Military Wiki
Armand Tuffin de La Rouërie
Nickname Colonel Armand
Born (1751-04-13)April 13, 1751
Died January 30, 1793(1793-01-30) (aged 41)
Place of birth Fougères
Place of death Near Lamballe
Allegiance  Kingdom of France
 United States of America
Breton Association
Service/branch Cavalry and infantry
Years of service 1776-1793
Rank general
Commands held Pulaski's Legion, Armand's Legion,
Head of the Breton Association
Battles/wars American war of independence (Monmouth, Brandywine, Yorktown)
Awards Ordre de Saint-Louis
Society of the Cincinnati

Charles Armand Tuffin, marquis de la Rouërie[1] (April 1751 – January 1793), also known in the United States as "Colonel Armand", was a Breton cavalry officer who served under the American flag during the American War of Independence. He was promoted to brigadier general after the Battle of Yorktown. He is also known as one of the early leaders of the Breton Association (the Chouannerie) during the French Revolution.


Military career

Destined for a military career from his earliest years, his impetuous temperament soon brought him to public attention. He spent a stormy, riotous and rebellious youth, in and around the French royal court, serving as an officer in the gardes françaises. Infatuated with an actress (Mademoiselle Fleury), he was thwarted in his intention of marrying her and met his rival, the count of Bourbon-Busset, in a duel. He thus fell into disgrace with the king and, ejected from the gardes, took poison and went to la Trappe to die. However, his friends met him there and prevented his suicide. His family then made him return to Fougères, though he did not remain there long.

American Revolution

At the end of 1776, he embarked at Nantes to join the Americans in their fight for independence. The Morris, the ship in which he crossed the Atlantic, was attacked by 3 British ships on its arrival. It was sunk in Chesapeake Bay (Delaware), but La Rouërie succeeding in getting to the shore, albeit completely naked and with only 3 surviving servants.

Under the orders of George Washington, he became colonel Armand and recruited volunteers, paid from his own pocket. Pulaski's Legion, initially named after its commander, was renamed the 1st Partisan Corps (or Armand's Partisan Corps or Armand's Legion) after Pulaski's death at the end of 1779. Made up of infantry and cavalry, this corps of foreign volunteers fluctuated between 3 and 5 companies strong.

Made a general in 25 June 1778, he took part in the battles of New York, Monmouth, Short Hills, Brandywine, Whitemarsh, the Campaign in Virginia, and the Siege of Yorktown. In 1781, Colonel Armand returned to France to re-equip his troops, and was there made a knight of the Order of Saint-Louis. On 26 March 1783, he was made a Brigadier General in the American Army, though he left the American army on 25 November that year. He returned to France for good in summer 1784, covered in glory and retaining Washington's friendship (the pair continued to correspond), though he is less-remembered than Lafayette in treatments of French participation in the War.

As well as his military deeds, he also brought back American tulip trees (offered him by Washington), the first to be imported into Europe, and these are still to be seen at the château de Saint-Ouen-la-Rouërie.

Fall of the monarchy, start of the Revolution

In 1785 La Rouërie married Louise-Caroline Guérin, marquise de Saint-Brice, a rich aristocrat. Shortly afterwards, his wife went mad and was treated by doctor Valentin Chevetel, with whom La Rouërie became friends, discussed politics and shared the same liberal political ideas.

In the troubles leading up to the French Revolution, La Rouërie declared himself the champion of the nobility and parliament of Brittany, which was struggling against the central court at Versailles. He was one of 12 angry deputies sent to the king in 1787, to petition for the restoration of the province's privileges. In 1788 he gave up his military career when he was offered a command by Louis XVI, out of opposition to his suppressing the liberties which the kingdom of France had accorded Brittany on their union, and so was imprisoned in the Bastille on 15 July that year, making him a popular hero. He was freed a month later, but would give up his ideas. Initially he welcomed the Revolution which came soon afterwards, but at the Estates General of 1789 he was indignant to see the Breton nobility succumbing to the pretensions of the Third Estate. Excited to resistance, he provoked a refusal to send representatives to the Estates, saying that he did not want this ancient nobility to bend over itself to become a double representation of the people. Finally, having made this chivalrous protest, they signed it in the blood of the Breton nobles, against the Ministry's anti-monarchist innovations.

The Breton "conspiracy"

The Breton Association

Initially the partners, reaffirming citizenship, were as a simply defensive Association against the factious crowd, robbers or criminals,[2] but as the Republicanism became more radical in Paris, and as foreign war became increasingly inevitable, the association radicalized in the early 1792, now favoring armed struggle.

Back in Britain, La Rouërie received powers granted to him by the Comte d'Artois:

Statements of Monseigneur the Count d'Artois:
1) That it is far from any proposal to despotism, its principles are very opposed to arbitrary government, and that he wants the King to put the state to strengthen the foundations of the monarchy, and return the happiness of its people, the exercise of authority tempered by laws, and restore the true French Constitution, which can easily be reconciled with a reasonable freedom.
2) That the relief he promised freely, and that there is no reason to fear that restoring order would be purchased by the dismemberment of any part of the kingdom.
3 ) That can be counted one of the first effects of the revolution will be against returning the provinces to their rights, and making statements that the convocation will be held at the same time that the orderly return of the permit.
4) Let us spare tracks the rigor that it will be possible, we will employ force only to subdue the stubborn rebellion, and that those who at the time of the publication of manifestos, return of loyal subjects to the duty, with research on their past conduct, with the exception of the heads of sedition, and convicted of major crimes that can not be removed from the prosecution of justice, will be tried according to the laws and judicial forms [3]

Thereafter, the association also received the support of Count of Provence, who in the meantime had also emigrated. The 4 October 1791, he wrote:

You can, sir, I assure Mr. Marquis de La Rouërie, that the Count of Artois's Plan of Association, that he has proposed for the good of the province of Brittany, I do not hesitate to join my approval to my brother and that, knowing how much the same sentiments, the principles and the wise leadership of Mr. De La Rouërie worthy of trust, I agree that my brother gave him. I urge him to continue to address this subject, that will certainly maintain our support.[3]

The Marquis de la Rouerie

La Rouërie then begin to organize the association. In each City bishopric, were placed six commissioners and a secretary of the association from the three orders. Administration was provided by two secretaries: Deshayes and Loaisel. The treasurer of the association was André Désilles.[4] Thomazeau, of Saint-Malo, was responsible for stewardship. Two men, Henry, innkeeper at Saint-Servan and Vincent were charged with links to Jersey. The partners received the delivery, through England, of silver, 6600 guns, powder, 300 complete uniforms and 4 Cannon.[5]

They raised troops; recruitment of volunteers was organized; measures were taken to build support garrisons of the National Guard. He was scheduled to address the ranks, by the number of men, so that, for example, twenty men of arms will be taught, thirty, will be sub-lieutenant, forty, lieutenant, etc.., all without making distinctions based on the nobility of any volunteer.[6]

La Rouërie now found support among the population of Brittany, which was very disappointed with the Revolution, after having first been in favor, and strongly opposed to the Civil Constitution of the Clergy.

La Rouërie was Catholic, too, although not practicing,[7] he criticized the Civil Constitution of clergy, and prepared a the manifesto of the association:

They can not conceal that the discontent of the people is spreading more and more, as the distance that generally reflects constitutional for the priests, as also the general desertion of their church announce too clear, that the wish of the vast majority of the people is contrary to the laws that divided the church, and destroyed the French clergy, without any reason of public utility.[8]

He also argued that since the abolition of the States of Brittany, poverty had increased, and taxes were now three times higher.

You can not hide any more, that the public misery worsens by the day, that trade languishes increasingly, that the resources of old people are emptied, and that he sees, however, in whispering, expenses increase, and religion to become for him the subject of a new tax.[9]

La Rouërie also took with him three aides de camp: Aimé Picquet du Boisguy, aged only fifteen years, of Picot Limoëlan, father of Joseph Picot de Limoëlan and his cousin Gervais Marie-Eugène de La Rouërie Tuffin, became liaison officer of Fontevieux. Of other nobles, who later can be distinguished in the wars of the Chouannerie who joined the association in Brittany, included: Amateur-Jérôme Le Bras des Forges de Boishardy, Charles de La Bourdonnaye Severus, Toussaint du Breil de Pontbriand, Vincent de Tinténiac Sebastián de La Hague Silz, Louis Pontavice of the brothers Charles and Louis-Edouard-Joseph de La Haye-Saint-Hilaire, Auguste de Bonteville Hay, and the Prince of Talmont. If the common people, like Pierre Guillemot, had joined the Association, the majority of members were, however, from the aristocracy.

La Rouërie and Noyan had also attempted to write a manifesto, to present the claims of the association:

The purpose of the association is to contribute primarily to the most peaceful return of the monarchy, the salvation of the rights of the province, the properties and honor[10]

The other manifesto presented to the Count d'Artois, at the end of the year 1791 began:

We the undersigned citizens of the province of Brittany, believe giving the reasons for our present Association, First, declare unanimously that the dearest wish of our heart is to live free or die, as expressed by its organization, our former government and Breton prescribed Moreover, Article 6, Section 5 Chapter I of the Constitution of 3 September 1791, and our intention is only propagated to any principles or we allow any acts that can be taken for an indirect violation of the oath.
We declare more it must be clearly understood that he does from us obedience and fidelity that we owe it to the king, our legitimate sovereign, and we look on the contrary, as our enemies all those who reported abuse and its benefits his tender solicitude for his people, seeking to weaken its authority guardianship, reduce its powers and destroy his throne by the insinuation of criminal republican ideas, the spread of which it is our duty, as good and loyal subjects, to oppose with all our strength.
We declare that we finally adopt the unrestricted basic principle of the current constitution, which is embodied in Article 6 of the Declaration on the Rights of Man and Citizen that the law is an expression of general will, and that all citizens have the right to contribute personally to their training. And in this regard, we observe that the principle of the misfortunes that afflict public at this time, the kingdom, and particularly the province of Brittany, that comes from that, in practice, it was too disregarded this theory legislation, without which there is no more true public liberty, that there were born successively these dangerous factions that divide the kingdom and known under the names of republican factions, royalists, monarchiennes and others, thereby yet respect for the law has naturally weakened, as soon as one hand, the birth of all these factions, and the whispers of other people only too clear that she did not it for this expression of the general will, which only form the most imposing character.
We note, moreover, that it is mainly the province of Brittany, which can more than anything else to complain that violated to it the principle of the Bill of Rights that no law can be regarded as such if it is an expression of general will, it has been convened or represented regularly at the General Meeting in 1789, and it has nonetheless lost its ancient constitution and its rights, franchises and liberties, against the wishes of its three formal orders, and even the specific provisions of the vast majority of books of the Assemblies of sénéchaussées, trained to avoid and then replace the Constitution of the third convocation as political and indivisible ...[11]

On 20 April 1792, the Kingdom of the French (1791–1792) declared war on the archduchy of Austria, and Holy Roman Empire. They received the same day, the support of the Kingdom of Prussia and the Army of Émigrés, the first coalition against Revolutionary France was formed.

The Breton Association was ready for battle, the numbers were strong, with 10,000 men.[12]

The chouannerie

Bordering the park of the castle Launay-Villiers was the Misedon Forest. This forest was the hideout of John Cottereau,said Jean Chouanand his men who took the name Chouans. Cottereau and his companions had revolted on 15 August 1792 against the revolutionaries in Saint-Ouen-des-Toits. Since they had organized various helping hands against the Patriots. There is no evidence that La Rouërie and John Chouan had met, or that he had been recruited by the Association, but La Rouërie remained for three months Launay-Villiers until early in September. La Rouërie might ignore the disturbances that shook the Mayenne at that time.[13]

At this time in Bourgneuf-la-Forêt, there was a battle between the Chouans the revolutionaries. They were beaten with loss of 18 dead. The sources reported that an unknown royalist appeared suddenly during the battle, took command of Chouans and would be withdrawn once the victory gained. Although this story appears in part legendary, and magnified by the royalist authors, the presence near the head of the Breton Association did think that the man in question could be La Rouërie.[14]

La Guyomarais

Meanwhile, la Rouerie, an outlaw, wandering in the countryside of Brittany, as Claude Basiri later wrote:

La Rouerie had not lost anything of his fervor. This indefatigable conspirator, resting rarely ran from castle to castle, committee to committee to revive hopes. Constantly wandering in the forests or the hills, still armed, he never took the battered roads, and often spent the night in caves, inaccessible to others, at the foot of an oak tree, or in a ravine. All were good hiding places for him, and he never does stay twice in the same place. One can imagine the difficulty to deal with a man so wise, that he was fearless.[15]

He had adopted the false name of Gasselin and was accompanied by only Loaisel Fricandeau, his secretary, and Saint-Pierre, one of his servants.

The 12 January 1793, after galloping around the forest of La Hunaudaye, la Rouerie and his two companions went to seek refuge near GuyoMarch The castle, which belonged to the family of the same name in the parish of Saint-Denoual. It had snowed that day, and Saint-Pierre was suffering from fevers.

Monsieur de La Guyomar was a member of the Association and had already hosted la Rouerie three times during the previous month. They were housed in a room of the castle, but the state of Saint-Pierre is not improving. The next day, Loaisel Morel fetched a surgeon at Plancoët. On January 18 Saint-Pierre was healed, but the la Rouerie in turn fell ill on January 19.[16] The recalled Guyomar Dr. Morel, then as a precautionary measure, sent for Dr. Taburet of Lamballe. Suffering from chills, and severe coughing, he actually had pneumonia.

On January 24, the National Guard of Lamballe made a raid on the castle of GuyoMarch Alerted by a neighbor, La Guyomar hid the marquis at the Gouhandais, a farm, located some hundred meters from the castle. The Republicans did not discover anything, but this treatment could not improve the health status of la Rouerie.[17]

The next day, Schaffner and Fontevieux came to GuyoMarch They brought with them a newspaper from which they had learned of the execution of Louis XVI on January 21. But the partners decided not to disclose the death of the King to the Marquis, saying that this would aggravate the fever. In spite of the episode of the previous evening, they maintained hope for his recovery. La Rouerie, however, asked to read the newspaper, because he wanted news of the trial of the king. It was his servant Saint Pierre who asked, but the Marquis sensing perhaps that he was hiding something, asked Saint Pierre to fetch him a drink. He left the newspaper in the room, which La Rouerie read, and learned the death of Louis XVI.[18]

La Rouerie then had a crisis of delirium, he jumped out of bed, dressing, said he would leave, but collapsed totally weakened. For three days, he lay dying, alternating between prostration, delirium, and unconsciousness.[19] A third doctor, Lemasson, was dispatched but cound not do anything.

La Rouerie died on 30 January 1793, at four thirty in the morning.[20]

End of the Association

From the reports of Chevetel, Lalligand did arrest several members of the Breton conspiracy. He also discovered papers buried by Désille. But most associates avoided detection, because Thérèse de Moëlien burned the list of members of the Association, shortly after the death of la Rouerie.

A total of 27 Lalligand prisoners were led to Paris to be judged. The trial opened on 4 June 1793, and ended on 18 June 1793. At the end of the trial thirteen defendants were acquitted, two were sentenced to deportation, and the gardener Perrin, and the doctor Lemasson who sent to Bicêtre, were executed 26 June 1794 at the Prisons of the Reign of Terror.,[21] Twelve others were sentenced to death: Mr. and Mrs. La Guyomar, Louis du Pontavice the Chauvin, Madame de la Flonchais, Morin de Launay, Locquet Granville Jean Vincent, Groult La Motte, of Limoëlan Picot, Georges de Fontevieux and Thérèse de Moëlien.[22] They were all executed on the same day.


  1. Pronounced "La Rouarie" and not "La Rouérie".
  2. Bazin, p.169
  3. 3.0 3.1 National Archives, W.274
  4. The father of Antoine-Joseph-Marc Désilles, killed at the Case of Nancy. Bazin, p.232.
  5. Lenôtre, p.89
  6. Bazin,op. cit. p.176
  7. Bazin, p.121
  8. Bazin,op. cit.p.247
  9. Bazin,op. cit., p.247-248
  10. Lenôtre Breton,op. cit., p. 66.
  11. Bazin,op. cit.p.245
  12. Journal of Brittany collection Jacques Marseille, published by Oxford University Press, 2003, P. 67
  13. Bazin, p.195
  14. Bazin, p.196-197
  15. Bazin,op.cit.P.211
  16. Lenôtre, p.209
  17. Lenôtre, p.211
  18. Lenôtre, p.218
  19. Bazin, p.220
  20. Lenôtre, p.220
  21. Theodore Lemas (1894). The District of Ferns during the Wars of the West and the Chouannerie 1793-1800. Rue des Scribes Editions. p. 20. 
  22. Lenôtre, p.361

External links

  • "Armand Tuffin de La Rouërie", in Louis-Gabriel Michaud, Biographie universelle ancienne et moderne : histoire par ordre alphabétique de la vie publique et privée de tous les hommes avec la collaboration de plus de 300 savants et littérateurs français ou étrangers, 2nd edition, 1843–1865


  • Charles-Armand Tuffin, Marquis de la Rouërie, Chef de la conjuration bretonne. Généalogie, Notes, Documents et papiers inédits. Une Famille bretonne du XIIIe. J.Pilhon et L. Hervé, Libraires - Rennes - 1899. Par P.Delarue.
  • Le Marquis de la Rouërie et la Conjuration bretonne. G. Lenôtre. Librairie Académique Perrin, 1927
  • Le marquis de la Rouerie "Colonel Armand " de la guerre américaine à la conjuration bretonne Christian Bazin .Perrin .1990
  • Le Colonel Armand Marquis de la Rouërie . Job de Roincé .Editions Fernand Lanore . 1974.
  • Colonel Armand, Marquis de la Rouërie Hervé Le Bévillon. Editions Yoran Embanner.2006.
  • François-René de Chateaubriand,Mémoires d'outre-tombe.
  • Jean François de Chastellux,Voyages of M. le Marquis de Chastellux in North America in the years 1780, 1781 and 1782(1786) (reissue: Tallandier, Paris 1980)
  • Theodore Lemas (1894). The District of Ferns during the Wars of the West and the Chouannerie 1793-1800. Rue des Scribes Editions. 
  • G. Lenotre,The Marquis de La Rouer, conspirator, 1895
  • Toussaint du Breil de Pontbriand (1897). Memory Colonel Pontbriand. Plon edition, Paris. 
  • Paul Delarue,Charles Armand Tuffin, Marquis de la Rouer, leader of the conspiracy Breton. Genealogy, notes, documents and unpublished papers. A Family of Brittany. J. and L. Pilhon Hervé, Booksellers, Rennes, 1899
  • G. Lenotre,an agent of Princes during the revolution: the Marquis de La cunning and conspiracy Breton (1790–1793), Perrin, Paris, 1899
  • G. Lenotre (1927). The Marquis of Rouërie and Conjuration Breton.. Perrin. Lenôtre. 
  • Job Roincé (1974). Colonel Armand Marquis of Rouërie. Roincé. 
  • Christian Le Bouteiller (1989). The Revolution in the Pays de Fougères. Société archéologique et historique de l'arrondissemnet Fougères. 
  • Christian Bazin (1990). The Marquis of Rouërie "Colonel Armand" the American war in the conspiracy Breton. Perrin. Bazin. 
  • Jurame Ghislaine (1991). The Rouërie, the Revolution in Britain. Jurame. 
  • Philippe Carr (2005). The UK and the American War of Independence. Les Portes du Large. Carrer. 

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