Toussaint-Guillaume Picquet de la Motte
Taking to the sea at age 15, Toussaint-Guillaume Picquet de la Motte joined the French Navy as a midshipman. Making naval service a lifelong career, he rose through the ranks. During the American conflict, La Motte served as a squadron commander, leading from the Saint-Espirit in the July 1778 Battle of Ushant and further pursuing the British as he cruised the English seas. He went on to participate in the Battle of Grenada and the Siege of Savannah. In 1781, as commander of a nine-ship squadron, he advantageously intercepted Admiral George Brydges Rodney’s fleet en route from St. Eustatius, capturing 26 British ships and a plunder of five million sterling — a victory that resulted in his promotion to lieutenant general of the naval armies. To this day, five vessels in the French Navy have been named after the high-achieving admiral.