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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 9

This foot note contained in document ADMS-06-09-02-0039
4. The account of the expeditionary force under Rochambeau assembling at Brest is a mixture of fact and rumor, reflecting more closely the force as originally intended than as actually sent. The convoy carrying the army sailed in May, escorted by 7 ships of the line, 2 frigates, and 2 smaller warships, rather than 37 ships of the line. The naval force was commanded by the Chevalier de Ternay, rather than Louis-Charles, Comte du Chaffault de Besné, whose career had been effectively ended by wounds at the battle off Ushant in 1778. Rochambeau intended to embark an army of 8,000 men, but a shortage of shipping forced its division into two sections, only the first of which went to America. The army that sailed for America thus totaled approximately 5,500 men: 500 from the Duc de Lauzun's private legion and the remainder from the Soissonais, Bourbonnais, Saintonge, and Royal-Deux-Ponts regiments (two battalions from each). Baron de Viomenil and Chevalier de Chastellux went to America as maréchals de camp, the former serving as Rochambeau's second in command. The Anhalt and Neustrie regiments and the remainder of Lauzun's force remained at Brest as part of the second section under the command of Comte de Wittgenstein (Dull, French Navy and Amer. Independence , p. 190–191; Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale ; Doniol, Histoire, 5:331–333). There is no evidence that the Auvergne, Royal Corse, or Rouergue regiments were intended for service under Rochambeau.