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Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur,
comte de Rochambeau (1725-1807).
As a lieutenant general, comte de Rochambeau commanded the French expeditionary army sent to help the American Revolution during 1780 to 1782. His skillful leadership and professional wisdom were vital to the American-French allied victory at Yorktown in September 1781.
He was born in Vendôme, France and distinguished himself in the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years' War. Following the latter war, Rochambeau was one of the leaders of French military reforms that established a foundation which became critical to the successes of the French Revolutionary armies, following his service. Many of the reforms were already evidenced in the quality of the troops Rochambeau selected to participate in his expeditionary force that deployed to North America in 1780.
The Rochambeau family arms are shown at the right. The motto is "To live and die as a gallant knight." While in North American, Rochambeau wore the red sash of the Order of St. Louis. Upon returning to France, Rochambeau received the cordon bleu of the Order of the Saint Esprit. In 1791, he became the last Marshal of France to be appointed under the Ancien Régime.

Nineteenth century painting of Marshal Rochambeau by an unknown artist.
The work hangs at the Musée de Vendôme.

Image at top of page is a detail from an oil painting by A. Couder (signed in 1836) held by Musée National de Versailles. The work is based upon a gouache, 1784 painting by Louis van Blarenghe's of 'The Siege of Yorktown'. The pose, used in both paintings, has become a standard for depicting the general, and is used in several statues of Rochambeau in France and the US.

crée par Louis XIV en 1693.
crée par Henri III en 1578.
Bâton du maréchal de France.

Link to an expanded article on the life of comte de Rochambeau.

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Page last revised 21 August 2005.