In June of 1780 the Count of
Rochambeau arrived at Newport, Rhode Island with a force of some four to
five thousand men to aid the Americans against the British. His forces
included the infantry regiments of Bourbonnais, Soissonnais, Saintonge,
and the Royal Deux-Ponts, plus the foot and horse of the Legion of Lauzun.
Lauzun was detached with his command to serve as an outpost for Rochambeau
and spent the period from November, 1780 until June, 1781 at Lebanon, Connecticut.
In July, 1781 Lieutenant-General
Rochambeau marched down to the Hudson River and joined forces with the
American army of General Washington. On August 21st the combined
forces started their march to the south to join Lafayette in Virginia.
In August, 1781 Admiral de Grasse
sailed from Santo Domingo with a force to some three thousand men to join
Rochambeau in Virginia. These troops included the infantry regiments
of Gatinois, Agenois, and Touraine. Detachments from the regiments
of Gatinois and Royal Deux-Ponts captured a redoubt in a night attack on
The uniforms shown in our plate
are based on the French warrant of 1779. The officer and drummer
with the solid dark cuffs were members of the Saintonge regiment, and the
Grenadier with the violet facings was a member of the Gatinois Regiment.
The blue coat worn by the drummer was standard for all of the line infantry
regiments. Thus, a drummer for the Gatinois Regiment would wear the
blue coat ornamented with the crimson and white lace, as for the Saintonge,
but would have the violet facings as worn by the remainder of the regiment.
Without these French allies with their artillery, men and ships, there
would have been no great victory at Yorktown.
[REFERENCES: Uniforms of the
American, British, French, and German Armies . . . Charles M.
Lefferts. The War of the Revolution. Christopher L.
Ward. "Military Collector and Historian". Vol. XI, No. 4, 1959;
and French Flags of the Revolution. de Frank Schermerhorn.