Commemoration of French Forces
at the
Yorktown Battlefield

Location of the principal French Memorial at Yorktown is at the position known as 'The French Trench', which was the extreme left flank of the French army during the 1781 siege. It is where the French Regiment Touraine had constructed a field fortification opposite the British Royal Welsh Fusiliers Redoubt. Both positions are indicated on most maps of the battlefield. These positions are along the edge of the York River and just north of, and across highway 238 from, the present-day Virginia State 'Yorktown Victory Center'.

South face of the Souvenir Français memorial. Covers the ground forces.

Inscription along top:
Ce monument est dédié aux soldats et marins du corps expéditionnaire français morts pour l'independance des Etats-Unis pendant la campagne de Yorktown.
This monument is dedicated to the soldiers and sailors of the French expeditionary corps who died for the independance of the United States during the Yorktown campaign.

North face [facing the York River] of the Souvenir Français memorial. Covers the naval forces.

Inscription along top:
Ce monument a été èrigé pour refleter l'ideal de justice et liberté qui unit la France et les Etats-Unis.
-- Amiral De Grasse.
This monument was erected to reflect the ideal of justice and liberty joining the United States and France.
-- Admiral De Grasse.

on the French Memorial
The Yorktown French Memorial was made possible by the Committee for the Yorktown French Memorial. The committee was appointed by the Ambassador of France to the United States, His Excellency, M. Emmanuel de Margerie. Professor André Maman of Princeton University served as the president of the committee, which included both French and American members. The committee's purpose was to create a memorial to honor all the French soldiers and sailors who gave their lives in the Yorktown campaign in 1781. The memorial includes the names of the some 600 Frenchmen who lost their lives in this campaign, including the Yorktown siege and the naval battle known as the Second Battle of the Virginia Capes. Research and local supervision for the design and placement of the memorial was undertaken by Madame Nicole Yancey, representative of the French Consulate at Norfolk, Virginia. The memorial was dedicated 14 October 1989.

Other Monuments to the French at the Yorktown Battlefield.

The above bronze tablet contains information from the Congressional Record, U.S. Senate Document No. 77, 2nd Session. It lists the prominent French military and naval officers, and French volunteers who fought in the American War for Independence from 1778 to 1783 . The tablet lies in a stone base, horizontal to the ground. Ships of the respective French naval squadrons are listed, as well as the French Army Regiments that served under Rochambeau and under D'Estaing. This monument was dedicated in October 1971.

Partial inscription:
A la mémoire des combattants français de la guerre de l'independance americaine 1778-1783.

See webpage that reviews data pertaining to this tablet.

In October 1971, a white Carrara marble cross was erected at the site known as the 'French Cemetary'. For many years prior to 1971, the site had been marked by a simple wooden cross. This site is located about a mile to the south of 'The French Trench', and was known to have contained the remains of at least fifty unknown French soldiers who were believed to have died during the 1781 siege.

On 19 October 1931, the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, placed at the base of the Yorktown Monument a bronze plaque that listed the names of the French soldiers who died during the Yorktown Campaign of 1781.

Return to Yorktown Campaign page.

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Expédition Particulière

This page was last revised 21 January 2005.