Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Chevalier de Monteil Logbook, 1776-1787

Finding aid created by
Caitlin Marineau, January 2011

Summary Information
Title: Chevalier de Monteil logbook
Creator: Monteil, Chevalier de, 1725-1787
Inclusive dates: 1776-1787
Bulk dates: 1781-1782
Extent: 7 items
The Chevalier de Monteil logbook contains daily descriptions of events that occurred while Monteil served as an officer in the French naval fleet during the American Revolution. Included with the logbook are several letters as well as two royal commissions from Louis XVI.
Language: The material is in French
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1949. M-733, M-930.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.

Preferred Citation:

Chevalier de Monteil Logbook, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The logs are all contained in a single volume and arranged by month. The four letters and two royal commissions are laid in at the beginning of the logbook.


François-Aymar, Chevalier (later baron) de Monteil, was born in 1725 in France. As a French naval captain during the Revolutionary War, Monteil was a member of the French expeditionary force to Haiti and of the combined legions of the French and Spanish in the waters off the French West Indies. He assisted the Spanish during the Siege of Pensacola in March to May of 1781, and then served under de Grasse during the campaign of 1782. He died in 1787.

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.

Subject Terms

    • France. Marine.
    • Naval battles.
    • United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Naval operations.
    • United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Participation, French.
    • Grasse, François Joseph Paul de Grasse, comte de, 1722-1788.
    • Louis XVI, King of France, 1754-1793.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Logs (records)
    • Military commissions.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    Chevalier de Monteil logbook,  May 20, 1781-March 21, 1782 [series]    [Note: Letters and commissions, 1776-1787, are laid into the volume.]