Redoubts 9 and 10 – Where the US was born.


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Without the service of the French Regulars, Cornwallis would never have surrendered.  Anthony Wayne’s Continentals and these men captured these two strong redoubts in night bayonet attacks.  There are a whole lot of these fellows buried out in the woods at Yorktown in their military cemetery.  These were the French king’s soldiers and their units passed into history at their own revolution.  Among the men were people from all over France, Rhinelanders from Zweibrucken (Deux Ponts), Irish of course, Poles and a scattering of European professionals of one kind or another.  Are their graves decorated on the 4th of July?  I hope so.  Here is a list of their dead buried in Virginia’s soil.  They are listed by regiment.  pl



Jean Aimont Andre Allard
Nicolas Angevaise Jan Baggage
Benoist Bouillot Nicolas Bourdin
Jacques Chatillon Antoine Cocq
Yves David Noel Fugenot
Francois Guiboiseau Joseph Hautville
Francois Marival Louis Martin
Louis Menager Nicolas Maret
Francois Hursin Pierre Lignot
Laurent Nolly Jacques Papelard
Louis Thevenin Oger Verdavoir


Jacques Tournis  


Vincent Bellanger Louis Carbonel
Jacques Christol Claude Ferrey
Nicolas Fole Pierre Gorrelier
Francois Gerthier Antoine Grossetete
Jean Joulin Francois Jund
Pierre de La Loge Jacques Le Riche
Vincent Martin Claude Paris
Jacques Pelitier Philibert Salmon


Pierre Beher Jean Gloaret
Jean Godard Jerome Hagueneau
Jean Jaubert Joseph Jaubert
Andoche Mercier Jean Molin
Jacques Peyllard Mathieu Soulignac
Jacques Tissier Jean Varrennes


Pierre Canys Francois Cavalier
Bernard Gaguebey Joseph Genies
Benoist Gubiaud Jean Lyonnois
Jean Maison Alexis Martin
Liberal Moutel Domininique Savequet


Jacques Berger Jacques de Paris


Gaspard Everlet  


Joseph Barbaton Etienne Bedel
Jean Besard Antoine Canton
Fleury Chabrier Etienne Courtois
Antoine Desmont Gabriel Devilliers
Jean Galotet Joseph Guillaume
Jean Honore Louis Huguet
Jean Jerifafin Francois Jolivet
Michel Kell Antoine La Fosse
Bernard Manadet Antoine Mery
Jean Noel Jean Paniolet
Joseph Perrier Joseph Prou
Pierre Proux Francois Rossignol
Jean Roussel Jean Saffroy
Jean Selignet Jean Seliquet
Andre Terville Louis Testelin
Nicolas Tumelin Joseph Verrier
Joseph Villaret  


Pierre Belledent Nicolas Blondelle
Michel Boissard Jean Brunet
Jean Caillet Jean Coleran
Pierre Conde Jacques Dauvergne
Francois Dique-Dounier Nicolas Dubourg
Jean Galtier Philippe Gausse
Michel Gavaudant Jean Geoffroy
Claude Granbon Francois Guillon
Jean Hennone Nicolas Jacoby
Jean Jossard Jean La Croix
Etienne La Roche Gilbert La Taupe
Jacques Langlois Pierre Le Comte
Pierre Le Hup Pierre Lyonnais
Jean de Marin Jean Michelet
Jean Monet Louis Perche
Nicolas Pernot Jean Pigibet
Jean Plagnolet Charles Poulain
Charles Provol Etienne Puissant
Jean Roche Pierre de Roche
Pierre Roitoux Antoine Sepedre
Jean Sourson Nicolas Tilquaz
Pierre Vial  


Henri Audiger Etienne Auger
Jean Bardou Jacques Bedel
Nicolas Bega Augustin de Berthelot
Antoine Beze Louis Brian
Jean Brostman Jean Bulle
Jean Catel Claude Chamois
Gilbert Charet Thomas Chavaillard
Joseph Chevalier Paul Chevalier
Andre Colue Francois Curdinet
Louis Curdon Bertrand Daray
Pierre Daussent Louis Decoune
Nicolas Demaret Joseph Deschamps
Francois Deshayes Andre Deze
Jean Domino Charles Dufour
Michel Dufut Denis Dumont
Dominique Feret Antoine Fissy
Jean Gaudard Pierre Gilles
Joseph Giraud Antoine Gouya
Nicolas Guelin Pierre Guenard
Antoine Guillamebourg Joseph Guilleraux
Michel Herve Remy Houba
Pierre Jean Claude Julien
Jean La Coste Gillaume La Croix
Philippe Laine Jean de Lannoy
Jean Laurenceau Jacques Laurent
Jacques Livernois Pierre Le Ferme
Jacques Le May Pierre Le Page
Jean Lejore Philibert Mauchalin
Francois Meinier Gaspard Milliot
Jean Nicole Mathieu Ospell
Claude Oudot Pierre Ozanne
Paul Palis B. Paly
Jean Paulard Charles Pierson
Jean Pilau Francois Poupon
Pierre Quenard Charles Remont
Pierre Riotte Charles Rouay
Jean Salles Antoine Sallemon
Antoine Serve Jean de Sireuil
Andre Solne Barthelemy Sorbetz
Claude Stoudert Jean Tincelin
Joseph Tinier Jean Tousset
Andre Vachere Emmanuel Vextain
Francois Vigoureux Jean Vitre
Andre Vitrier Armand Wendreweck

Royal Deux Ponts

Andre Cheret Jean Diltzer
Paul Egre —- Hielden
Francois Hiltzenberger Andre Hoffman
Georges Merkot Nicolas Muller
Georges Neble Pierre New
Erasmus Orkensude Christian Pabst
Ferdinand Robichon Gottfried Rouffe
Francois Scholder Sebastian Scholt
Jacob Stautzer Jean Stein
Balthazar Stoher Adam Stubert
Geroges Vbel

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110 Responses to Redoubts 9 and 10 – Where the US was born.

  1. mike says:

    Most of those French regiments marched to Yorktown on foot from Newport Rhode Island. An American officer from Virginia is reported to have said the French were not the fops he had expected: “Finer troops I never saw.”
    General Rochambeau – George Washington’s alter ego in the campaign – had been a field soldier for 40 years and had participated in 14 sieges.
    In addition to those dead you listed, Admiral de Grasse lost 209 French sailors and marines off the coast of Cape Henry when he defeated the British fleet that had been sent to rescue Cornwallis.

  2. Eric says:

    Thanks for that.
    You’ve had a number of interesting posts up, past several days.
    1 July 2006, was the 90th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. Brit Op. entirely, commencing 7/1/1916.
    Lost 2/3 as many killed in one day, as we lost in VietNam.
    You have much more knowledge of the history of the French Army than I.
    Seem to remember that the Armee de Afrique got more or less wiped out, in the Battle of the Frontiers, 9/1914, in about 5 days.
    Dragging over from your Maudlin post:
    “Know any good Moslem prayers? I wouldn’t want to miss any bets.”
    Wouldn’t want to know what happened to the poor bastards in WWII.
    Yes. Prayers and Rememberance All Around.

  3. W. Patrick Lang says:

    It sounds like you know more than you admit.
    Yes. The French used their regular forces from the North African Colonies heavily in WW1. They used these alongside the mass army of the “Armee Metropolitaine.” They lost a lot of men then, at the beginning, when the French doctrine was to attack ferociously everywhere. There were both European and Muslim units among those brought over the Mediterranean. Goums from Morocco, Tirailleurs Algeriens,the Legion, Spahis, Zouaves (European). They kept enlisting men for these units throughout the war.
    In WW2 the North Africans were not involved until the US/British capture of French North Africa and the creation of an anti-Vichy government that brought its forces into the war on the
    Allied side. There was at least one Armee d’Afrique mountain infantry division in Italy under Alphonse Juin that fought well in the central mountain spine of Italy, at Cassino, for example. These were Muslims under French officers, mostly Goums (qawmi in Arabic) but some Algerians, among them Sgt. Ahmed Benbella.
    In VN in ’68 I was visiting the Headquarters of the US 1st Division at Chou Lai(?)and wandering across the central square of the old French post that we had taken over. There in the middle was an obelisk monument with the inscription “A la memoire des officiers et cavaliers de la -ieme Regiment des Spahis Marocaines. 1948-1954.” It bummed me out. pl

  4. taters says:

    Thank you for posting this Col., excellent, as usual. I am appalled and saddened at the ignorance of many of us who are not aware or even mildly interested in France’s very real contribution in blood to our independence. And please pardon me for being off topic here – I recall hearing the reading of the names of the WWI German war dead from Alsace Lorraine. Many of those names were French and conversely I heard many German names that were fighting for the French.
    Again, thank you.

  5. William Gordon says:

    Thanks for this reminder of what we owe the French! Do you have a count on how many troops and sailors they lost in the entire American Revolution?
    Bill Gordon

  6. W. Patrick Lang says:

    No, but I would like to hear about it from someone. Incidentally, I have a beautiful set of seven lead soldiers with flags each of which is in the correct uniform and with the correct “color” (drappeau d’ordnance)of each of the “Yorktown” regiments.
    A retired French Army friend made them for me as a gift all through one long winter at his retirement home on the Lot. pl

  7. William E. Pollett says:

    I am trying to find out information on my ansestor named Pollett who was a soldier in the French army that came to America to fight the British in our revolution. Do you know where I can find an english list of French soldiers who fought here.

  8. Charles I says:

    Happy July 4th, America, Pat & guests.
    Even on a holiday, there’s a history lesson. Merci beaucoup.
    Sir(s), would most/all of these French soldiers been volunteers, conscripts, professional soldiers? Were these men representative of the French Army of the day in general or in some nature particular to service in America?.
    I think I shall spend a bit of staring down the river time imagining the French Secret Service at work in Canada, an idea that never would have crossed my mind until today. . .

  9. Wonderful post! So PL in your opinion is our (US) debt to France repaid by WWI and WWII?
    Can debts of soldiers and sailors lives ever be repaid in full?

  10. Patrick Lang says:

    WRC It is sad that you see this as a transaction between France and the US.
    As for the french troops, they were regular army soldiers, not conscripts. Their units were ordered to America under Rochambeau and so they came and fought for our independence. They were down around Williamsburg for about a year after Cornwallis surrendered. I understand that they cut a wide swath through the local ladies including the Black women against whom they were not prejudiced. pl

  11. Basilisk says:

    Appropos of nothing, Dominique Strauss-Kahn may not be a very nice man, and he may, in fact, not be innocent, but this post makes one feel a little creepy about the “perp walk,” the headlines like, “Frog Legs It” and the apparent glee with which New Yorkers (and probably all of us) insulted the whole nation of France by proxy.
    We owe them a debt, and as our host points out, these are not transactions that are simply wiped out by the actions of other brave men.
    My dealings with the French Air Force did not leave me with these feelings of derision for all things French.
    Thanks for the reminder.

  12. Thanks PL for the reminder. Lives are not LIVRES!

  13. patrick lang says:

    A renewal of anti-French drivel caused me to re-post this. pl

  14. The Twisted Genius says:

    I’ve worked with the 2e REP. Anyone who spews anti-French drivel, especially concerning their military bravery and skills, doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground.

  15. The various factors that played into the French Revolution
    and some context for understanding that later revolution are nicely captured by historian Simon Schama [sic] and the involvement of the Marquis de Lafayette in both.

  16. Dr. K says:

    I remember the anti-French attitude during the run-up to the Iraq mistake. I said to myself don’t people know that without the French the American revolution would have been lost or know the WW1 quote from I think, Gen. Pershing, “Lafayette. We have returned.”

  17. Pat Lang,
    Thanks for this post. I spent a couple of days in Agen in October, as I have family there. The Regiment Agenais spent considerable time in North America during the 1700s since I’m pretty sure they were also here during the French and Indian War.

  18. nick b says:

    An interesting post. The makeup of the Regiment Saintonge sounds similar to the Pulaski Legion. I know they were a mix of Irish, French and Poles, (all Catholics, interesting).
    Major Julius Count Mont-Ford, later a Major in Pulaski’s Legion, was a French nobleman who previously served under General Wayne, and was wounded in the ‘Paoli Massacre’. I only know this because I live so close to the site. Curious if the two regiments fought together?

  19. In general, anti-Americanism is not one of my vices. But when in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq I read the drivel about ‘cheese eating surrender monkeys’ and ‘freedom fries’, I did have a bad fit of it.
    I found myself thinking that perhaps Americans might be somewhat more understanding, if they had had to cope with having German armies – rather than Mexican or Canadian – on their borders. Of course, there are a rather small number of Americans – mostly Southern – who have some sense of the trauma which Verdun no doubt still means for many French families, as, in a lesser, but still terrible way, the Somme still means for many in Britain.
    The devastation wrought the Civil War in the American South was, I have no doubt, much worse than that caused to France by the First World War. On the other hand, I do not think Americans have ever had to cope with the dilemmas caused by the possibility that a defeated adversary might – or might not – be capable of doing the same thing again.

  20. Medicine Man says:

    I still savor the brief conversation we had about a year ago regarding an acquaintance of mine who was prone to bashing on the French. “I’d respect them if they’d won a war since WWII”, he’d say. Your response was piquant.
    I second TTG’s observation, not that he needs my backing; most of the people I hear bashing the French are armchair warriors of some type, coasting on unearned machismo. Strangely most of actual military men I’ve spoken to have a nuanced view of the French, whatever their feelings about them are.

  21. Pat Lang,
    This is particularly interesting to me, since my late uncle was a platoon leader and company commander in the 755th Tank Battalion in Italy. During the Cassino campaign the battalion was often parceled out and attached to various divisions,including units of the French Army. He wound up with a couple of purple hearts, bronze star, Croix de guerre argent (for five awards) , and was made honorary corporal of the 3d Algerian Rifle Regiment. The French soldiers,particularly officers, used noms de guerre, Col. Bonjour for instance on operations orders and in communications as many had families in France. I’m pretty sure that there was a corps of, at least, two divisions, i.e. 3d Algerian and 2nd Morrocan.

  22. oofda says:

    That sounds like a project, ensuring that the French infantry who fell at Yorktown are suitably honored.
    Remember the Washington-Rochambeau National Trail, the route that the French troops took marching fron Newport, RI to Willaimsburg. Also there is a prominent statue of General Comte de Rochambeau in Lafayette Park, just across from the White House.

  23. confusedponderer says:

    “The devastation wrought the Civil War in the American South was, I have no doubt, much worse than that caused to France by the First World War.”
    Not so sure. There wasn’t much left in eastern France. The ground in places like Versailles is still literally littered with explosives and can still not be cultivated in complete safety.
    Wiki on unexploded ordnance in France and Belgium:
    “In the Ardennes region of France, large-scale citizen evacuations were necessary during MEC removal operations in 2001. In the forests of Verdun French government “démineurs” working for the Département du Déminage still hunt for poisonous, volatile, and/or explosive munitions and recover about 900 tons every year. The most feared are corroded artillery shells containing chemical warfare agents such as mustard gas. French and Flemish farmers still find many UXOs when ploughing their fields, the so-called “iron harvest”.”
    “The Zone rouge (French for “Red Zone”) is the name given to about 1,200 square kilometres (460 sq mi) of land in northeastern France that was physically and environmentally destroyed during the First World War. Because of hundreds of thousands of human and animal corpses and millions of unexploded ordnance that contaminated the land, some activities in the area such as housing, farming or forestry, were temporarily or permanently forbidden after the war by French law. Some towns were never permitted to be rebuilt.
    Restrictions in the zone rouge still exist today although the controlled areas have been greatly reduced.”
    Whatever Sherman did on his march to the sea, I doubt it came close in the degree of devastation.

  24. turcopolier says:

    The American South was wrecked as a society and an economy and the demographic losses were very high but outside a few cities like Richmond, Atlanta, and Charleston the cities were largely habitable after the war. pl

  25. nick b says:

    Please let me begin by saying how much I enjoy reading your thoughtful comments here.
    As I read your post I was struck by the two examples you used: “freedom fries” and “cheese eating surrender monkeys”. They’re both very different, and also very similar, in a ‘life imitates art’ kind of way.
    From my recollection, the “l’affaire freedom fries” was the doing of Congressman Bob Ney. As chairman of the House Administration committee, he oversaw the various capitol complex cafeterias and their menus. He changed the ‘french fries’ to ‘freedom fries’ in a jingoistic frenzy over France’s refusal to support the invasion of Iraq. It got a lot of press, but frankly it was buffoonish, and appealed to a similar crowd.
    “Cheese eating surrender monkeys” on the other hand finds, its origins in a 1995 episode of the fictional cartoon comedy: ‘The Simpsons’. In the episode, budget cuts at Springfield elementary school have forced Willie, the unhinged Scottish groundskeeper, into teaching french class. Willie addresses his students in his overwrought Scottish accent: ‘Bon-Jooouuurrr, you cheese eating surrender monkeys’.
    The irony here, is that the whole bit is parody, not of the French, but of America. The joke was, that cheese eating and surrender are about as deep as it gets, in relation to knowledge of France, for some (most?) in this country. And the concept of groundskeepers being impressed into service teaching french classes seems less and less bizarre in an era of cash starved school systems. It’s the sort of subversive comedy that made ‘The Simpsons’ so hugely entertaining in it’s first decade.
    My point is that the people who then used the CESM phrase to criticize the French in the run-up to the Iraq invasion never understood the irony of what they were saying. Essentially becoming real life cartoon characters themselves to those in on the joke. Later, life imitated art even further when Congressman Ney, demonstrated the depth of his knowledge of the relations between the US and France with his own cartoonish ‘freedom fries’ protest. (A quick aside, after Cong. Ney resigned from congress for being caught up in the Abramoff scandal and pleading guilty to something, the menu was changed back.)
    I hope you don’t mind this rambling discourse on what was most likely a passing reference on your part. I was just struck by the examples and the different things that they said to me.

  26. turcopolier says:

    When USMA was so unlucky as to have me as a professor, I had a colleague named Claude Violet who was the civilian professor of French. WP wanted civilian instructors to wear uniform and Claude wore his with several rows of French ribbons. He was an officer of the 2nd Moroccan Division from the Italian Campaign and had been severely wounded while leading his goumiers at places like Monte Cassino. His manner with cadets was drole. he would have them stand on their desks while he inspected their shoeshine. When there were senior visitors to his class he required the cadets to submit whatever questions or statement they might make to him in writing in advance. i asked him why he did that and he said that they were at WP to learn not to ask embarrassing questions. He was a bachelor and there was all the usual speculation until he went on leave to France and returned with a beautiful blond wife 20 years his junior. She was an international lawyer. I remember having lunch with him in the officer’s mess one day when two female nurses walked by our table. after they were out of earshot Claude laughed. “Mais, mon vieux lapin,” he said. “They are my neighbors in the old BOQ and it is splendid to hear the cries of joy from their apartment as they make each other happy.” Americans will never understand the french. Vive la France! pl

  27. Mark Logan says:

    That is interesting. So little is mentioned about that.
    Another commonly held misconception is that the French just gave up when Germany invaded them in WW2. Finding out the German and Italians suffered 160,000 casualties during that invasion surprises a lot more folks than it should.

  28. Andre says:

    My grandmere was a young girl living in Meaux outside of Paris during the First Battle of the Marne. She and the other townfolk were astounded by the first contingent of Moraccan troops who, upon disembarking from their train cars heard a report that the Germans were just across the Marne. Some wasted no time in swimming to the opposite bank with knives in teeth to meet the enemy and remove the ‘cabbages’ resting on German shoulders. Must have been some lousey train ride to the front.

  29. fasteddiez says:

    WWII…Bir Hakeim..The perfect riposte to the freedom hating French Surrender Monkey Legend. Look Here. At the end of the article, it seems the Führer was impressed also.

  30. Chris Browning says:

    My grandfather served in the 102nd Field Artillery (Mass Nat’l Guard) with Pershing, in France and Mexico. He was a crusty old New Englander with all of the normal prejudices of his generation and milieu. There were any number of nations and ethnicities he held in low regard.
    But he always spoke of France, and the French, with great affection. I never heard anything but respect for their soldiers, from Marshal Foch down to the lowest poilu. He hated the war but he was glad he’d seen France.

  31. Pat,
    I’m glad you posted this. As you say, I hope on the 4th of July their graves are decorated too–they definitely more than earned our gratitude. I’ve only made it out to Yorktown once so far in my life (after a visit to some friends at nearby NASA Langley Research Center), but next time I’m in town I’ll try to make sure I have more time scheduled for the visit.

  32. C’est vrai. On the other hand, the French are perpetually puzzled by the Americans. I imagine that the mutual lack of comprehension existed as far back as when Rochambeau and his boys marched down to Yorktown. Mitterand’s funeral and the Monica Lewinsky frenzy would be a recent example.

  33. turcopolier says:

    Well, I agree with the French. Americans are nuts about sex. pl

  34. fasteddiez says:

    Sorry, I tried posting a “Bir Hakeim link and it did not fire. This is the old fashioned way

  35. The beaver says:

    I believe it was Colonel Stanton in the presence of Maréchal Joffre.
    If you happen to visit Paris, the Picpus cemetery in the 12th is where Lafayette is buried

  36. turcopolier says:

    I think what Stanton said was “Lafayette, nous voici.” (Lafayette, we are here.) pl

  37. Alba Etie says:

    Col Lang
    There were many Europeans that fought and died founding These United States . Tasdsuec Kosciuzko from Poland /Luithiana was promoted to General , & Chief Engineer in the Continental Army . He designed Battlements at West Point & Saratoga . Additionally Kosciuzko also bought with him volunteers from Poland to fight for the Continental Army that were both Moslem & Christian .We were not alone in our fight for Independence – its good to be reminded of this history .

  38. Alba Etie says:

    Mitterand ‘s mistress was holding hands with Madame Mitterand ‘s at his funeral , yes ?

  39. Alba Etie says:

    Col Lang,
    I may have not expressed well in my comment how much I felt what a waste of time and treasure it was to have Kenneth Starr & Tom DeLay try to remove President Clinton from office for essentially having a girlfriend . I remember well at the time of President Mitterand ‘s funeral the openess and love both the Mistress & the Madame exhibited there.

  40. Mark Logan says:

    I would attribute that to a sense of entitlement to power that some seem to have acquired during the Reagan years. The attacks on Obama are sometimes just as ruthless. Not that Clinton’s public approval ratings remained high through the entire debacle.
    I know very little about the French, but I was fortunate to have spent a fair bit of my youth in a very small western community. There were many things that everybody knew and accepted, perhaps tolerated might be a better word, but never talked about in a public setting. IMO, the Puritans left a mark, but they did not prevail.

  41. turcopolier says:

    mark logan
    In the NE and much of the midwest the puritan mindset prevails. pl

  42. Alba Etie says:

    Yes we all have had our encounters with the Scarlet Letter Crowd . At sixty years young I am really trying to live and let live these days. And I would agree that the Puritans did not prevail – but the contest it appears unfortunately is ongoing .

  43. Alba Etie says:

    Col Lang
    Slightly off topic – being not Catholic , but semi adherent Methodist I found the Pope ‘s assertion about trickle down economics not working to be intriguing-and that I agreed with the premise . I do believe a case can be made that we have real and historic income disparities that are causing much grief in our society and comity. I seem to recall you once opined here that we need to return to the business ethics that tried for win win solutions . I found it further interesting that President Obama cited the new Pope’s observation about trickle down economics in his speech today .

  44. turcopolier says:

    Francis has said nothing that is not standard Catholic doctrine. You Prods and others just do not understand the Church and its past history of not living up to its own doctrine. pl

  45. turcopolier says:

    AE et al
    No. No. This country is so imbued with Calvinism as a basis for everything that you can’t recognize that because you are so embedded in the system. AE! You live in Texas. what place could be more Calvinist than that? Don’t be deceived by Texian nastiness. It has its origins in the Scotch-Irish freebooters who took the place from Mexico. If you want to see a Christianity based society that has nothing of Calvinism about it. visit Brazil. you probably would not like the place because it would offend your Calvinist soul. pl

  46. Alba Etie says:

    Col Lang
    Yes sir – I do resemble that remark .

  47. Alba Etie says:

    Col Lang
    I am more secular then secreterian (I hope & pray.) And being a once or twice a year Methodist church goer – I personally have ‘no dog in this fight ” betwixt the various Christians .
    I again would wish to live and let live . Finally at the risk of offending others here at SST – I can honestly say I am convinced that my dear departed childhood friend Jim – who was a professed Bhuddist , but really helped many many people , is in Heaven . Anyone who helped that many people & had that much compassion surely would not be in Hell .
    I would love to go to Brazil – perhaps my undetected Calvinist Soul needs to be offended . Furthermore once there I could go fishing in the Amazon – by all reports there are catfish bigs as tree there. Its on my bucket list .

  48. Alba Etie says:

    Although -these days I only drink soda pops – perhaps while in Brazil ., I might visit the bar where Pope Francis used to be a bouncer – that might be good for my Calvinist souls as well .

  49. turcopolier says:

    Francis is from Argentina. I presume that the bar he worked in is there. Your reaction to the idea that he worked in a bar is symptomatic. This was before he went to the seminary and it was not a sin. What is the problem? Ignatius Loyola was the founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) He was a Spanish professional soldier who had a massive come to Jesus moment. Calvinists believe in predestination and the immutability of character. Catholics are not allowed to believe that. pl

  50. Ulenspiegel says:

    Paulus has authority because there was a Saulus before. 🙂
    The teacher who gave me most to think about was a pastor who taught religious education in my highschool. He joint the German Wehrmacht as 17 years old teenager and convinced Nazi. Then he survived four years Ostfront as enlisted man in a combat engineer company, outfits with a horribly high loss rate. In 1945 he was completely cured.
    With his RL background he had authority and was usually able to challenge us students with morale dilemmas and with his deep historic knowledge he was able to fill some of the boring bible stuff with life.

  51. Ryan says:

    Yes, their graves should be decorated, but with which flag? The Fleur de lis of the French monarchy or the Tricolor?
    I would hope that Napoleon might have combine the lineage of these fine old regiments with the ones that he lead. The US Army has done this in the past with former regiments of the Confederate Army. An example would be the 121st Infantry of the 8th Infantry Division. On the colors are a number of battle streamers with names like Chancellorville, Frederickburg, etc. These streamers were won by the original unit, The Macon Volunteers of Georgia. At some point someone came up with this bright idea. I’m glad they did, being from Georgia and having served in one of the battalions back during the first Gulf War. Whether this practice is still done today I don’t know, political correctness being what it is. It probably still is as most people (including the US Army) don’t know squat about American History, particulalry Military history.

  52. turcopolier says:

    Regular Army units of the US Army do not descend from former Confederate units but there are many units of the Army National Guard that were Confederate. Some of them existed long before the WBS as militia units of the states. Some were colonial. This is true of the 116th Infantry of the Virginia National Guard. This is an 18th Century militia unit that became the Stonewall Brigade in the WBS. In WW2 the 116th was part of the assault force on Omaha Beach. There are similar units in the New England National Guard, for example, the 182nd Infantry of the Mass Guard, founded around 1630 as the West Regiment of militia. This is the oldest unit of the US Army. Today National Guard units are called to active duty to serve for a while with regular units like the 8th Division. pl

  53. Ryan Murphy says:

    I understand, colonel. What I meant was that after being federalized for WWII as in the case of the 8th ID some of these units weren’t stood down at the end of the war and went on to remain active duty units for a number of years.
    In any case my main point was this is the practice was done with the US Army. In too many cases following a revolution or some other event the good gets thrown away with the bad. The Preobrazhensky Regiment is an example of this following the Bolshevik Revolution.
    Regarding the rest of your reply I wasn’t aware that the 116th Inf descended from the Stonewall Bde nor was I aware of the history of the 182nd Inf being the oldest unit of the US Army. Thanks for adding to my knowledge.
    By the way, do you have an opinion on which flag should be flown over those brave men at Yorktown?

  54. turcopolier says:

    Ryan Murphy
    The flag of the Kingdom of France seems appropriate. pl

  55. Ryan Murphy says:

    I concur, sir.
    Troops should be buried under the colors they fought for.
    The only people who would object to this in France are the same sort of nuts we have here who get upset when the UDC and the SCV place battle flags on the graves of Confederate dead. Unfortunately, this has become more common place as the nation further descends into cultural Marxism.
    It turns out I answered my own question above on whether the French carried on the lineage of these old units to today. They do according to this:
    There’s a slew of them, colonel, who we can remember as well who fought in other places to add to those of Yorktown.
    People who are curious to see what the uniforms looked like for these units can find them here:

  56. Ryan says:

    I consider myself lucky. My parents took me to Yorktown many years ago. Redoubts Nine and Ten were wonderfully preserved. All hail the Americans and French who took them.

  57. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    re “Can debts of soldiers and sailors lives ever be repaid in full?”
    The only meaningful way to try is to do what we can to pay it forward. When the final session of the Constitutional Convention adjourned in 1787, a Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia approached Benjamin Franklin and said, “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?” He replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” We are in the midst of one of those recurring periods during which it is not at all certain we are going to keep it, and the threat is all the more insidious because the threat today is not external but internal in the form of a wealth and power grab by the elites, led by those in control of the financial and energy industries. As John Michael Greer points out in a recent blog post that channels Arnold Toynbee:As long as the political class of a civilization can inspire admiration and affection from those below it, the civilization thrives, because the shared sense of values and purpose generated by mimesis keeps the pressures of competing class interests from tearing it apart. . . Civilizations fail, in turn, because their political classes lose the ability to inspire mimesis, and this happens in turn because members of the elite become so fixated on maintaining their own power and privilege that they stop doing an adequate job of addressing the problems facing their society. As those problems spin further and further out of control, the political class loses the ability to inspire and settles instead for the ability to dominate. Outside the political class and its hangers-on, in turn, more and more of the population becomes what Toynbee calls an internal proletariat, an increasingly sullen underclass that still provides the political class with its cannon fodder and labor force but no longer sees anything to admire or emulate in those who order it around.”

  58. steve says:

    Here’s a nice video of a reenactment of the Regiment Saintonge fife and drum corp doing Yankee Doodle, and other American tunes.

  59. alba etie says:

    Col Lang
    I am grateful to see this post from a year ago . I am pretty sure I was trying to make the point that I admired Pope Francis because he had experienced being a bouncer in a bar , I thought that might inform his Papacy to have that ‘street level view’ of the world. I do not believe in predestination . And still maintain that my good friend Jim – the professed Bhuddist is in Heaven even though he never came to Jesus .
    Though one of my favorite poets is still Carl Sandburg , and his best poem IMO is “To a Contemporary Bunkshooter “. But I probably should be careful about posting anymore theological musings here at SST , as its a very difficult subject for many of us .

  60. alba etie says:

    They also did a very spirited cover of ‘Oh Susanna !”

  61. oofda says:

    Thanks again Colonel for reminding us of the heavy losses the French regiments suffered at Yorktown. There a lot of names on that list, and we should remember them.
    Somewhat on topic, in central South Dakota, on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River outside Fort Pierre, there is a monument to the La Verendrye brothers of New France who claimed the land for Louis VX in 1741. They left an inscribed lead plate to record their claim, it was found in 1913. At the place where the lead plate was found, three flags now fly- the U.S. flag, the South Dakota state flag and the flag of France- not the Tricolor, but the Fleur-de-Lis flag of that time.

  62. Brad Ruble says:

    My father was in the 755th tank Battalion. We didn’t talk a lot about it, but from what I remember they trained with French/North African troops in North Africa. I think they went into Italy in October of 1943. He said they lost half their outfit the first month. I’m not sure that is accurate but he was there and I will take his word. They worked with the French. I remember him calling them Gomas. I asked him what kind of troops they were and he said ” Oh hell, they’re as good as anybody else. It all depends on their officers”. He liked Patton. He said Patton didn’t blame the troops.

  63. turcopolier says:

    Brad Ruble I had never heard of this outfit. Juin must have been short of armor and the 755th was attached to him for that reason. The term in the French Army for the Moroccan soldiers was “goumiers” this is a French version of the Arabic word “qawmi” meaning a tribal, ethnic fighter. I had a colleague in the faculty at West Point who had been an officer in Juin’s force in Italy and was badle wounded while a liaison with Truscott at Anzio. He taught French and was much feared by the cadets whom he treated as the children that they were. pl

  64. In addition to PL’s comment about Italy campaign, and questions asked about which troops were involved, there were moroccan “goumiers” regiments made up of Tabor mountain warriors from the atlas mountain range. They played a decisive role in the final assault that managed to get the Poles the break through.
    As for the Spahis, their legend lives on in the “1er regiment de spahis” which is an armoured cavalry regiment nowadays. Pretty decent outfit BTW.

  65. Well the french troops in booth the 7 year war and the American war of independence were much better professional soldiers than their British army counterparts. The fact France lost the war in 1763 had nothing to do with combat ability of these ground troops. I would have had any of those units mentioned above over any British or hessian regiment !

  66. Sure but nor Hakeim was a side show … Just something to boost the severely crumbling french morale after the defeat of 1940. As for that other legend, again I’d compare the french army’s track record over that of the Brits any day of the week !

  67. There was no conscription at the time in the French army. These were all enlisted or professional men. Conscription not came with the French revolution.

  68. True but the freedom fries story got more to,do with french experience in arab and Muslim countries and total US inexperience and deliberate blindness at the top !

  69. It’s mostly a British thing though because they used to get scared shitless when facing french army regiments .. And for anybody wanting to reply, remember, I said army, not navy !

  70. Civil war worse in south than WWI in eastern France ? No it wasn’t ! And judging by the body count on a national basis, WWI was worse as well

  71. But mark the French did give up just like that when the german invasion happened … Some troops fought bravely and France lost 100 000 men during those few months in 1940. But the fact is the country was internally divided and that was the biggest reason for the “surrender” … Fighting spirit would have needed a man of national stature to carry on the fight. De Gaulle at that point was a largely unknown quantity though. Shame …
    I seriously doubt your figures regarding german and Italian casualties though. The Germans lost 15 000 men no more.

  72. There may have been many Europeans but there was only one European country that fought at the side of the Soon to be US !

  73. Actually these two ladies hated each other and would have been at each other’s throat in other circumstances … I don’t remember them holding hands either but could be mistaken. I know both the official and unofficial family of the deceased were present though that is true.

  74. Ulenspiegel says:

    What was the problem with the French in 1756-63? How do you explain their performance at Minden?

  75. Mark Logan says:

    Patrick Bahzad,
    Somebody should straighten out Wiki on the casualty figures. They appear credible because they cited Frieser, who also appears credible because he has written several books on the topic.

  76. Wonderful comment and many thanks!

  77. Respectfully P.L. I never view battle deaths and injuries as transactions!

  78. alba etie says:

    Patrick Bahzad,
    Thank you for always furthering my understanding of current and past events, I always learn a great deal here at the SST autodiatic buffet. You could very well be rightin your belief Mrs Mitterand did not like the Mistress, but both the Mistress & the Mrs were there for the President Mitterand ‘s State funeral , which in my mind is still respectful , loving & supportive for the French Nation . And in a reply to your post 5 July 2015 @ 7;21 pm you might want to do the Google on Bernardo de Galvez ( as in Galveston Texas ) . Spain did actively provide regular Spanish troops down South particularly at the Siege of Pensacola & the Battle of Baton Rouge. Spain did recapture Florida from the British Empire.

  79. True indeed ! I stand corrected … Two European countries did help out, although one (Spain, as you said), just wanted to take back some lost provinces.

  80. There is no official count as some of the registers have been lost. However, historians who worked on the subject came up with the credible figure of 2 000 to 2 500 French KIA, which is about 10 % of total KIA on US side.

  81. John+Merryman says:

    I don’t know that they were fighting for us, so much as fighting against the British.
    The only difference for the Europeans between Africa, America and Asia, was the Native Americans had no immunity to Old World plagues. Otherwise The US would be another South Africa, or Rhodesia.

    • Pat Lang says:


      Very small minded and displaying a paucity of human feeling.

      • John+Merryman says:

        Probably true, but is it wrong?
        If massive numbers of the indigenous Americans not have died off, from what was it, Yellow Fever?, would European colonists have taken over as completely as they did?
        My experience is that when emotion clouds our perspective, we do lose sight of the bigger picture, even if it’s not the narrative we’ve taken to heart. Then the debates devolve into who has the bigger stick.

        • Pat Lang says:


          That kind of hard heartedness leads to an inability to form functioning relationships with foreigners or indeed Americans needed as friends. The Indians of the East coastal region probably caught some ailment like smallpox from European fishermen who were already present before the creation of the Plymouth Colony. A few miles inland there were plenty of Indians. They fought on both sides in the Pequot War in the 1630s.

          • John+Merryman says:

            I grew up around more horses than people, so my people skills are limited. Animals tend to be more honest and less entitled, so my cultural affinities tended more toward observation, than participation.
            As I see it, good and bad are not some cosmic conflict between righteousness and evil, but the basic biological binary of beneficial and detrimental. What’s good for the fox, is bad for the chicken.
            So when good is treated as aspirational, rather than elemental, conflicts naturally become a race to the bottom, of us versus them, good versus bad. As all the higher order complexities, nuance and subjectivity are suspect.
            Life is emergent, rather than ordained.

          • John+Merryman says:

            I’m not really arguing the point, because I do’t know, but this was some of the more recent evidence the idea had incorporated;

          • Pat Lang says:


            None of that had anything to do with the English settlement of North America.

  82. Clorinne says:

    “Very small minded and displaying a paucity of human feeling.”

    And totally unlike Renaissance man and lover of all humanity – even those he had to kill and maim – Colonel Pat Lang.

    • Pat Lang says:


      Thank you. That is what soldiers do.

    • Barbara Ann says:


      Very nice to see our host’s qualities recognized and so so eloquently described.

      • Pat Lang says:

        Barbara Ann

        Another commenter wrote to say that my ass-kissing in this thread was disgusting. My question would be – which butts was I kissing? The 18th Century French allies or the the whole concept of celebrating our struggle for independence? I had many ancestors in that fight including at least one present at Cornwallis’ surrender. I wish to enthusiastically re-state my support for both things.

        • Bill Roche says:

          Sometimes I fall in with the crowd who condemn the French military to “brie, wine, and surrender”. Then I remember reading this piece about Yorktown which you posted years ago. I was startled to find three soldiers named Roche from the Soissonnais Regiment who stormed the redoubts. Their presence always makes me think twice about French bravery. Many would wonder, could I have done what they did? The Dutch gave us trade, the Spanish money but only the French gave us blood. After 240 years it still bears remembrance.

          • Pat Lang says:

            Bill Roche

            If you think the French Army is not brave you are an ignoramus.

          • Bill Roche says:

            Every thing I’ve read about Cornwallis makes me believe he was a professional soldier, smart, brave, and true to his King. I doubt he ever thought something was unwinnable if he had a chance. But he knew the odds, knew he couldn’t wait for relief from NYC and that he was a goner. I always wondered, did the British band really play “And the world turned Upside Down”.

          • Bill Roche says:

            Pat last year ago you suggested I might, could be, may be, an ignoramus. I’ll ask my wife. My reply, a year later, is that those who face the fear of death but remain to fight must be very brave. America owes much to the French soldier and we should not forget it. Bye the bye, I look forward every 4th to your posting this about Yorktown. Happy Independence Day to all correspondents!!

        • John+Merryman says:

          If the French royalty had a bit of foresight, as to the next couple of decades, would they have supported us, or the British crown?

          • d74 says:

            A french view.

            1-The Britt’s are (were) total enemies. Unthinkable at that time (~1780) to support them. The country would not have admitted it and would have called those who defended this policy traitors. We had a pro-English half-traitor as prime minister 20-30 years before. He did a lot of damage to our Navy. Never again this horror. (Half a traitor because he was too stupid to make a good one. In fact, he was only interested in himself. His only ambition was to be made a cardinal. Britt couldn’t do it…). Supporting the insurgents was the obvious anti-Britt solution whatever the cost…

            2- Versailles (the seat of royal power) was very well informed about public opinion in the future USA. The revolution was hoped for for a long time. We had well trained, well chosen and well paid (rewarded) political officials. They stayed in office for a very long time. (20-30 years).
            We easily gave up Louisiana (26 states today) in the hope that independence would be at hand. Always anti-Britt on the long haul.
            On the other hand, we clung to Quebec as long as possible. We could have won. Alas, Montcalm did not understand the fighting methods of our Indian auxiliaries. He therefore imposed a European fight that the Indians did not understand nor support. Montcalm did not understand either that this fight was the main one not to be lost. 10,000 men (Indians and French) did not participate in the fight against Wolfe. In total, the numbers involved on both sides were very small (approx. 3,000 French and 5,000 Britt) and the whole affair was played out in less than an hour.

            That’s ancient history, nowadays things are different. I hope.

          • Pat Lang says:


            It was Bonaparte who sold Louisiana to the US. The government of the king gave French North America to the UK in the negotiations among France, Britain and Spain that concluded the 7 Years War after Montcalm’s defeat. Louisiana was then a Spanish possession. Napoleon later recovered Louisiana and sold all of it to the US.

          • d74 says:

            You are right, of course.

            I have telescoped periods that span about 40 years. (1763-1803)
            However, the idea of gradually abandoning the territories of Louisiana (Nouvelle France: from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes and Canada, with the valleys of the Mississipi, Illinois and Ohio Rivers ) had been in the air for a long time. Versailles knew that 60,000 Frenchmen scattered over this immense territory were no match for the 600,000/800,000 inhabitants stuck in the 13 colonies. And Versailles knew that opening the West was the way to independence, even if it was far away. The inhabitants in the 13 colonies were known to be active and enterprising, and ruthless.

            In Louisiana, we confronted civilian militias.In Canada and Acadia, we faced mostly Britt-regulated troops. Including Acadia, the operations (mostly guerrilla warfare) lasted about 120 years. We could never have held out without the strength of the civilians and the help of many Indian tribes. I am pleased to say that the missionary fathers are the main cause of the esteem and interest of the tribes towards us. We loved them, they respected us and helped us.

          • Pat Lang says:

            The French Marines scattered as they were played a significant role. Fewer than 200 of them succeeded in bringing 800 Indians of various tribes to the Battle of the Monongahela and Edward Braddock’s defeat.

  83. English Outsider says:

    Colonel – fascinating article and comment section. I spent a while grubbing around on the background.

    Had the battle gone the other way the British forces would still have been faced with pacifying a by then thoroughly antagonistic section of the population, and those against British rule more determined than the Loyalists. A very messy guerrilla type war in the Appalachians for a start, against first class fighters Washington himself had to go to some trouble subduing later. Was this one of the conflicts in which the result was decided by the very fact the conflict had begun?

    And you’ll forgive an amateur’s question on the battle itself. Why hadn’t Cornwallis counter-attacked? Was that because to do so was impracticable, or did Cornwallis himself realise that he was fighting an unwinnable war?

  84. Mark Logan says:

    Just adding to the history of that battle, the French had pretty much their entire fleet nearby. 36 ships-of-the-line, packing about 70-80 large cannon apiece. There was nothing that prevented DeGrasse from getting several of them close enough to shell Cornwallis. Cornwallis’s position was utterly hopeless.

    The naval aspects of this battle are an interesting tale. Remarkable how many aspects all fell serendipitously into place for DeGrasse, and De Grasse’s decision to go to the Chesapeake instead of NY was key to the whole event.

  85. Leith says:

    The museum at Williamsburg has or used to have decades ago an engraving of General Rochambeau and his staff on horseback at Yorktown.

    Another I recall at Williamsburg was a painting of Washington, Rochambeau, Lafayette, and another French general standing together in a group. They are looking out over the Chesapeake at several French warships and the mast tops of several sunken British ships.

    Great place to visit.

  86. Laurent de Saint-Simon says:


    I cannot be entirely sure of the source’s reliability, but it looks like a reputable academic journal (Journal de la Société des Américanistes)

    The total number would be 2112.
    Les 2112 Français morts aux États-Unis de 1777 à 1783 en combattant pour l’indépendance américaine

    Best regards

  87. leith says:

    I had read somewhere that they were volunteers. One among them, Louis-Alexandre Berthier, later became a Marshal of France and Chief of Staff to Napoleon. He strongly advised Napoleon against trying to take Moscow, but his advice was ignored.

  88. wtofd says:

    I look forward to this posting (and the Christmas postings) every year. Thank you.

    • Bill Roche says:

      Me to. Makes you think doesn’t it. You might also look into Anthony Wayne’s assault on the British Stronghold at Stony Point on the Hudson. It was another suicide mission led by Wayne. Look death in the face, know you are probably about to die, and carry out your mission anyway. Such is courage. Who knows if you have it until “that” moment.

      • wtofd says:

        Thanks for the tip. I will investigate. Makes me wish for a Shelby Foote Civil War style narrative on the Revolutionary War. Perhaps somebody here could recommend one?

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