The French were the archenemies of the British and her American colonies, particularly after the French and Indian War which was begun by George Washington. So, why did America look to the French as their principal ally in the American Revolution and why did General George Washington choose a Frenchman as his chief engineer? This biography of Louis Duportail, founder and first Commandant of the Army Corps of Engineers, begins by exploring those questions. It then explores the life of this man, who is virtually unknown in America and less known in his native France.
This is an unique biography about an overlooked, even obscure, French officer that was instrumental in the American cause for independence. As a complete biography, it covers his return to France and his service in the French army. Cementing his role in the seminal events of the era, readers will also learn of his problems under the Reign of Terror and his escape to the United States where he purchased a quiet farm near Valley Forge. It concludes with his unusual death at sea and the problems of settling his estate. Duportail died in the greatest anonymity, in the greatest indifference, without earthly burial, without military honors, a dedicated monument to his glory in service to France or the United States, and without intervention of his brothers in arms to honor and recall his memory.
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