, on July 11.