Comte de Rochambeau (Dictionary of World Biography: The 17th and 18th Centuries)
Article abstract: Placed in command of French troops who came to assist the colonists in the American Revolutionary War, Rochambeau helped General George Washington plan the Battle of Yorktown and defeat the British under the command of Lord Charles Cornwallis in 1781.
Born into a well-established French noble family with a military heritage, Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau, was the third son of Joseph Charles de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau, and Marie Claire Thérèse Bérgon. At age five, he was sent by his parents to school at the Collège de Vendôme, run by the Oratian Fathers, an order of clergy in the Roman Catholic church. There he began to receive excellent training in history, literature, mathematics, and the physical sciences.
Though Rochambeau grew up with heroic stories about the prowess of his ancestors, his family designated him for the priesthood because he was both the youngest son and not very robust. The Oratians, however, were suspected of heresy. A friend of the family, the bishop of Blois, persuaded young Rochambeau’s father to transfer his son to a Jesuit school in Blois, where his teachers were more likely to prepare him to receive a bishopric one day.
The event that changed the course of Rochambeau’s life was the sudden death of his only surviving brother. He was about to be tonsured, a preparatory step toward receiving the priesthood,...
(The entire section is 2042 words.)
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Comte de Rochambeau (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: Placed in command of French troops who came to the aid of colonists fighting in the American Revolution, Rochambeau helped George Washington plan and execute the Battle of Yorktown in Virginia, thus defeating the British in 1781.
Born into a well-established French noble family with a military heritage, the comte de Rochambeau enrolled in a Paris military academy at age fifteen and soon thereafter joined the French army, rising rapidly through its ranks. At one point, his gallantry was recognized by King Louis XV. During the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763), he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. As inspector of cavalry, he introduced reforms that aided the efficiency of the French army. He became known for not only his emphasis on discipline but also his concern for the welfare of the common soldier.
In 1780, Rochambeau, then lieutenant general, was asked by the French government to command an expeditionary force to America because of an alliance the two nations had formed to fight the British. In the American Revolution (1775-1783), though a seasoned commander, Rochambeau immediately placed himself and his army at the disposal of General George Washington. Rochambeau and Washington agreed to attack British forces in Virginia under the command of Lord Charles Cornwallis. They involved French admiral Count Grasse-Tilly, whose fleet prevented Cornwallis from escaping or joining...
(The entire section is 358 words.)