The Bronze tablet memorial emplace in 1971 at the 'French Trench' section of the Yorktown Battlefield contains data that is printed in the Congressional Record, US Senate Document No.77, 58th Congress, 2nd Session. Its purpose is to present the scope of French military and naval involvement in the campaigns of the American Revolution that took place in North America, and to mention particular units, fighting ships, and French leaders associated with these operations.
      The total forces on the original bronze plate reads "44,177," and the total 'deceased' [pertes] "5,040." These totals are intended to encompass the land and naval operations of the allied failed siege of Savannah (1778) as well as the successful siege of Yorktown (1781). In addition, it appears that the French naval operations off the coasts of New York and Rhode Island in 1777 and off the coast of Virginia in 1781 are included. It is not clear if data for the French land and naval participation in the Spanish and French 1781 successful siege of Pensacola were meant to be included. Certainly not included are data reflecting the broader world wide involvement of the French in the war. The memorial does not attempt to reflect data for French operations in European costal waters, Atlantic area, Africa, Mediterranean, India, or West Indies. Further, even allowing for the limited scope of geographical coverage, more recent research has uncovered some errors in the data inscribed on the original plate.
       For this reason, this page does not reflect the data on the original bronze plate, but rather a 'recasting' of the information. However, the limited geographical scope is retained. Notations at the end of this page attempt to explain the rational for changes to layout of the data as well as to some specific listings. Also at the end of this page will be links to webpages that describe the broader, world wide committment of the French military and naval forces in the War for American Independence.

       One major change to the layout on this page from that of the original plate is not to list prominent individual naval and army officers at the heading. The list on the original plate was incomplete and very selective. These names will be part of separate pages [not yet posted] that will describe more fully the officers commanding ships and regiments of the various expeditionary forces deployed to the United States.
1778 A LA MÉMOIRE 1783
DES COMBATTANTS FRANÇAIS DE LA GUERRE DE L'INDEPENDANCE AMÉRICAINE [1]
FORCES EXPÉDITIONAIRE FRANÇAIS A AMÉRIQUE DU NORD [2]
UNITÉS EQUIPAGES PERTES RÉGIMENTS EFFECTIFS PERTES
ESCADRE DU COMTE D'ESTAING ARMÉE DE ROCHAMBEAU
LANGUEDOC 875 80 BOURBONNAIS 1220 179
LE ZÉLÉ 514 27 SOISSONNAIS 1250 110
LE FANTASQUE 462 51 SAINTONGE 1322 129
LE MAGNIFIQUE 577 29 ROYAL DEUX PONTS 1163 49
LE TONNANT 662 29 AUXONNE 601 81
LE PROTECTEUR 410 15 LÉGION de LAUZUN 620 68
LE FIER 437 61 METZ [3] 351 ?
LA PROVENCE 429 55 GRENOBLE [3] 65 ?
L'ARTÉSIEN 642 107 ARMÉE DE SAINT SIMON
LE GUERRIER 346 13 AGÉNOIS 1166 7
L'AMPHION 454 24 GÂTINAS 1061 429
LE MARSEILLAIS 731 48 TOURAINE 1297 200
LE CÉSAR 555 45 ARMÉE TERRESTRE D'ESTAING
LE VENGEUR 690 124 DILLON 1164 ?
L'ANNIBAL 1381 98 WALSH 532 ?
LA PRUDENTE 522 21 HAINAUT 511 200
LE CONCORDE 299 38 FOIX 357 82
LA CHIMÈNE 507 21 MARTINIQUE ? ?
L'ALCMÈNE 205 8 LE CAP ? ?
L'ÉTOURDIE 171 11 GUADELOUPE ? ?
L'AIMABLE 141 0 SAINT DOMINGUE ? ?
L'ANDROMAQUE 554 0    [4]     
LA BLANCEH 294 16      
LE FENDANT 1331 293      
L'ALERTE 69 0      
ESCADRE DU COMTE DE GRASSE      
LA VILLE DE PARIS 1165 110      
L'ENGAGEANTE 217 2      
LA CONCORDE 227 7      
LE MAGNANIME 580 92      
L'AIGRETTE 75 15      
LE DIADÈME 1020 160      
L'IVELLY 248 33      
LE NORTHUMBERLANED 800 105      
LE SCIPION 596 85      
LE SCEPTRE 923 112      
LA COURONNE - LE PLUTON 906 76      
LE BOURGOGNE 439 59      
LE GLORIEUX 653 80      
LE CATON 654 70      
L'AUGUSTE 1026 74      
L'HECTOR 650 62      
LE SAGITTAIRE 589 25      
LE SERPENT 142 6      
LA DILIGENTE 179 17      
LE ST ESPRIT 760 95      
L'AMAZONE 516 25      
L'EXPÉRIMENT 457 51      
ESCADRE DES COMTES
DE GUICHEN ET DE GRASSE
     
L'INDIEN 768 69      
LE MARSEILLAIS 650 55      
LE CITOYEN 802 47      
L'ACTIONNAIRE 854 151      
LE SOUVERAIN 511 46      
L'HERULE 510 81      
ESCADRE DU COMTE DE TERNAY      
LE DUC DE BOURGOGNE 840 134      
LE JASON 556 65      
LE JASON 391 55      
LA PROVENCE 404 22      
L'ÉVEILÉ 484 65      
LE CONQUÉRANT 751 118      
L'ARDENT 404 87      
LE NEPTUNE 626 70      
           
Sub Totals 3,4631 3,654   25,360 3,068

TOTALS
FORCES PERTES
59,991 6,722

NOTES
1. The original plate lists "La Lafayette, Major-general de l'Armée Américaine". While it is understandable of the authors to want to commemorate his very unique contribution, he is did not participate in the American Revolution as a member of the French forces, but rather as a volunteer who served in and led units in the American Continental Army. As such he is most appropriately part of a separate series of pages that describe the many volunteers from France who served in the American forces.

2. The original plate has the entry "Corps Expéditionaire Français." The expression 'corps' is generally used for land forces deployed overseas. As this commemorative includes both naval and land army contingents, the expression has been changed to "Forces Expéditionaire Français."

3. Neither the Metz nor the Grenoble Artillery were with Rochambeau's expedition. The Metz Artillery was deployed in the West Indies, and some elements of this unit participated in d'Estaing's expedition at Savannah (1779). Possibly some individuals from the Metz Artillery accompany Saint Simon's force at Yorktown. There is no known participation of the the Grenoble Artillery in America. However, it is possible that some individuals of this unit served on naval vessels or in a St Domingue fort.

4. Keim's work (p.230) lists the land forces of D'Estaing as from regiments: Agénois, d'Hainault, Dillon, Foix (sharpshooters), Gatenais, and Walsh regiments, aggregating about 3,600 men."
       Further, Chartrand (p.3) has with D'Estaing at Savannah (1779) 2,800 French troops "detached from" regiments: Armagnac, Auxerrois, Agenois, Cambresis, Champagne, Dillon, Gatinois, Hainault, Foix, Walsh, Royal-Artillerie, Du Cap, Port-au-Prince, Guadeloupe & Martinique. He adds: 156 Grenadiers volontaires de Saint-Domingue, 545 Chasseurs volontaires de Saint-Domingue, detachments of Condé and Belsunce Dragoon Regiments, Canonniers-bombardiers de Saint-Domingue.
      See general note (c) below.

General Notes:
(a) The list of combat naval vessels is incomplete, and there is no attempt to include the many transports employed (47 ships carried Rochambeau's corps under Ternay). Various lists are still to be reconciled before this site can post the battle fleets of D'Estaing, de Grasse, Ternay, Destouches, and Barras.

(b) The figures marked with an asterisk reflect some adjustments from the original plate based upon recent research conducted by M. Jacques de Trentinian, Executive vice-president, French State Society, Sons of the American Revolution. The 'Hussards' listed under Rochambeau's forces on the original plate are joined in this page with Lauzun's Legion, of which they were a part. However, two companies of Hussards from the First Légion des Volontaires Etrangers de la Marine, stationed in the West Indies, landed with Saint-Simon's force at Yorktown (1781). Some of these remained with Rochambeau's expedition after Saint-Simon's force embarked following the siege.

(c) Not referenced in this tablet are French forces that participated in the Spanish-led capture of Pensacola, West Flordia in early 1781:

"There were 725 French soldiers in the [Bernardo de] Gálvez forces. Eight French ships entered Pensacola Bay. French regiments cited were: Agenois, Gatinois, Cambresis, Poitiou, Orléans, the Chasseur Company, the Royal Corps of Artillery, and the Regiment du Cap which was from the island of Hati. Most of the French soldiers had been stationed in Hati and Santo Domingo before embarking for Pensacola." [p.69, Siege! Spain and Britain: Battle of Pensacola March 9 - May 8, 1781, edited by Virginia Parks, Pensacola Historical Society, 1981)]

      It is obvious that the land army components of D'Estaing, St-Simon, and those at Pensacola with Gálvez were drawn from several regiments stationed in the West Indies. Is it likely that most all these regiments contributed 'detachments' or individuals for the various deployments to the American colonies.

Return to webpage on Commemoration of French Forces at Yorktown Battlefield.

See webpage on scope of the 'world conflict'.

Page created 15 April 2002; modified 2 May 2002.