Interpreted by
John Beresford Welsh, Esq.
When Lieutenant-general Rochambeau first presented himself to America in 1780 as the commander of the French expeditionary corps, he was 55 years old, 5 foot 6 inches tall, and a veteran of 39 years of battle-hardened military experience. Yorktown was to be his 15th siege. He was exceptionally tactful and courteous, and treated general Washington with the honors accorded a marshal of France. The Minister of War, comte de Segur, wrote: "Rochambeau seemed to have been purposefully created to understand Washington, and to understand him, and to serve with republicans. A friend of order, of law and of liberty, his example, more than his authority, obliged us scrupulously to respect the rights, properties and customs of the country." He was popular with his officers and troops, exhibiting composure, energy, and good humor in danger. Le comte de Fersen, one of his aides-de-camp, related: " Everyone was content to be commanded by Rochambeau. He was the only man capable of commanding us in America and maintaining the perfect harmony which existed between two nations so different in manners and language. His wise, simple, and prudent bearing did more to conciliate the Americans than four successful battles could have done."
The commanding allied generals le comte de Rochambeau [John Welsh] and George Washington [Kevin Grantz] at Colonial Williamsburg's ‘Prelude to Victory' program in 2004.
UNIFORMS: Rochambeau carried two uniforms, one for service in the field, and his full dress ceremonial uniform for military and social occasions. The impression includes both, tailored by a costumer associated with Disney Studios with access to the noble materials, and developed in consultation with Maitre Eugene Lelièpvre, official painter to the French Army and an accomplished artist and military historian. Documentation from the Musée de l'Armée in published journals is also relied upon. Accessories such as the officer's epée, the grand plaque, and walking stick are authentic originals. Interpretations are given in French, as he spoke no English; but public speaking engagements are given in English.
COMMEMORATIVE APPEARANCES AND PRESENTATIONS: Colonial Williamsburg "Prelude to Victory" programs for 2002, 2003, and 2004; Society of Sons of the American Revolution, Baltimore, Maryland 2002, and Texas gala, San Antonio 2002; French Monument Rededication Ceremonies, Annapolis, Maryland 2003; Napoleonic Alliance, Chicago 2003; French Expeditionary Corps Arrival, 225th Anniversary program, Newport, RI, July 2005; and states' Washington-Rochambeau route marches in 2006."
PROFESSIONAL REFERENCES: Monsieur le comte Michel de Rochambeau; Life-member, Societe des Amis du Musée de L'Armée, Hotel des Invalides, Paris; Member, Brigade of the American Revolution's Regiment Royal Deux-Ponts; The Continental Line's Regiments Saintonge and Gatinois; Duke of Gloucester Society of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; National Park Service and state historic parks; Society of Sons of the American Revolution; Personal biographies included in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in American Law, and Who's Who in the World (Marquis publications).

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Page posted 20 September 2004; revised 30 September 2005.