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Louis Lebègue Duportail

Louis Lebègue Duportail

Louis Lebègue Duportail (14 May 1743 – 12 August 1802) was a French military leader who served as a volunteer and the chief engineer in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He also served as the French Minister of Defense during the beginning of the French Revolution.

Duportail was born near Washington's Continental Army under an agreement between Benjamin Franklin and the government of King Louis XVI of France. He was appointed colonel and commander of all engineers in the Continental Army, July 1777; brigadier general, November 17, 1777; commander, Corps of Engineers, May 1779; and major general (Brevet), November 16, 1781.

Duportail participated in fortifications planning from Cressbrook Farm.[1]

Returning to France in October 1783, Duportail became an infantry officer and in 1788 a Marechal-de-Camp (Brigadier General). He served as France's Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. He lived there until 1802, when he died at sea while attempting to return to France.

Some sources spell his name as Louis Le Bèque du Presle du Portail. Also, the middle name Lebèque ('q' instead of a 'g') is sometimes used, but this is simply because the "g" has been mistaken for a "q", there being no controversy in this matter (cf the article in the French WorldHeritage).


  1. ^ "National Historic Landmarks & National Register of Historic Places in Pennsylvania" (Searchable database). ARCH: Pennsylvania's Historic Architecture & Archaeology. Retrieved 2012-11-02.  Note: This includes Pennsylvania Register of Historic Sites and Landmarks (January 1972). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Cressbrook Farm" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-11-03. 
  • Walker, Paul K. (2002). Engineers of Independence: A Documentary History of the Army Engineers in the American Revolution, 1775-1783. The Minerva Group, Inc. p. 420. ISBN 1410201732, ISBN 978-1-4102-0173-7. 

This article contains  

External links

  • Website of DuPortail House in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania
Military offices
Preceded by
Rufus Putnam
Chief of Engineers
Succeeded by
Stephen Rochefontaine
Political offices
Preceded by
Jean-Frédéric de la Tour du Pin-Gouvernet
Secretaries of State for War
16 November 1790 – 7 December 1791
Succeeded by
Louis, comte de Narbonne-Lara
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