Chastellux was born in Paris, France. At age 13, he joined the army as a second lieutenant and rose through the ranks during the Seven Years' War. With military glory, he also gained literary fame. Chastellux was given membership in the French Academy after publishing a book of philosophy in 1772. When the French expeditionary forces assigned to the Revolutionary Continental Army set sail for America in 1779, he was one of the three major generals sent with General Rochambeau. They arrived in America and took part in the victorious Yorktown campaign. Chastellux's fluency in English made him invaluable to the Continental Army commanders.

After the Revolution, Chastellux returned to France and published his reminiscences, Travels in North America. He became military governor of Longwy, as well as an Inspector General in the army. In 1784, he succeeded his brother as the Marquis de Chastellux. He died in Paris on October 24, 1788.


  • Creator: Charles Willson Peale, from life
  • Contributor: Independence National Historical Park, National Park Service
  • Original Source: http://www.nps.gov/museum/exhibits/revwar/image_gal/indeimg/chastelx.html
  • Source: Independence NHP
  • Portrait Figure Birth and Death Dates: 1734-1788
  • Ownership History: Listed in the 1795 Peale Museum catalog. Purchased by Townsend Ward (librarian of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania) at the 1854 Peale Museum sale. Purchased by the City of Philadelphia from Townsend Ward in 1854.
  • National Park Service Catalog Number: INDE 14038
  • Measurements: H 23, W 20 in (H 58.4, W 51 cm)
  • Materials: Oil on canvas.
  • Date: c. 1782
  • About This Portrait: Charles Willson Peale was an ardent admirer of Chastellux. He owned all of the Frenchman's published writings. The artist also shared Chastellux's interest in natural history and asked him for a portrait in 1782. Peale's museum portrait of his fellow naturalist was among those listed in the October 13, 1784 issue of the Freeman's Journal, which contains the first advertisement for the collection.

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