Chevalier de Monteil logbook  1776-1787 (bulk 1781-1782)
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Chevalier de Monteil logbook is a single oversize volume of logs, four letters, and two commissions. The letters and commissions are laid into the volume.

The logbook contains Monteil's notes for the period of May 20, 1781, to March 21, 1782. Monteil wrote on the outside cover of the logbook that the volume comprises day-to-day accounts from onboard the ships Palmier , Languedoc , Ardent , Neptune , and Aigrette . The logs record such information as the ship's position, the weather, and conditions onboard, including the growing number of illnesses as stores became scarcer. They also document sightings of other ships at sea, both foreign and French; Monteil complained that it was often difficult to distinguish enemy mastheads (August 7, 1781 and September 5, 1781). The logbook provides information on only one significant engagement with British forces, which occurred January 26-28, 1782, and ended in a stand-off.

Laid into the logbook are two royal commissions and four letters. Of the four letters contained within the collection, Monteil wrote three, including one to his cousin (April 21, 1778) and one to Admiral Francois-Joseph-Paul de Grasse, commander of the French fleet (September 23, 1781). In the letter written to de Grasse, Monteil declined a request de Grasse had made to use one of his vessels for an expedition, citing his health and his desire to return home. De Grasse responded in a letter of September 28. Monteil wrote the final letter, dated March 8, 1786.

The two commissions from Louis XVI of France are dated June 1776; they assign Monteil as captain of the Renommée for service to Haiti. The documents order Monteil to lead a seven-month campaign to Haiti in order to provide protection to French vessels and prevent English traders from reaching Haitian ports.

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