British Redoubt No. 9

IMAGES: Redoubt No. 9

   
 

 

       

 

 

       

Redoubt 9
“Anyone can imagine what happened once we were inside the redoubt. People of four nations were thrown together: Frenchmen, English, Scots, and Germans … the soldiers … were so furious that our people were killing one another: The French were striking down everyone in a blue coat. Since the Deux-Ponts wore blue, many of us were stabbed to death. Some of the Hessian and Anspach troops [German units in the British army] wore uniforms almost identical to ours, and the English wore red that in the dark of night seemed blue as well, so things went very unmercifully…”

Private Georg Daniel Flohr, Royal Deux-Ponts Regiment.

Baron Antoine de Viomenil had overall command of the French attack on Redoubt 9 which was defended by approximately 120 British and German forces. Viomenil selected Colonel en Second Guillaume des Deux-Ponts to head the 400-man assault column from the Gatenais unit and the German re-cruited Royal Deux-Ponts Regiment.

The French approach was delayed as pioneers (engineering troops) cleared obstructions protecting the British perimeter. Darkness, the chaos of close-quarter combat and the confusion of German commands coming from both attackers and defenders compounded the difficulties of the assault. Within 30 minutes however, Viomenil was congratulating Deux-Ponts on taking the redoubt.

The last obstruction to the Allies completing their Second Siege Line had fallen.

(Yorktown Battlefield Marker)

       
       

 

EVENTS  
 

The War of the Revolution, Vol II, by Christopher Ward (New York, 1952), p.892. A succinct overview by a prominent American historian. Webpage editor's comments are in angle brackets.

At eight o'clock the French advanced in columns by platoons, 58 chasseurs, carrying scaling ladders and fascines to fill the ditches in the van.

A strong abatis had to be forced, and a number of men fell before the pioneers cut through it.

Then the chasseurs dashed upon the redoubt and began mounting the parapet under a heavy fire.

A charge by the defenders was met by a volley from the French and a countercharge.

The Hessians threw down their arms, the French shouting "Vive le Roi!" The fort was won in less than half an hour of fighting.

   
BRITISH  

In Command

Killed/Wounded

Lieutenant McPherson

18/50

   
FRENCH Gatinois and Royal Deux-Ponts regiments (French chasseurs and grenadiers)

In Command

Killed/Wounded

Colonel Deux-Ponts

15/77

   
   
LINKS  
   
   
Rochambeau "The grenadiers of the regiment of Gâtinais, which had been formed out of that of Auvergne, were to lead the attack. . . . I said to them, `Mes enfants, if I should want you this night, I hope that you have not forgotten that we have served together in that brave regiment of Auvergne Sans tache, an honorable name that it has deserved ever since its creation.' They answered that, if I would promise to have their name restored to them, they would suffer themselves to be killed-even to the last man. They kept their word, charged like lions, and lost one-third of their number. . . ." Rochambeau (2), I, 294.
   
Geo Wash

BRITS - about 120 men - 18 killed, 42 taken prisoners (1 cap, 2 Lt.)

FRENCH - officers 2 killed/ 7 wounded - men 50killed, 127 wounded

Deux-Ponts FRENCH - 1 officer killed, 3 wounded - men 21 kiled or wounded Deux ponts, 56 killed or wounded from Gatenois
Flohr FRENCH - 41 killed, 41 wounded
best guest FRENCH 15 killed 77 wounded
Jean-Baptiste Antoine de Verger (1762-1851), a sublieutenant in the Royal Deux-Ponts regiment that took part in the 14 October 1781 assault on Redoubt 9 at Yorktown, translated by Howard C. Rice and was published with edited comments/notes in The American Campaigns of Rochambeau's Army, 1780, 1781, 1782, 1783, translated and edited by Howard C. Rice, According to the Mr. Rice, Verger began constructing his journal in December 1781 and ended doing so in January 1784. The portion of Mr. Rice's translation, from pp.141-143 of The American Campaigns of Rochambeau's Army, is quoted below.

 

14-15 October. Major general: Baron de Vioménil. Brigadier: M. de Custine. Regiments: Gâtinais, Royal Deux-Ponts. Auxiliaries: grenadiers of the Saintonge Regiment; chasseurs of the Bourbonnais, Agenois, and Soissonnais regiments. Night work party: 800 men.

The attack ordered on the two advanced redoubts of the enemy, one resting on the river, the other on its left, was executed at nightfall. The American light infantry, supported by two of their trench battalions, under the command of the Marquis de La Fayette, attacked the river redoubt [British No. 10] and captured it at bayonet point with the loss of 4 officers wounded and 20 men killed or wounded. The French troops were ordered to attack the other redoubt [British No. 9]. They debouched from the right flank of the American 5-gun battery and were posted in the following order: the grenadiers and chasseur companies of the Gâtinais [76] and Royal DeuxPonts regiments, commanded by Comte Guillaume de Deux-Ponts, second colonel of the latter, and Lieutenant Colonel de l'Estrade of the Gâtinais; the first battalion of the Gâtinais and the auxiliaries (grenadiers and chasseurs of the Soissonnais Regiment assigned to make a diversion from the left of our grand approach). The latter division, under the command of M. de Rostaing, colonel of the Gâtinais Regiment, was in support. The overall commander was the Baron de Vioménil, who debouched with the troops and led them in perfect order and absolute silence.

The enemy discovered the column early and opened a very lively musket fire upon it. We found their abatis in far better condition than we had anticipated, since much of our artillery had been battering the redoubt for several days. Ignoring the enemy fire and slashing those that resisted with their axes, our pioneers had opened passages for us through which the grenadiers and chasseurs of the Royal Deux-Ponts and Gâtinais regiments entered the fosses together with the aforementioned pioneers, who were still obliged to cut through several palisades to open the fraises of the redoubt. These same grenadiers and chasseurs took advantage of the openings to mount the parapet, where they formed up and soon forced the surviving enemies to surrender. Several, wishing to continue the fight with bayonets, paid with their lives.

We captured 3 officers and 40 men, after counting 18 dead. Another 120, under a lieutenant colonel, escaped. During the attack our loss in officers and men was about 80 killed or wounded.[77] The enemy at once commenced a lively cannonade on the redoubt we had just captured, killing and wounding many men

The moment the redoubt was taken, the men cried "Vive le Roi!" which was echoed along our whole line. This the English took to be the signal for a general assault and rained on us a volley of musketry accompanied by quantities of bombs and shells from all their redoubts and batteries. Once