Who led the French military in the American Revolutionary War?
There were several important French commanders who fought with the Colonial troops during the American Revolutionary War.
ROCHAMBEAU. Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, the comte de Rochambeau (1725-1807) was the commander-in-chief of the French Expeditionary Force that joined the Colonial cause in 1780. He was made a lieutenant general by George Washington and led a command of 6000 troops who were essential to the siege of Yorktown and the eventual surrender of Lord Cornwallis' army.
D'ESTAING. Charles Hector, comte d'Estaing (1729–1794), served as an admiral of the initial French fleet that arrived in America in 1778. After his failures in Rhode Island and the siege of Savannah, he returned to France in 1780.
LAFAYETTE. The most renowned Frenchman to join the Colonial cause during the Revolution, Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette (1757–1834) was a French aristocrat who became a confidant of George Washington. Receiving the rank of major general, he initially served as an advisor, but later displayed his heroism at the battle of Brandywine; though wounded, he supervised the Colonial retreat. He later led troops at the battles of Gloucester (where his 300 men defeated a superior Hessian force) and Barren Hill, where his command of 2200 were forced to retreat from the 10,000 British soldiers who attempted to trap him. Lafayette also helped to reorganize the retreating Colonial troops at the battle of Monmouth. After his troops were defeated at Williamsburg, Lafayette's strategic position at Yorktown helped to trap Cornwallis' army. After returning to France following American independence, Lafayette refused to serve under Napoleon. He returned to America in 1824 and was accorded a hero's welcome at every stop.
DE GRASSE. Francois Joseph Paul, comte de Grasse (1722-1788), commanded French naval troops during the American Revolutionary War. Crushing the British fleet at the Battle of the Chesapeake, his blockade of Chesapeake Bay led to the entrapment and eventual surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown.
Rochambeau led the French military in the War of American Independence.