Thomas Balch.

The French in America during the war of independence of the United States, 1777-1783 online

. (page 3 of 18)
Online LibraryThomas BalchThe French in America during the war of independence of the United States, 1777-1783 → online text (page 3 of 18)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Who took pakt in the Wae of American Independence,

EITHER AS Volunteers with a Commission from

Congress, or in the French Expedition.


Aboville (Fran9ois-Marie, Count d') was born at Brest
in 1730, and died in 1817. He served with distinction un-
der Rochambeau in the American campaign as colonel-com-
mandant of the artillery. By his able arrangements he aided
materially in the capture of Yorktown.^"-*'

In 1789 he was appointed marichal de camp, and com-
manded the artillery of the Armies of the North and of the
Ardennes, with the rank of lieutenant-general, during the
French Eevolution in 1792.^ In 1793 he declared against

*°Deux Fonts, 70.

" One may judge from the following incident how d'Aboville com-
manded his artillery: —

The 15th of October Lord Cornwallis wrote to General Clinton:
" Last evening the enemy carried my two advanced redoubts on the
left by storm, and during the night included them in the second par-
allel, which they are at present busy in perfecting. My situation now
becomes very critical ; we dare not show a gun to their old batteries,
and I expect that their new ones will open to-morrow morning. Ex-
perience has shown that our fresh earthen works do not resist their
powerful artillery, so that we shall soon be exposed to an assault in
ruined works in a bad position and with weakened numbers. The
safety of the place is therefore so precarious that I cannot recom-
mend that the fleet and army should run great risque in endeavoring
to save us."

^ JIanuscript of Dupetit-Thouars, 78.


40 The French in America.

Dumouriez ; then, under the Empire, he became inspector-gen-
eral of the artillery, senator, and grand officer of the Legion
of Honor.

The Count d'Aboville invented a kind of wheel with metal
naves, which was first shown at the Industrial Exposition in
1802, and which has since been used for velocipedes.

AiGUiSY (D'), an infantry officer, was killed in the naval
fight off Saint Lucia, the 19th of May, 1780.*=

Aix, an auxiliary officer, was killed.**

Alausse, Aloze or Alause (Joseph-Phil6mon Galtier d'),
born December 24th, 1742, in Languedoc; was in the three
battles fought by the Count de Guichen ; captain in the regi-
ment of Touraine.

Anselme de la Gardette (Joseph-Bernard-Modeste) was
born the 26th of August, 1737, at Apt in Provence, and began
to serve in 1745. His father was an officer in the regiment
of Soissonnais, and, according to the custom of the day, the
son was inscribed on the lists of that regiment when seven
years of age. He was captain in 1760, major in 1774,
lieutenant-colonel in 1777, and, in spite of poor health, he
followed his regiment to America and served in the small
expedition that started from Newport on the squadron of Des-
touches for Delaware Bay. An excellent officer, his brilliant
conduct at Yorktown gained for him a pension of six hun-
dred livres in the order of Saint-Louis. He was the oldest
of the lieutenant-colonels in America who was not a brigadier.

Lieutenant>-general in May, 1792, he took, at the head of
a corps of the Army of the South, Nice, Montalban, and
Villefranche. But, having suffered a defeat at Sospello, he

*■ Manuscript of Dupetit-Thouars, 42.
" Manuscript of Dupetit-Thouars, 7, 186.

List of Officers. 41

was accused of treachery and locked up at I'Abbaye. The
9th Thermidor released him.

Anselme- de la Gardette (Jacques), brother of the
preceding one, was born at Apt, July the 3d, 1740, and
served in America with the rank of captain-commandant, in
the same regiment of Soissonnais. At first he only bore
the name of de La Gardette, which was that of his mother.'*^
He died in 1812.

Arcy (Jacques-Philippe d') was born at Paris in 1742;
captain in the regiment of Dillon; died before Savannah.
It is probable that he was a son of the celebrated Patrick
d'Arcy, who was born at Galway, September 27th, 1725 ;
was a member of the Academy in 1749, was colonel at the
battle of Eiossbach, and died at Paris, October 18th, 1779.
The father left scientific works on artillery, the moon, a new
gun, electricity, and other subjects.

Aeendt (Baron d'), commanded Fort Island and the Ger-
man battalion, and resigned in 1777 on account of his health.
He was one of the first to engage as a volunteer.

Armand (Charles, Marquis de la Eouerie), better known
as Colonel Armcmd. He served for ten years in France in
the French Guards, but left the service to enter the order of
the Trappists, owing to a love affair.*^ He stayed with them
only a short time, and crossed to America, where he received
from Congress, March the 22d, 1777, the title of colonel,
and the permission to enlist a legion of two hundred men.
He fell in so readily with the republican customs of the
country that he wished to be known only by his baptismal

*See in the List of Regiments: Soissonnais.

*It was his unfortunate love for the Beaumesnil, of the Opera,
which first caused him to enter the order of the Trappists, and then
induced him to cross to America.

42 The French in America.

name. He showed during the whole war great courage and
activity, to which he joined a gay and witty character. He
fought at Red Bank, and then in New Jersey under La

In November, 1778, he commanded, as colonel, at the
camp at the Yalley Forge, a corps of light armed troops;
he was then only twenty-four years of age. His legion was
almost entirely destroyed at the battle of Camden, in Caro-
lina. He captured, near Kingsbridge, the loyalist Baremore.
His corps was incorporated into the legion of Pulaski in 1780.

De la Bouerie returned to France ia May, 1781. General
Washington intrusted him with a letter for Marshal de Biron,
in which he recommended him to the goodwill of the French
Minister, saying that this brave officer had not received in
America, in spite of his excellent services, the rank he de-

The Marquis received at that time the cross of Saint-Louis.
But he did not wish to abandon the cause that he had already
so well served ; he bought everything that was necessary to
arm and equip a legion, and returned to America, where he
offered to Congress his purchases.

Upon the signing of peace, in 1783, he was promoted to
the rank of brigadier-general.

Returning to France in 1784 he took an active part in
the Revolutionary movement; nevertheless, he opposed the
excesses of the Jacobins, but it was too late, and he had to
take part in the Royalist revolts of the Bretons and the

He organized the Royalist insurrection of Brittany and pre-
pared a general revolt for the mouth of March, 1793. For
a long time he was able to escape the researches of the agents
of the Convention, and lived for six months at Rennes, in
the midst of his enemies, all intent upon his conspiracy, dis-
guised as a crippled beggar with a plaster on his eye. But
he was so much affected by the death of the king that he

List of Officers. 43

was seized with a violent fever and died on January 30th,
1793, without having accomplished anything. He was buried
at night, by moonlight; but his body was exhumed a few
days later by the Republicans, who found upon it papers
compromising several of his political friends. A few of them,
on these indications, were sought for and guillotined.

Aeeot (Viscount d') was on board of the Provence to
cross to America with Count de Dillon, under the orders of
de Lauzun.*'

Aeundel, enlisted as a volunteer, was appointed captain
of artillery the 19th of March, 1776, under the orders of
General Lee.

AssAS (D'), captain en second in the regiment of Gatinais.

This d'Assas was the nephew of the famous Chevalier
d'Assas, who fell at Clostercamp under the bayonets whilst
crying out the famous, " A moi, Auvergne, voila. I'ennemi."

The Chevalier d'Assas was captain of chasseurs in the regi-
ment of Auvergne, and he had in the same regiment his elder
brother, father of the d'Assas whom we find here, captain
in the regiment of Gatinais.

Rochambeau had belonged to the regiment of d'Assas, and
it was probably on this account that he chose this corps to
take part in the American expedition under his command.
The present Marquis d'Assas must be the grandson of the
Captain d'Assas of the American expedition, and he con-
tinues to enjoy the pension of one thousand francs given by
Louis the Sixteenth to the posterity of the hero of Closter-
camp, which was one of the four pensions^ of the anden
regime which were kept up by the National Assembly.*'

" Mtmoires de Lauzun.

*" These four pensions were the following: Heirs of Montcalm,
d'Assas, de Chambors, and Marshal de Luckner." Marginal note.
*' Archives of war.

44 The French in America.

AuBETEERB or Optbbre (C), ail officer of engineers at-
tached to the expeditionary corps.

Atjbiee (Charles, Baron d'), officer in the French army
under Rochambeau.'"

AuTiCHAMP (Antoine-Joseph-Eulalie de Beaumont, Count d')
was born October 10th, 1744, at Angers. He began to serve
in 1759, was officer in 1761, captain in 1763, and colonel
April the 11th, 1770. He served in four campaigns in Amer-
ica, and especially distinguished himself at Yorktown, where
he won by his gallant conduct the rank of brigadier mestre
de camp in the regiment of Ag4nois on the 5th of December,
1781. He was endowed with much talent, activity, and firm-
ness. He distinguished himself at Saint Christopher, and upon
the signing of peace was appointed marshal de camp.

Cromot Dubourg found him at Williamsburg, where he had
returned with Saint-Simon, and Dubourg says in his Memoirs
that he was very glad to see him again on account of the
kindness that his brother had received from him.

Aymaed De ViLLiS (Louis-Frangois d'), a captain in the
regiment of Armagnac, born at Verdun, November 5th, 1 749.
He was severely wounded in the battles fought, from the 9th
to the 12th of August, 1782, by the Count de Grasse.


Baldivia (Potthier de), a well educated young man, son
of a chevalier of Saint-Louis, engineer attached to the Duke
of Orleans, whom Dr. Dubourg enlisted for America. He
started with Gillet de Lomont.

Baegues. See Chazelle.

"Admitted (to what not said) July 4th, 1825, upon application of
La Fayette. Marginal note by T. B.

List of Officers. 45

Baeolier (La), captain of artillery, was almost killed dur-
ing the night of the 28th of May, 1781, by one of his sergeants,
who gave him several cuts with a sabre, without known reason.
The would-be murderer was immediately tried and hung.^^

Baeeas (Louis, Count de), born in Provence of an old
family distinguished in the profession of arms. There was a
saying : " Noble as the Barras, as ancient as the rocks of

The early part of his life is not clearly known. He first
followed d'Estaing in his campaign in North America and
distinguished himself in the fight at Grenada.

After the death of the Chevalier de Ternay, Captain Des-
touche, as the oldest officer, took command of the squadron ;
but the command was given to de Barras, who came to take
possession of his post on the 8th of May, 1781. He had
left Brest on the 26th of March on the frigate the Ooneorde,
with Viscount de Eochambeau and the two brothers Berthier,
and landed at Newport. He was escorted by the &neraude
and the JBdlone. At this time Washington was uncertain
what direction to take to strike a decisive blow. But de Bar-
ras let him know, by a dispatch, that he was bringing him
six millions in place of the promised troops, who could not
come for lack of transport, and that Count de Grasse was to
start on the 4th of August from Cape Fran9ais in Saint Do-
mingo for Chesapeake Bay, with twenty-five or twenty-nine
war vessels and three thousand six hundred soldiers under the
command of Saint-Simon. The allied generals then immedi-
ately made their arrangements to raise the siege of New York
unknown to the enemy, and to move by forced marches on
to Yorktown.

At the same time that the troops under the command of
Washington and Eochambeau executed this movement, de
Barras remained with his squadron in the port of Rhode


46 The French in America.

Island under the protection of five hundred French soldiers
under the command of de Choisy, and one thousand American
militiamen. Finally, having received news of the near arri-
val of de Grasse in Chesapeake Bay, de Barras took on board
of the ten ships he commanded the troops of de Choisy and
the artillery, and, profiting by an engagement of the French
admiral with Admiral Graves, he entered the bay and suc-
cessftilly disembarked his stores and his troops.

De Grasse had just been appointed lieutenant-general, and
Count de Barras, although his senior officer, agreed to serve
under his orders until the end of the campaign. He gave
thus an example of devotion which has had few models and
few imitators, especially at that time.'"

De Barras followed Count de Grasse from Chesapeake Bay
to the West Indies, and fought bravely, on the 25th and 26th
of January, 1782, against Admiral Hood, whose squadron was
anchored under the guns of Saint Christopher. De Bouill6
having captured this colony, de Barras was detached to cap-
ture the islands of N6vis and Montferrat, which surrendered.
He returned afterwards to Europe and was not present at
the disaster of the following April. He retired at the Peace
of 1783, and died shortly after the French Revolution.

He was the uncle of Jean Nicolas de Barras, one of the
five Directors of the French Republic.

Baeke (De La) entered the service as cadet in the troops
of the colonies in 1759, passed as aspirant into the artillery
in 1764, volunteer in the carabiniers in 1767, sub-lieutenant
in 1770, lieutenant in the regiment of Cond6 in 1776, be-
longed to the squadron of the king commanded by Count
d'Estaing, and to the troops which were lauded at the siege
of Savannah in 1780, where he was wounded. He is, per-
haps, the same as the following.

"'See Vol. I., pages 109, 110, and pages 168-182, and extracts from
'^ Journal d'un offider de marine," page 24, Paris, 1782.

List of Officers. 47

Baere (De La), French general.

The Biographie Ginirale says that, carried away by liberal
ideas, this one followed La Fayette to America, where he
distinguished himself; that afterwards he returned to serve
in France, and was appointed brigadier-general. Employed
at the siege of Toulon, and afterwards in the army of the
Pyrenees, he was mortally wounded between Roses and
Figuidres. The Convention decreed that his name and his
deeds should be engraved on a column in the Pantheon.

Baudin de Beatjregaed de Romefoet (Charles-Pierre),
major in the regiment of Ag6nois, born at Cognac the 15th
of June, 1740.

Baudot. See Tayet.

Baudouin, lieutenant-colonel of the legion of Lauzun,
came to America and landed at Newport, with Rochambeau.
He returned to France in October, 1780. Blanchard gave him
a letter for his uncle, Blanchard de Lavarie, residing in Saint
Domingo, member of the Superior Council at Port-au-Prince.

Batjde^ (Olivier- Victor de), born at Bayeux the 21st of
May, 1736 ; served since 1756 ; captain in 1762 ; captain-
commandant in the regiment of Soissonnais, and the oldest
captain of that regiment during the American War; excellent
officer, full of honor, zeal, and intelligence ; good conduct at

Bazin (Guillaume de), born the 24th of March, 1740, at
Marmande, in Guyenne, captain-commandant of Soissonnais.
Twenty-four years and eight months of service; three cam-
paigns in Germany, two in Corsica in 1768-1769, two in
America ; wounded at Clostercamp and in Corsica ; decorated
for his good conduct before Yorktown.

48 The French in America.

Beauhaknais (Alexandre, Viscount de), born in Mar-
tinique in 1760, guillotined in Paris in 1794; served as
major under Rochambeau in the United States. Deputy from
Blois to the States General, he was one of the first to join
the Third Estate, became President of the National Assembly,
general of division in the Army of the Rhine in 1792,
minister of war in 1793.*^ Falsely accused of having
aroused a disturbance at Metz, he was arrested and condemned
to death by the revolutionary tribunal. His widow, Josephine,
became Empress of the French, and his son was made Vice-
roy of Italy by Napoleon.

Beatjlieu (De), former captain of infantry in France, ob-
tained the same position in America, where he went to serve
in the legion of Pulaski. An infantry officer of this name was
wounded in the fight ofi" Saint Lucia, on the fleet of Guichen.
Pontgibaud says that after the war he married an English
woman, and kept a tavern at Asylum. We think that per-
haps he means de Pontleroy, secret agent of Choiseul, to
whom we have given another notice.


Beatjmaechais (Pierre-Augustin Caron de). We do not
have to consider here the man of letters so celebrated from his
creation of Figaro, but only the merchant who covered his specu-
lations with the flag of liberalism. Already in the beginning of
the year 1776, Barbue Dubourg, agent of the Americans in
Paris, had addressed to Congress two French officers, Penet and
de Pliarne, who engaged to furnish arms and ammunition to the
revolted colonies, and effectually, on the 10th of June, 1776,
Penet started from Nantes with fifteen thousand guns from
the royal gun shops. They were sent under the name of la
Tuilkrie. Beaumarchais, associated with Pelletier du Doyer
and de Montieu, equipped, in January, 1777, the Amphitrite

''Did not accept this position. Marginal note.

List of Officers. 49

and two other ships, on which were Ducoudray, de la Eou-
erie, de Bore, Conway; Captain Fautrelle was in command
of the Amphitrite. At the same time Arthur Lee ratified in
Paris, in the name of Congress, with the French Government,
a secret treaty, by which the latter agreed to secretly furnish
arms and ammunition to the Americans under the cover of
commerce. Beaumarchais undertook sending the arms and
the management of the funds. He took the name of Hor-
talfes Rodrigue, residing at Cape Fran9ais, Saint Domingo,
and he had addressed to that residence the convoys that Lee
sent him, under the name of the manufacturer, Mairy John-
son. The treaty was not carried out until October, 1777 ;
the first convoys were loaded on the merchant vessel the
Hewreux, and they arrived at Portsmouth, New Hampshire,
on the 1st of JSTovember. The brave Baron Steuben was on
this same vessel.

The Fier-Rodrigue, Captain de Montaut, then the Ferragus,
the Ziphir, the Estargette, the Thirese, were armed in 1778.
The Fier-Rodrigue was a real war vessel with sixty guns, and
was convoying some ten merchant ships, when, in sight of the
Island of Grenada in the beginning of July, 1779, it met the
fleet of Admiral d'Estaing preparing to fight the fleet of Ad-
miral Byron. The Fier-Rodrigue had to take a position in
the line of battle under the orders of d'Estaing. De Montaut
was killed, and Gantheaume, afterwards admiral, replaced him
in command.

The arms were often of a poor quality ; several loads were
captured by English cruisers. Congress, whose finances were
in a bad state, could not always send to Beaumarchais the
moneys that he wanted. Nevertheless he showed himself as
able a financier and merchant as he was a hterary man, and,
thanks to his good sense and his activity, he acquired some for-
tune which he augmented by other speculations. He nearly lost
his riches as well as his life during the French Revolution ;
his good luck, and perhaps his exaggerated love for money,

50 The French in America.

had made him many enemies. He died in 1799 at the age
of seventy ; he had, it was said, committed suicide."

Beaumont. See Goeat.

Beaumont (Antoine-Franyois, Viscount de), born the 3d of
May, 1753, at the Chateau of la E.oque, in P6rigord. He
was commander of squadron in 1781, and brought himself
into notice in the battle of the 11th of September, 1781,
where he captured the English frigate the Fox.

Appointed in 1789 deputy from the tribunal of the nobil-
ity^' of A gen to the States General, he steadily voted with
the right in the Assembly Constituante, was opposed to the
uniting of the three orders, and protested against the decree
of the 19th of June, 1790, which abolished the nobility.
After the session, he withdrew to England, then to Russia.
Returning to France during the Consular Government, he
settled at Toulouse, where he died on the 15th of September,

Bedbaux (Lebrun de). Appointed brevet captain with pay
the 10th of May, 1777 ; lieutenant-colonel of the legion of
Pulaski the 10th of December, 1777 ;^'* died in America.^'

B:fiD:fiE DE BoiSBEAS (Ange-Armand de), born at Rennes
the ,1st of March, 1742 ; entered the service in 1757 ; cap-
tain-commandant in the regiment of Saintonge the 28th of
August, 1777 ; five campaigns at Cayenne, two in America.

" This extraordinary man dipped into everything ; he was indeed
a jack of all trades. He almost succeeded in everything, so prodigious
were his abilities. He tried, however, in vain, one must admit, to be
an honest man. {Eevue Ritrospective, 15th of March, 1870, page 168.)
See Vol. I., pages 82, 83.

^Noblesse de la Skitchaussee.

^"Perhaps 1778. Marginal note.

" Auberteuil.

List of Officers. 51

Bepfroy, officer of the legion of Lauzun, who distinguished
himself at Gloucester.^*

BiiHAGLE or Bi^HAGUE (Jean-Baptiste-Emmanuel de), born
at Paris the 3d of February, 1735 ; captain-commandant in
the regiment of Ag4nois after twenty-six years of service ;
served in the campaigns in Germany. Six years of sojourn
in America ruined his constitution and incapacitated him from
continuing to serve.^'

Bellangee (De), officer of artillery, who was killed in
the trenches before Yorktown on the 17th of October, 1781,
the day of the preliminary steps for surrender.

Bellecotjr (Lebrun de). See Bedbatjx.

BifeEAGE DE La Boyere (Jean-Pierre), born at Aix in
Provence, the 24th of February, 1736 ; captain-commandant
in the regiment of Soissonnais the 7th of June, 1776, after
twenty-five years of service. He made two campaigns in
America, proved himself a good officer, and was decorated for
his good conduct at Yorktown.

B:fiRAND DE Matjraige or MoRREiGE (Christophe-Phil-
ippe), born the 15th of March, 1759 ; appointed sub-lieuten-
ant in the regiment of Ag6nois the 1st of November, 1779 ;
decorated for a wound received at Savannah, where he had
a leg broken the 9th of October, 1780. Remained on the
battlefield, and was for four months prisoner of war in the
enemy's hospitals.

Berguissont, BouEGxnssoN or Bourgtjignont (De), cap-
tain of Ag6nois, commanding the redoubt on the right against
which the English made a sortie during the night of the 15th

^ Report of Rochambeau.
" Archives of war.

52 The French in America.

to the 16th October, 1781. He was wounded and made

Beeeubt. See Bbevjet.

Beethelot (Augustin-C16ment de Villeneuve, Chevalier
de), born the 19th of August, 1750, at R^signe, in Anjou ; ap-
pointed captain in the regiment of Gitinais (Royal-Auvergne)
the 17th of August, 1779 ; died in 1781 from wounds re-
ceived at the siege of Yorktown.

Beethiee (Louis-Alexandre), born at Versailles the 20th
of November, 1753 ; captain of the regiment of Soissonnais
the 26th of April, 1780 ; made four campaigns in America
as sub-assistant quartermaster.*" " The two brothers Berthier,
recently arrived from France," says General Dumas in his
Memoirs, "are joined to our staff." ^^•''

Berthier went in 1783 to Porto Cabello with Sggur and
surveyed the latter's property at Saint Domingo. He re-
turned to France a colonel, served the Republic with distinc-
tion, then became closely attached to Bonaparte, who, having
become Emperor, covered him with favors, made him his
major-general, and created him Marshal of France, Prince
of Neuchatel and of Wagram. He died the 1st of June,

*" Manuscript of Cromot Dubourg.

" MarSchal des logis.


''In the reconnoitering expeditions that were made on the 21st of
July by the Count de Damas, the Count de Vauban and Berthier, all
aids-de-camp of the Count de Eochambeau, the leg of the Count de
Damas's- horse was broken by a ball; de Damas then took off the
saddle and the bridle himself in front of the enemy's batteries, put
the saddle on the horse of a hussar, and got up behind the latter to
return to the generals. De Vauban and Berthier each took a prisoner,
but the latter oflicer killed the one he had made, because, having sur-
rendered, he had fired at him with a pistol. {Mercure de France, Octo-
ber, 1781, page 172.)

1 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Online LibraryThomas BalchThe French in America during the war of independence of the United States, 1777-1783 → online text (page 3 of 18)