Philippe-Charles-Jean-Baptiste Tronson Du Coudray
Soldier, b. September 8, 1738; d. September 11, 1777
Du Coudray, PHILIPPE-CHARLES-JEAN-BAPTISTE TRONSON, soldier, b. at Reims, France, September 8, 1738; d. at Philadelphia, U.S.A., September 11, 1777. He was educated for the army and showed great merit as an engineer. He was adjutant-general of artillery and considered one of the best military experts in France when, in 1776, he volunteered to go to America to assist the colonists in their revolt against England. Silas Deane and Benjamin Franklin, the American agents, promised him a commission as major-general with command of the artillery. This stipulation gave great offense to the officers already attached to the army when he arrived from France, in May, 1777, with twenty-nine other officers and twelve sergeants of artillery. Several of the more prominent threatened to resign. As a compromise he was made inspector-general August 11, 1777, with the rank of major-general, and assigned to command the works along the Delaware. On September 11, 1777, he was drowned while crossing the Schuylkill River at Philadelphia, the horse on which he was seated becoming frightened and dragging him overboard. Congress gave him an official funeral and attended his requiem Mass, September 18, 1777, in St. Mary’s church. This was one of the four occasions on which Congress was officially present at Mass during the Revolution, the others being the requiem on May 8, 1780, for Don Juan de Miralles, the agent of the Spanish Government, and the Te Deums on July 4, 1779, and November 4, 1781, all being celebrated at St. Mary’s, Philadelphia. Du Coudray was buried in St. Mary’s churchyard, but the grave is now unknown.
THOMAS F. MEEHAN