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Navy Units: Navy | Lauzun's Legion
Latest Changes: 07Jun04 - add French navy / 07Aug01 - merge Spanish to roster page /
List of French Regiments
and Naval Vessels in the U.S. Theater [Lafayette GenWeb]
- (en Française) includes a database of their soldiers and sailors
Royal-Deux-Ponts 1757-2003 [France Society SAR] provides a history of nearly 250 years (en Française).
Deux-Ponts Germans -- Unsung Heroes of the American Revolution, by Dr. Robert A. Selig [americanrevolution.org] describes their contribution to U.S. liberty.
The Chasseurs-Volontaires de Saint-Domingue was a volunteer regiment made up of ten companies of light infantry (chasseurs) enlisted from "free men of color". With an estimated 545 men it was the largest unit of men of African descent to fight in the American Revolution.
In 1779 Sept-Oct these troops made up one-tenth of the allied army in the six-week siege of Savannah GA, including the battle of September 24th and the attack of October 9th. As a new and relatively inexperienced unit, the Chasseurs had high casualties. Twenty-five of their number were recorded as wounded or killed during the failed attempt to dislodge the British from Savannah.
A monument to the Haitian soldiers was placed in Benjamin Franklin Square in Savannah, Georgia. Across the square from the monument is the First African Baptist Church, founded by slaves in 1773.
Chasseurs-Volontaires de Saint-Domingue (Haiti), by James Mastin
Henri Christopher was a 12-year-old drummer in the regiment in 1779. He became a leader in the struggle for Haitian independence from French colonial rule, first as commander of the Haitian army and later as emperor of the northern part of Haiti for fourteen years. He was the second person of African heritage to be a head of state in the Western Hemisphere.
In May 1780 over 60 Chasseurs were captured when Charleston SC fell to the British. The British Navy also captured three transports carrying Chasseurs. These soldiers were considered prizes of war and were sold into slavery.
A unit made up of Haitians took part in the successful allied (French and Spanish) campaign against British-held Pensacola in May 1780. Here the Haitians faced some of the same British regiments that their comrades had faced in Savannah.
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Adm. d'Estaing's Expeditionary Force, 1778-79
These twelve ships-of-the-line (with a total of 846 cannon) were accompanied by four frigates: Chimere, Alcmene, Aimable, and Engagement -- each with 26 cannon (104 total). The fleet was manned by some 9,200 sailors and marine riflemen plus 500 infantry from the Foix Regiment, and 500 infantry from the Hainault Regiment [Ref: 2010-07 note from JdT].
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