Jean Baptiste Donatien De Vimeur Rochambeau - Encyclopedia


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JEAN BAPTISTE DONATIEN DE VIMEUR, ROCHAMBEAU Comte De (1725-1807), French soldier, was born at Vendome (Loir-et-Cher) on the 1st of July 1725. He was originally destined for the church and was brought up at the Jesuit college at Blois, but after the death of his elder brother he entered a cavalry regiment, served in Bohemia and Bavaria and on the Rhine, and in 1747 had attained the rank of colone took part in the siege of Maestricht in 1748, became governor of Vendome in 1749, and after distinguishing himself in 1756 in the Minorca expedition was promoted brigadier of infantry. In 1757 and 1758 he fought in Germany, notably at Crefeld, received several wounds in the battle of Clostercamp (1760), was appointed marechal de camp in 1761 and inspector of cavalry and was frequently consulted by the ministers on technical points. In 1780 he was sent, with the rank of lieutenant-general, in command of 6000 French troops to help the American colonists under Washington against the English. He landed at Newport, Rhode Island, on the 10th of July, but was held here inactive for a year, owing to his reluctance to abandon the French fleet, which was blockaded by the British in Narragansett Bay. At last, in July 1781, Rochambeau's force was able to leave Rhode Island and, marching across Connecticut, joined Washington on the Hudson. Then followed the celebrated march of the combined forces to Yorktown, where on the 22nd of September they formed a junction with the troops of Lafayette; as the result Cornwallis was forced to surrender on the 19th of October. Throughout, Rochambeau had displayed an admirable spirit, placing himself entirely under Washington's command and handling his troops as part of the American army. In recognition of his services, Congress voted him and his troops the thanks of the nation and presented him with two cannon taken from the English. These guns, which Rochambeau took back to Vendome, were requisitioned in 1792. On his return to France he was loaded with favours by Louis XVI. and was made governor of Picardy. During the Revolution he commanded the Army of the North in 1790, but resigned in 1792. He was arrested during the Terror, and narrowly escaped the guillotine. He was subsequently pensioned by Bonaparte, and died at Thore (Loiret-Cher) on the 10th of May 1807.

A statue of Rochambeau by Ferdinand Hamar, the gift of France to the United States, was unveiled in Lafayette Square, Washington, by President Roosevelt on the 24th of May 1902. The ceremony was made the occasion of a great demonstration of friendship between the two nations. France was represented by her ambassador, M. Cambon, Admiral Fournier and General Brugere, a detachment of sailors and marines from the warship " Gaulois " being present. Representatives of the Lafayette and Rochambeau families also attended. Of the many speeches perhaps the most striking was that of Senator Henry C. Lodge, who, curiously enough in the circumstances, prefaced his eloquent appreciation of the services rendered to the American cause by France by a brilliant sketch of the way in which the French had been driven out of North America by England and her colonists combined. General Brugere, in his speech, quoted Rochambeau's words, uttered in 1781: " Entre vous, XXIII. 14 a brought to Spain by a merchant from the China seas (Abu I;Iamid of Spain, in Damiri, s.v.). The roc is hardly different from the Arabian `anka (see Phoenix); it is also identified with the Persian simurgh, the bird which figures in Firdausi's epic as the foster-father of the hero Zal, father of Rustam. When we go farther back into Persian antiquity we find an immortal bird, amru, or (in the Minoi-khiradh) sinamru, which shakes the ripe fruit from the mythical tree that bears the seed of all useful things. Sinamru and simurgh seem to be the same word. In Indian legend the garuda on which Vishnu rides is the king of birds (Benfey, Pantschatantra, iii. 98). In the Pahlavi translation of the Indian story as represented by the Syrian Kalilag and Damnag (ed. Bickell, 1876), the simurgh takes the place of the garuda, while Ibn al-Mokaffa` (Calila et Dimna, ed. De Sacy, p. 126) speaks instead of the `anka. The later Syriac, curiously enough, has behmoth, - apparently the behemoth of Job transformed into a bird.

For a collection of legends about the roc, see Lane's Arabian Nights, chap. xx. notes 22, 62, and Yule, ut supra. Also see Bochart, Hieroz, bk. vi. ch. xiv.; Damiri, i. 414, ii. 177 seq.; Kazwini, i. 419 seq.; Ibn Batuta, iv. 305 seq.; Spiegel, Eran. Altertumsk. ii. 118.

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