Francois-Joseph-Paul de Grasse (1722-1788)

Admiral Fran├žois-Joseph-Paul de Grasse, Comte de Grasse

He was the Commander of the French Fleet who won a decisive victory against the British at the Battle of the Chesapeake (1781) and then continued to keep the British from reinforcing their troops at Yorktown which resulted in the British surrender and the conclusion of the American War of Independence. However, in the following year, Grasse found himself decisively defeated and captured by Admiral Rodney at the Battle of the Saintes which somewhat tarnished his earlier achievement. Having lost his estates during the French Revolution (1789), he and his children moved to Saint-Domingue in the Caribbean. But, after the Haitian Revolution, Grasse surrendered himself to the British and five of his children went as refugees to Charleston in South Carolina. Two of the daughters died of Yellow Fever, but his youngest, Sylvie, married Francis de Pau, a Franco-American slave trader and they raised a family in New York City. His eldest son, Auguste, returned to France and resumed his military career with Napoleon. His natural son, George, also went to New York, married, and also raised a family.
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 24/01/2020 and last updated on 24/01/2020.