Marquis de Chastellux

Portrait of Marquis de Chastellux

Before reaching his 30th year, François Jean de Beauvoir, Marquis de Chastellux had developed an impressive military résumé from his service in the Seven Years’ War. He was also a prodigious writer of books and plays that were well received in the era of Enlightenment. By July 1780, the then major general set sail for America with Rochambeau’s French expeditionary force. With a strong grasp of the English language, de Chastellux became an invaluable liaison between Washington and Rochambeau, as they embarked on the winding and ultimately victorious Yorktown Campaign. He’d remain in America after the British surrender, with a desire to learn more about the newly liberated nation’s culture and geography. During his journey, he received honorary degrees from the College of William and Mary and the College of Philadelphia. Upon returning to France, he published his travel journal of North America in 1786 and didn’t forget to send a copy to his friend George Washington.