Older students ages 12 and up
- What motivated the Marquis de Lafayette to join the American cause? [Inspired by a people seeking to overthrow a king, fighting for freedom.]
- Put yourself in James’ shoes… when General Lafayette asked you to spy for him, would you say yes or no?
- How did General Rochambeau subtly manipulate General Washington’s decision to attack the British in Virginia? [He had written to de Grasse about the deteriorating condition in Virginia and suggested the navy come to Virginia.]
- What were various ways that enslaved Virginians sought freedom? [Served in their owner’s place in a military regiment; escaped to the British army; volunteered with the British military.]
- Was Lund Washington’s meeting with the British brave or stupid? Was he right to disobey General Washington’s wishes? Do you think he saved Mount Vernon?
- The central theme of the book is freedom. How did the main characters define freedom differently? [For James it was personal freedom, for Washington and military leaders is was freedom for Americans to decide their own future away from the authority of the king.]
- What methods did Washington employ to keep the army’s march south secret from the British? What specifically did he do? [Inserted misleading communication in the mail, built fake bread ovens, built boats to indicate a river crossing, expanded roads to indicate a specific line of attack, prepared for the navy which was not coming.]
- Why do you think it took so long after he served as a spy for James to obtain freedom? [Virginia laws restricted manumission, owner William Armistead did not seek his manumission, manumission law freed soldiers who fought but not spies.]
- Why was it risky for both the Americans and the French to join together in an alliance? [The French had been America’s enemy in the previous war and they were inviting a foreign power to bring military forces onto American soil; For the French, another war with Britain would be costly and could spread.]
- Why did the Marquis de Lafayette go to America to fight?
- If you were James, would you say yes or no when Lafayette asked you to become a spy? (knowing it could mean death if you were captured)
- How did the Americans and French keep their march a secret from the British?
- What are some ways enslaved people sought freedom?