Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Marshal, b. at Vendôme, France, 1 July, 1725; d. at Thoré, 10 May, 1807. At the age of sixteen he entered the army and in 1745 became an aid to Louis Philippe, Duke of Orléans, subsequently commanding a regiment. He served with distinction in several important battles, notably those of Minorca, Crevelt, and Minden, and was wounded at the battle of Lafeldt. When the French monarch resolved to despatch a military force to aid the American colonies in the Revolutionary War, Rochambeau was created a lieutenant-general and placed in command of a body of troops which numbered some 6000 men. It was the smallness of this force that made Rochambeau at first averse to taking part in the American War, but his sympathy with the colonial cause compelled him eventually to accept the command, and he arrived at Newport, Rhode Island July, 1780, and joined the American army under Washington, on the Hudson a few miles above the city of New York. Rochambeau performed the double duties of a diplomat and general in an alien army with rare distinction amidst somewhat trying circumstances, not the least of which being a somewhat unaccountable coolness between Washington and himself, which, fortunately, was of but passing import (see the correspondence and diary of Count Axel Fersen). After the first meeting with the American general he marched with his force to the Virginia peninsula and rendered heroic assistance at Yorktown in the capture of the English forces under Lord Cornwallis, which concluded the hostilities. When Cornwallis surrendered, 19 Oct., 1781, Rochambeau was presented with one of the captured cannon. After the surrender he embarked for France amid ardent protestations of gratitude and admiration from the officers and men of the American army. In 1783 he received the decoration of Saint-Esprit and obtained the baton of a marshal of France in 1791. Early in 1792 he was placed in command of the army of the North, and conducted a force against the Austrians, but resigned the same year and narrowly escaped the guillotine when the Jacobin revolutionary power had obtained supreme control in Paris. When the fury of the revolution had spent itself, Rochambeau was reinstated in the regard of his countrymen. He was granted a pension by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1804, and was decorated with the Cross of Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour. The last years of the distinguished military leader's life were passed in the dictation of his memoirs, which appeared in two volumes in Paris in 1809, and which throw many personal and brilliant sidelights on the events of two of the most historically impressive revolutions, and the exceptional men therein concerned.

More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 3:14-21
14 This, then, is what I pray, kneeling before the Father,15 ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 33:1-2, 4-5, 11-12, 18-19
1 Shout for joy, you upright; praise comes well from the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:49-53
49 'I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 20th, 2016 Image

St. Paul of the Cross
October 20: St. Paul of the Cross was born at Ovada in the ... Read More