ROCHAMBEAU by Arnold Whitridge


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Rochambeau was a self-effacing, not very dashing, figure who conducted his life with excellence, acted nobly toward all, and is the despair of biographers who dote on eccentricity, intrigue and gossip. His marriage was a perfect affair, apparently containing sixty years of fidelity. He ignored entirely the petty backstage entanglements of the courts of Louis XV and Louis XVI, and his mentions of Mesdames Pompadour and du Barry always correctly assumed that those ladies were the king's ministers. He entered the army at fifteen and rose early to high rank while fighting during the Seven Years War. Later, he sailed with about 5500 men to the New World and supported General Washington's revolutionary army. During his first year here, he kept pretty much to Rhode Island and did not engage the British, for which he was chided by LaFayette. Washington, however, fairly loved the old soldier and great was their mutual joy when they joined forces and defeated Cornwallis at Yorktown. Rochambeau went home to become a marshal of France and spend six months in prison during the French Revolution. Upon his release, he retired, lived to 82 and died peacefully. This biography is as affectionate as possible, given the subject.

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 1965
Publisher: Macmillan