François Jean de Beauvoir, Marquis de Chastellux Biography


    About the author

    Edward St. Germain.
    Edward St. Germain

    Edward A. St. Germain created in 1996. He was an avid historian with a keen interest in the Revolutionary War and American culture and society in the 18th century. On this website, he created and collated a huge collection of articles, images, and other media pertaining to the American Revolution. Edward was also a Vietnam veteran, and his investigative skills led to a career as a private detective in later life.

    Chevalier de Chastellux by Charles Willson Peale, c. 1782.
    Chevalier de Chastellux by Charles Willson Peale, c. 1782.


      Quick facts

      • Born: 1734 in Paris, France.
      • François-Jean de Chastellux was a French general and philosopher, playing a notable role during the American Revolutionary War as a major general in the French expeditionary forces.
      • He served under General Rochambeau and was instrumental in the coordination between French forces and the Continental Army led by George Washington.
      • De Chastellux participated in key military engagements, including the Siege of Yorktown, which was pivotal in securing American independence.
      • He was also an intellectual and wrote extensively, contributing to the literature and philosophy of the Enlightenment era.
      • After the war, he continued his literary and philosophical pursuits, remaining an influential figure in French intellectual circles.
      • Died: 28 October 1788 in Paris, France.



      François Jean de Beauvoir, Marquis de Chastellux, was a French military officer, writer, and traveler. Born in the Burgundy region of France, in 1734, he was the son of a distinguished noble family and received an excellent education, which prepared him for a life of intellectual pursuits and military service.

      Chastellux began his military career at the age of 17, serving in the French army during the Seven Years’ War. He rose through the ranks and gained the respect of his superiors for his bravery and tactical skill. In 1765, he was appointed as a colonel and given command of a regiment, which he led with distinction.

      In 1780, Chastellux was sent to America to serve under comte de Rochambeau. He arrived in Newport, Rhode Island, and was immediately struck by the energy and enthusiasm of the American people. He met with General George Washington, who was impressed by Chastellux’s military knowledge and appointed him as a major general in the Continental Army.

      Chastellux participated in several battles during the American Revolution, including the Siege of Yorktown, where he played a crucial role in securing the victory for the American and French forces. He was also instrumental in securing French naval support for the American cause, which helped turn the tide of the war.

      After the war, Chastellux returned to France, where he continued his military service and became a prolific writer. He wrote several books on military tactics, including Essai sur la guerre civile, which was considered a groundbreaking work on the subject. He also wrote a travelogue titled Voyage de M. le chevalier de Chastellux dans l’Amérique septentrionale, which chronicled his experiences in America during the Revolution.

      Chastellux was a member of the French Academy of Sciences and a close friend of many influential French intellectuals, including Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. He was a strong supporter of the American Revolution and saw it as an opportunity to promote the ideals of liberty and democracy.

      Chastellux died in 1788 at the age of 54. His contributions to the American Revolution and his writings on military tactics and travel continue to be studied and celebrated today. He is remembered as a brave and talented military leader and a skilled writer who made important contributions to the study of American culture and politics.

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