World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Armand Louis de Gontaut

Article Id: WHEBN0000760413
Reproduction Date:

Title: Armand Louis de Gontaut  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Washington–Rochambeau Revolutionary Route, Charles James Fox, Dukes of Biron, Dukes of Lauzun, French political writers
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Armand Louis de Gontaut

Armand Louis de Gontaut
Armand Louis de Gontaut, Duc de Lauzun, and Duc de Biron
Born 13 April 1747 (1747-04-13)
Died Did not recognize date. Try slightly modifying the date in the first parameter. (aged 46)
Allegiance France
Service/branch French Army
Awards Order of Cincinnati
Order of St. Louis

Armand Louis de Gontaut, Duc de Lauzun, later duc de Biron, and usually referred to by historians of the French Revolution simply as Biron (13 April 1747 – 31 December 1793) was a French soldier and politician, known for the part he played in the American War of Independence and the French Revolutionary Wars. In 1773, he was Grand second warden of Grand Orient de France.[1]


  • Biography 1
    • Early life 1.1
    • American Revolution service 1.2
    • French Revolution service 1.3
    • Execution 1.4
  • Works 2
  • Legacy 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Early life

Born in Paris, he bore the title of Duc de Lauzun, which had passed, on the death of Antoine Nompar de Caumont, duc de Lauzun (1633–1723), to his niece, the wife of Charles Armand de Gontaut, duc de Biron (1663–1756). In 1788, he succeeded to the duchy of Biron on the death of his uncle, Louis Antoine de Gontaut, duc de Biron (1700–1788).[2] He married Amelia de Boufflers, only daughter of Charles-Joseph de Boufflers (1731–1751) and Mary Anne Philippine de Montmorency Logny (1732–1797), a young woman described as a paragon a gentle, virginal shyness, a combination of shrewdness and simplicity. Similarly the Duke was a popular companion and house guest.[3]

American Revolution service

After, for a while, spending his fortune in various parts of Europe, he attracted attention by an essay on the military defences of Great Britain and her colonial empire (État de defense d'Angleterre et de toutes ses possessions dans les quatres parties du monde). This led to his appointment to a command against the British in 1779. In February he commanded the troops that captured Fort St Louis, in Senegal, from the British.[4] After raising an army of volunteer hussars and infantry, subsequently known as Lauzun's Legion, for service in North America. He arrived with 600 of his men in Rhode Island; the remainder were in France, prevented from leaving. Despite having only a portion of his force, he engaged in several active skirmishes, including one near Gloucester, Virginia on 4 October 1781.[4]

In 1781, he took an important part in the Siege of Yorktown in 1781. Lauzun's Legion left their winter quarters in Lebanon, Connecticut on 9 June 1781 and marched south through Connecticut known as the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route. Their main function was to be an advance party but also to remain ten to fifteen miles south of the main army to protect the flank against any British located in the many Tory towns in lower Fairfield County. While in Connecticut, the French made camps in Middletown, Wallingford, North Haven, Ripton and North Stratford. They arrived at North Stratford, now Nichols on 28 June and stayed for two days.[5] From the hilltop in North Stratford, now Abraham Nichols Park, one could easily see for seventy miles past Long Island Sound to New York and beyond. The French used this time to spy on British ships in New York harbor. After the successful campaign at Yorktown and subsequent British surrender, Lauzun returned to France a hero and was made maréchal de camp.[2]

French Revolution service

In 1789, he was returned as deputy to the Estates-General by the noblesse of Quercy, and affiliated with the Revolutionary cause. In 1791, he was sent by the National Constituent Assembly to receive the oath of the army of Flanders, and subsequently was appointed to its command. In July 1792, on the wake of the revolutionary conflict, he was named commander of the Army of the Rhine, with the duty of watching the movements of the Habsburg Monarchy troops.

In May 1793, he was transferred to the command of the French Revolutionary Army on the La Rochelle front, operating against the Vendéan insurgency. He gained several successes, among them the capture of Saumur and the victory of Parthenay, but the insubordination of his troops and the suspicions of his political supervisors made his position intolerable and he sent in his resignation.[2]


He was accused by the notorious Jean-Baptiste Carrier of incivisme ("lack of civic virtue", the equivalent of treason under the Reign of Terror) and undue leniency to the insurgents, deprived of his command (July), imprisoned in the Abbaye, sentenced to death by the Revolutionary Tribunal and guillotined.[2] His wife, Amélie de Boufflers, was herself executed on 27 June 1794.


His Memoires, which come down to 1783, were published under his name in 1822 (and reprinted in a new edition of 1858), and letters were published in 1865, said to have been written by him in 1789 to friends in the country, describing the Estates-General.[2]



  1. ^ Dictionnaire de la Franc-maçonnerie, page 143 (Daniel Ligou, ed. Presses Universitaires de France, 2006)
  2. ^ a b c d e  
  3. ^ Gaston Maugras, The Duc de Lauzun and the Court of Louis XV. Osgood, McIlvaine & Company, 1895, de Boufflers%2C&f=false pp. 129–130.
  4. ^ a b Asa Bird Gardiner, The Order of Cincinnati in France, Rhode Island State Society of Cincinnati, 1905. p. 74
  5. ^ Life and Letters of Samuel Holden Parsons, Major General in the Continental Army and Chief Judge of the Northwestern Territory 1737 — 1789, Charles S. Hall 1905, page 364 [1]


  • Hall, Charles S., Life and Letters of Samuel Holden Parsons, Ostenigo Publishing Co., Binghamton, NY, 1905

External links

  • Web site "of the Volontaires-ètrangers de Lauzun, also known as Lauzun’s Legion"
  • "The Duc de Lauzun and his Legion: Rochambeau's most troublesome, colorful soldiers," by Robert A. Selig
  • Works by or about Armand Louis de Gontaut in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
  • The USGenWeb Project, Fairfield County
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.