French Memoirs from the War for American Independence

French Memoirs from the War for American Independence
Ellen Clark, Normand Desmarais, Robert Selig and Andrew Woelflein
July 12, 2021

The American Revolution marked the beginning of an age of democratic revolutions that swept over France and challenged the old order throughout the Atlantic world. The French officers who served in the American War of Independence, whether as idealistic volunteers or resolute soldiers of their king, remembered the experience for the rest of their lives. Many preserved their reflections on the revolution in America in daily diaries, private journals and carefully composed memoirs, leaving us with a remarkable array of perspectives on America, Americans and the first act in the age of revolution.

In this panel discussion moderated by Library Director Ellen McCallister Clark, scholars explore the memoirs of French soldiers including the marquis de Saint-Simon, the comte de Lauberdière, Jean-Baptiste-Antoine de Verger and others. This discussion highlight gems from the Institute’s library, as well as memoirs held in the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection at Brown University and in private collections. 


A discussion hosted by the Institute discussing French memoirs written about the American Revolution by officers who wrote about their experiences in America.