Rochambeau was born on July 1, 1725 in Vendôme, France. He attended school in Paris and then accepted a cavalry commission. He fought in the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years War. In 1761, he was Inspector of Cavalry and later served as a provincial governor. In 1780, he took command of the large French force sent to aid the Continental Army. There, his tactical and administrative knowledge contributed significantly to America's victory at Yorktown in 1781. He returned to France in early 1783 and commanded its northern army in the last years of Louis XVI's reign. Rochambeau retired to his chateau in 1792, but was arrested and imprisoned for six months by Robespierre's revolutionaries. Rochambeau escaped execution and later regained his former status during Napoleon's dictatorship. Rochambeau died on May 10, 1807.


  • 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/rochambeau.html
  • Source: Independence NHP
  • Portrait Figure Birth and Death Dates: 1725-1807
  • Ownership History: Listed in the 1795 Peale Museum catalog. Purchased by the City of Philadelphia at the 1854 Peale Museum sale.
  • National Park Service Catalog Number: INDE 14138
  • Measurements: H 22, W 19 in (H 55.9, W 48.3 cm)
  • Materials: Oil on canvas.
  • Date: c. 1782
  • About This Portrait: Americans celebrated the victory at Yorktown with displays that exalted its heroic commanders Washington and Rochambeau. Charles Willson Peale decorated the second story of his home with large, painted transparencies that depicted the two men crowned with laurel and surrounded by rays of glory. Around the same time, Peale also painted Rochambeau's portrait for the museum, probably during the latter's visit to Philadelphia in the summer of 1782. In it, Rochambeau wears the elegant dress of a French courtier, which includes the Grand Croix of the Order of St. Louis that he received in 1771 for his distinguished service in the Seven Years War. The museum portrait was first listed in the October 13, 1784 issue of the Freeman's Journal and Philadelphia Daily Advertiser.

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