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First Name: Philippe

Last Name: DuCoudray

Birthplace: Reims, FRA

Gender: Male

Branch: Continental Army (1775 - 1784)

Middle Name: Charles-Jean-Baptist

Date of Birth: 08 September 1738

Date of Death: 11 September 1777

Rank: Major General

Years Served:
Philippe Charles-Jean-Baptiste-Tronson DuCoudray

•  Revolutionary War (1775 - 1783)


Philippe Charles-Jean-Baptiste-Tronson DuCoudray
Major General, Continental Army

Philippe Charles-Jean-Baptiste-Tronson DuCoudray was born on 8 September 1738 in Reims, France.

He was educated for the army and showed great promise as an engineer. A member of the Academy of Science, he devoted his writings to the use of artillery forwarding theories which led to controversy with the Marquis Antoine Baratier Saint-Auban and the Count de Buffon.

By 1776 he was considered a military expert, and he obtained the permission to go to America as a volunteer with the Continental Army. Silas Deane and Benjamin Franklin, the American agents in France, promised him a commission as Major General with Command of the Artillery. He arrived in May 1777 with twenty-nine officers and twelve sergeants of artillery in tow.

His promised rank became a bone of contention with officers over whom he had been promoted. Generals John Sullivan, Nathanael Greene and Henry Knox protested the promotion of a newly arrived French officer to a post above them; all three threatened to resign. As a compromise, DuCoudray was made Inspector General with the rank of Major General and assigned to command the works along the Delaware. In September, against advice, he remained mounted while he traversed the Schuylkill River at Philadelphia upon a ferry. The horse on which he was mounted was somehow spooked and panicked, falling overboard and dragged his rider with him. DuCoudray's Aide-de-Camp, attempted rescue, but the general drowned less than five months after his arrival.

Congress provided the officer with a funeral and attended his requiem mass on 18 September 1777 in St. Mary's Church. It was one of only four occasions where members of Congress appeared in an official capacity at Roman Catholic Mass during the Revolution. His grave within the burial yard of Saint Mary's Catholic Church was lost and its exact location is unknown.

Death and Burial

Major General Philippe Charles-Jean-Baptiste-Tronson DuCoudray died of drowning on 11 September 1777 in Schuylkill River at Philadelphia, PA. He is buried at Saint Mary's Catholic Churchyard in Philadelphia.


Honoree ID: 2440   Created by: MHOH




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