Rosters of French Participants

Latest Changes: 2020-07-07 add officers listings

About 250,000 soldiers served in the French army and about 75,000 sailors
served in the French navy worldwide during the time that France was allied
with the United States in the American Revolution (1778-1783).
Their descendants (whether living in the U.S., France, or elsewhere)
are eligible to join the SAR based on service documented in these records.

The enlistment records ("controles") of the French army are kept at
Le Service Historique de l'Armee de Terre in Vincennes, France.
The controles for Lauzun's Legion and other units raised by the French Navy
are kept in the Archives National in France.
Microfilm copies of the controles for the regiments that came to the United States
in 1780 with Rochambeau are available in the SAR Library in Louisville KY.


French and European officers in the U.S. theater of operations.

Biographies of senior French naval officers
[Expèdition Particulière Society]: including Barras, Bougainville, Estaing, de Grasse, Guichen, Monteil, La Motte, La P&egrav;rouse, Suffren, Ternay, and Vaudreuil.

Lafayette's memoirs (in English) of his participation in the American Revolution.

Print Resources ======================

Dictionnaire des officiers de l'armee royale qui ont combattu aux Etats Unis pendant la guerre d'Independance 1776-1783, by Gilbert Bodinier (Vincennes : Service Historique de l'armée de terre, 1983.) lists the names of [all] French officers who served in the United States theater of operations.

Les Combattants Francais de la Guerre Americain 1778-1783 (492 pp, introductions in both French and English) (U.S. Congress, Senate, Misc. Publications 58th Congress, 2nd Session, Document No. 77 (1903/04) provides a very incomplete listing (in both French and in English) of the officers and enlisted men who served in the United States theater of operations. Historians estimate that this lists only one-third of the actual number.

Enlisted Men 

The France GenWeb is developing -- from the rosters of French regiments and vessels -- a Web site (in French) with a database of the soldiers and sailors who served in this global war.
. . . database access page.
As of 2019 October the France GenWeb database contained over 46,000 names and had rosters from about 50% of the units that served in the U.S. theater. These numbers are increasing as volunteers enter additional data.

To start a search in the entire database enter your ancestor's surname in the box under "Faire une recherche patronymique" and click on "Et HoP". To view the roster for a regiment click on its underlined name. If there is no underline, the roster has not yet been posted.

Comments on Lafayette GenWeb, by Ralph Nelson (Florida Society SAR) -- If you do not find a person that you expected to find in the database remember the following cautions:
  1. Many of the 109 French infantry regiments are not yet listed.
  2. About half of the 98 ships-of-the-line and 96 frigates in the French navy during 1778-83 are not yet listed.
  3. Some ships went on several cruises but a roster is listed for only one cruise.
  4. Some men who died of disease may be listed as having died in battle.
  5. Some names are mis-spelled because the clerks came from a region different from the soldier or sailor. For example, Hartmann may be written as Artemanne. When an alternative spelling is suspected, both are given. Place names may be mis-spelled or hard to identify today. The most likely location has been indicated wherever possible.

The FamilySearch database "French Combatants in the Revolutionary War, 1778-1783" contains over 27,000 records -- some are likely duplicates due to variations in spelling between records for the same person. These are transcriptions of Images of published rosters of Revolutionary War soldiers from France. Records were compiled by France (Ministère des Affaires Etrangères). These were filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah in1968. You may search by a name, but you cannot browse the records.
. . . French Combatants in the RW"

Rosters for d'Estaing's and Rochambeau's Forces in the U.S.

French Soldiers who died in the U.S. lists the unit and date of death for 990 French soldiers who died here during 1778-1783 -- from both d'Estaing's expedition and Rochambeau's expedition. The list is by location (where the death was reported). "A bord" means on board ship.
NOTE 1: On this list all the death locations for Lauzun's Legion say "Amerique". Lauzun's Legion's Losses gives the cities of these deaths.
NOTE 2: There is a similar list of 1,000 deaths for sailors, but this has not yet been posted on-line.

The Chasseurs-Volontaires de Saint-Domingue Regiment was an infantry regiment comprised of over 700 free men of color from the French island colony of Saint Domingue. [NOTE: This island of Saint Domingue is now two independent nations -- Haiti and the Dominican Republic.] The men were recruited to join French Adm. d'Estaing's European regiments and fought at the The Chasseurs-Volontaires was the largest unit of men of African descent to fight in the American Revolution. Their losses were heavy.
  • Twenty-five men were reported as wounded or killed (and buried) at Savannah. In the List of French Dead in U.S. Operations those killed are listed with LIEU DE MORT as SAVANNAH and REGIMENT as Port-au-Prince, Cap, or Guadeloupe. See the 1779 battle of Savannah GA.
  • Over sixty men were captured in the fall of Charleston eight months later. The British Navy captured three transports carrying Chasseurs and sold them all into slavery. See the 1780 battle of Charleston SC.
  • A similar unit of Haitians was a part of the allied French / Spanish campaign against Pensacola where they faced some of the same regiments of British troops that their comrades had fought in Savannah. See the 1781 allied battle of Pensacola FL.

The SAR Library in Louisville KY has microfilm copies of the enlistment records for the 5,500 soldiers in the five regiments that were part of Rochambeau's Expeditionary Force during 1780-83. .
  • Auxonne (artillery)
  • Bourbonnais
  • Royal Deux Ponts*
  • Saintonge
  • Soissonnais
  • Volontaires-Étrangers de Lauzun (Lauzun's Legion)**
The terms of enlistment of hundreds of these soldiers expired while they were in the United States, and many remained here instead of returning to Europe. The names are listed on these microfilms in order of enlistment date (not alphabetic) and as of 2007 there is no index, so you must make a manual search to find a specific name.

*   The Germany Society SAR has transcribed the enrollment rosters for the Régiment Royal Deux Ponts (French for "Royal Regiment raised from the Two Bridges area")
See RDP surnames A-K and RDP surnames L-Z.

**   As part of a report for the state of Delaware (paid for in part by the Delaware Society SAR) Dr. Robert Selig provided a list of the soldiers in Volontaires-Étrangers de Lauzun who remained in the U.S. when the Legion sailed back to France in 1783. The causes are death in battle, death from other causes, completion of enlistment, or desertion. A number of the deserters were Hessian prisoners who agreed to serve in the Legion, but after several days or weeks deserted and disappeared into the large U.S. German community.
See "Lauzun's Legion's Losses".

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