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Friday, 11 April 2014

"The FrenchForces in America 1780 - 1783" Lee Kennett

This was an interesting book. A few months ago I read Stephen Brumwell's biography of George Washington. This was my first venture into AWI/ARW, apart from a few boxes of Airfix AWI figures about 40 years ago. A few weeks later I went to a talk by Prof John Derry who made the comment that the Americans owe more to the French Navy in 1781 than they acknowledge. I spotted this book on EBay, together with the Osprey Men-at-Arms book.

In 1780, the Government of Louis XVI decided to send the "Expedition Particuliere", a force of around 7000 troops, to support the American Continental Army. The Expedition was commanded by Comte de Rochambeau. It arrived at Rhode Island on 10th July 1780 where it stayed for a year, then marched to join the Continental Army and lay siege to British forces in Yorktown.

This book describes the process of putting the Expedition together, its funding, its organisation and its actions. I found the book to be an accessible read, very informative, with detail I had not thought of before, such as they wanted to take around 100 horses, not a huge number but the unpredictable weather on the trans-Atlantic voyage meant that several ships worth of fodder and extra water would be needed, so extra were needed to fund the purchase of horses in America.

Comte de Rochambeau

The other book I bought.


  1. Wonderful review! I've been trying to convince my students that France had much more to do with our independence then they like to admit. Glad to see that it is acknowledged on the other side of the pond.

    1. Thanks. It's not really acknowledged in England - we don't like to admit we were beaten by a force that included the old enemy,France, and French troops.