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"Volunteer Overlord: Foreign Support of the American Cause" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2020 8:56 p.m. PST


"Aside from being outmanned by the best army in the world when the American Revolution started, it was clear that the American forces were lacking specific skill sets, gaps which had to be addressed in order to assure victory. Early on, Congress identified several functions, the major ones being engineering and artillery, in which a lack of homegrown talent left little choice but to dip into the foreign talent pool. When the door opened for the use of foreign military personnel, more people than just those supporting these two specialties stormed through. The scramble that occurred left in its wake short tempers, finger-pointing, and more than a few bruised egos. It also presented questions as to the appropriateness of the use of foreign troops given the principles of the Revolution. To use an engineering analogy, however, these foreigners helped build the bridge that got the United States from the Declaration of Independence to the French alliance. The alliance "legitimized" the use of outside help, and once they got coordinated the combined forces were enough to defeat the British.

The engineering gap was actually filled reasonably quickly. Benjamin Franklin, working with the French, recruited four men: Antoine-Jean-Louis LeBègue de Presle Duportail, Obry Gouvion, and Bailleul La Radière, commissioned with ranks of colonel, major, and lieutenant colonel respectively, in February 1777, and Lt. Col. Jean-Baptiste-Joseph, comte de Laumoy, a couple of months later.[1] They were the only foreigners recruited at the express direction of Congress. Throughout the war, the revolutionaries recruited very few European soldiers through such directly sanctioned means…"
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lucky1oldman17 Sep 2020 8:11 a.m. PST

Interesting information.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2020 11:12 a.m. PST

We could have done without a few of those foreigners.
Like the drunkard Roche de Fermoy, or the conspirator Conway.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2020 11:57 a.m. PST

Glad you enjoyed it my friend! (smile)


Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2020 12:45 p.m. PST

We could have done without a few of those foreigners.

And there were those that were crucial to the war effort: Duportail, de Kalb, and von Steuben, for examples.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2020 12:49 p.m. PST

Kevin. Are you stalking me, or am I stalking you? grin
Add Pulaski and Kosciusko to your list, for Polish Americans.
And I still believe that had Lafayette been alive in the 1960s, he would have been yet another wealthy heir who went to cut sugar cane for Fidel.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2020 11:43 a.m. PST



Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP20 Sep 2020 5:19 a.m. PST

Add Pulaski and Kosciusko to your list, for Polish Americans.

Why should anyone be added to a 'list' for the reason of their nationality or ethnicity?

Neither of these gentlemen were crucial to the war effort. Pulaski was killed in action gallantly, but he alienated too many cavalry officers and was replaced as chief of cavalry because of it.

Both William Washington and Lee were better cavalry commanders.

Kosciusko was not as skilled an engineer as Duportail, and Duportail founded the US corps of engineers with his corps of sappers and miners.

If you actually want to add anyone, such gallant and competent French junior officers as Fleury, who contributed to the efficiency of the Continental Corps of Light Infantry, should be mentioned.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP20 Sep 2020 4:28 p.m. PST

Ah!… The French… only the French… (smile)


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