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A  French General’s Role in the American Revolution

ROCHAMBEAU, WASHINGTON’S IDEAL LIEUTENANT, A FRENCH GENERAL’S ROLE IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

ROCHAMBEAU, WASHINGTON’S IDEAL LIEUTENANT,
A French General’s Role in the American Revolution

5.0 out of 5 stars

A very interesting book

By AR, retired school administrator on December 23, 2011

Jini Jones Vail’s Rochambeau, Washington’s Ideal Lieutenant is a well researched book whose central figure is the top commander, appointed by Louis XVI, the king of France, as leader of the military force (expédition particulière), who is sent to help the American Continentals win independence from British rule.

It is a fascinating documentation of the important and crucial role that the French played, both monetarily and militarily in the defeat of the British at Yorktown. The author does an excellent job of describing the prevailing conditions, and the life experiences of the participants at that time.

I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in American history to learn more about Rochambeau’s important contribution to the American cause.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars

A Great Read for All Ages

By Endler-Kirby on December 1, 2011

Jini Jones Vail has written a most appealing historical account of France’s General de Rochambeau’s role in the American Revolution. In the Preface (p.XXI) she says, “the research and writing of distant history is not an exact science” yet her scholarly research, evidenced by notes, glossary and bibliography, gives the reader a wonderfully readable historical account of the relationship between Rochambeau and Washington as the American War for Independence moves down the eastern seaboard to Yorktown, Virginia.

Though Jini Jones Vail’s audience must not be limited to “east-coasters” those who do reside along the eastern seaboard will find charming references to towns, homes and perhaps ancestors with whom Rochambeau visited. The past comes alive as do the personalities of Rochambeau and Washington through anecdotes and the personal correspondence between them. They have become men whom you might have or wish to have known.

Even knowing the final outcome of the war, it is its unfolding in this most enjoyable book that pushes one to turn pages to accompany Rochambeau on our country’s journey toward independence.

 

A Great Read for All Ages.

Voila Another Frenchman who helped America behind the scenes during the Revolutionary War!

Do you know him?

Julien-Alexandre Achard de Bonvouloir

Once again, in the early days of the American Revolution, in the year 1775, Bonvouloir (even his name signifies a man of good will), served the American cause!

Let us remember!

Only a few months after the untimely death of Colonel Lee in Massachusetts in August 1775, Vergennes, “acting on the advice of his ambassador in London, approved the sending of a secret messenger to the American Continental Congress. Julien-Alexandre Achard de Bonvouloir was the man chosen for the job. His “mission was a major turning point in both American and French diplomacy.

When he reached Philadelphia in December 1775 he found as a ready audience the newly appointed Committee of Secret Correspondence. Between December 18 and December 27, Bonvouloir met three times with the committee  December 27, Bonvouloir met three times with the committee, including Benjamin Franklin, at Carpenters’ Hall.

The meetings went extremely well. The committee posed several leading questions to Bonvouloir, asking “if France were disposed favorably toward the Americans, if she would send them two good army engineers, and if she would sell them arms and war supplies in her ports. They also expressed their need of naval support. Bonvouloir gave positive responses to all their requests. In his December 28 report to Versailles he enthusiastically wrote, “Independency is a certainty for 1776.” When Vergennes received news of the success of the meeting, he “proposed a major shift in French policy toward the American Revolution.

There was growing excitement in France for the sake of American liberty. In response to the request of the Continental Congress to Bonvouloir, volunteers were encouraged to serve in America, and many answered the call.

This excerpt is from my book: pp. 35 and 37 Rochambeau, Washington’s Ideal Lieutenant, A French General’s Role in the American Revolution

Do you recognize this beautiful property and peaceful setting?

It is The Moore House with out buildings as seen today, very close to the battlefield at Yorktown, Virginia. It is important because it was here in October 1781 that the Articles of Capitulation were negotiated and drafted, finally bringing the British to their knees!

Rochambeau was instrumental in planning the winning battle of Yorktown.

The Moore House at Yorktown, Virginia

The Moore House at Yorktown, Virginia

Plans for the formal negotiations were made at the nearby Moore House overlooking the York River. According to the National Park Service, which now owns the house, the modest frame edifice had once been a part of York Plantation on a site first claimed by Governor John Harvey in the 1630s and later known as the five hundred – acre Temple Farm. Robert Smith was the owner until 1760  when he sold  the acreage to his brother-in-law, Augustine Moore.

The home is on the edge of the battlefield not far from the center of action. However, in 1781, when General Cornwallis settled into town with his army, many locals moved out of town in anticipation of the battle. It is believed that the Moores moved to Richmond for the time being to escape the coming siege.

Unlike that of the Nelson House, which was Cornwallis’s headquarters, the beautiful lines of the well-kept Moore house emerged in perfect condition from the battle at Yorktown, but it was marred during the Civil War. The National Park Service later bought and restored the building.
(Text from my book, Rochambeau, Washington’s Ideal Lieutenant; A French General’s Role in the American Revolution.)

Rochambeau, Washington’s Ideal Lieutenant

Hello this Labor Day Weekend!   Let me introduce you to my book
 
             Rochambeau, Washington’s Ideal Lieutenant, 
       A French General’s Role in the American Revolution
book cover frontI thought you might like to see what I worked on for 5 1/2 years, and below is a brief summary of the content. I hope that reading this account will whet your appetite to read the entire book. I have attempted to fill in what most history books of the American Revolution omit, the enormous part played by America’s first real friends, the French and the Spanish.

My friends tell me that this history book reads more like a novel than a dull, dry account and it’s a page-turner!  I love hearing this as we all know the ending of the American Revolution, but the real, true story that led to this conclusion, turns out to be more thrilling!

Beginning and ending with Rochambeau, my book traces his early life in the bosom of his military ancestors through his participation in multiple European sieges, recognition by King Louis XVI for valor in battle, and his late night summons from the king to prepare to lead an American expedition, a “special delivery” of French troops and hard currency to aid the revolutionaries.

Although Washington’s cause for liberty neared failure, upon his arrival in Rhode Island, Rochambeau was received with skepticism even as he placed himself under the command of General Washington, seven years his junior, an ocean’s distance from his king  and home

Over a little more than a year’s time Rochambeau and Washington forged a working relationship in spite of their differences in age, background, experience, and preferred military strategy.  Eventually they merged their two armies on the Hudson Highlands of New York having determined that without the aid of France’s navy, their mission to oust the British would fail.

Patiently waiting for events to fall into place, most importantly for the French navy’s arrival at the Chesapeake, Rochambeau, who spoke little English was thousands of miles from his normal supply lines, displayed patience and sound judgment in convincing Washington to take the final battle of the American Revolution to Virginia.

Rochambeau’s 700 mile march to victory in Virginia is laced with personal accounts of American and French officers and soldiers who braved the hazards and deprivations of their nearly three year campaign over what is now named The Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route, aka the W3R.

My biography/military history concludes with Rochambeau’s return to France, his involvement in the French Revolution, narrowly missing the guillotine’s blade, followed by the honors bestowed on him by king and emperor and finally his quiet retirement and death in the peace and quiet of his ancestral home, the Chateau de Rochambeau.

I wish you hours of true enjoyment learning about the birthing of America ~


Jini Jones Vail, Author
Rochambeau: Washington’s Ideal Lieutenant, A French General’s Role in the American Revolution

On This Date in History:

On this day in history, December 15, 1780, Charles-Louis d’Arsac, Chevalier de Ternay passed away in Newport, Rhode Island. He commanded the fleet of French ships that carried General Rochambeau ;and his army of 5,500 soldiers to America. Admiral de Ternay had been ill on the crossing, but managed to muster to the occasion even so far as to accompany Rochambeau and his aids to the first meeting with George Washington.  This meeting was held in Hartford, CT in September, 1780.

This is the burial place of Admiral de Ternay at Trinity Church, Newport, R.I.

This is the burial place of Admiral de Ternay at Trinity Church, Newport, R.I.

Below is an excerpt account  of Admiral de Ternay death as found in my book: Rochambeau, Washington’s Ideal Lieutenant, A French General’s Role in the American Revolution.

“Admiral de Ternay remained ill after returning from the Hartford Conference, but Rochambeau did not notice that he was any worse and was not alarmed when, in December, Ternay was confined by a fever. Washington received “the afflicting intelligence of the death of the Chevalier de Ternay. The French corps will do him the justice to say that it was impossible to conduct a convoy to its destination with greater skill and vigilance than he did the one confided to his charge.”56

French Commissary Claude Blanchard commented, “On the 14th [of December 1780], [t]he cold was very severe. M. the Chevalier de Ternay…had been sick for several days and had just been taken on shore. M. Corte, our chief physician, had been sent for, who told us that he found him very ill.”57 He fell victim to his disease; they said it was a putrid fever. He died December 15, 1780, at the Hunter House, 54 Washington Street in Newport, and was buried the next day in the Trinity churchyard “on the 16th in fine weather with great pomp. All the land forces were under arms.”

A view of Trinity Church and Trinity Churchyard, where Ternay is buried.

A view of Trinity Church and Trinity Churchyard, where Ternay is buried.

To learn more about the bizarre circumstances of the funeral and burial of the French Admiral, read the detailed description of how the Newporters accommodated his religious preferences in my book mentioned above.

Over There, Over There!

Yes:  The French Are Coming, The French Are Coming!

General Rochambeau Statue

General Rochambeau Statue

Sung to the tune of the World War I war ditty, only this time they are coming to America, and they are friendly!!!

This statue of General Rochambeau stands in 4 places.  Do you know where? Who was the sculptor?

I know where you can find all these answers and more~ Read: Rochambeau, Washington’s Ideal Lieutenant, A French General’s Role in the American Revolution by me, Jini Jones Vail.