Augustin de la Balme
After serving in the Seven Years’ War in Europe, Augustin de la Balme became an expert in horsemanship. With Benjamin Franklin on his side, he was appointed the Continental army’s inspector general of cavalry. However, when Casimir Pulaski was given command of the cavalry, de la Balme’s injured pride compelled him to resign from his position in October 1777. Yet this decision appeared to be later regretted, and in 1778, de la Balme campaigned the Continental Congress to reinstate him. But Congress had grown to distrust him. Not one to be easily cast aside, de la Balme traveled west and — declaring himself a representative of Louis XVI — started a private effort to form a unit to pester the British in the Ohio Valley and Illinois regions. He gathered a force of just over 100 men, who first attacked Fort St. Joseph and gained valuable supplies. Propelled by these supplies, he advanced toward Fort Detroit. However, the Miami war chief Little Turtle intercepted de la Balme before he reached his destination, killing him and many of his men.