Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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LAUZUN, Armand Louis de Gontaut, Due de, French soldier, born in Paris, 15 April, 1747; died there, 31 December, 1793. In consequence of his having published a pamphlet entitled " L'etat de ddfense de l'Angleterre," he was given the command of an expedition against Senegal, Gambia, and other English settlements on the African coast, which he captured early in1779. Greatly reducedin pecumary resourcesthrough dissipation, hedetermined to join La-layette and enlist in theAtnerican army. Onhis arrival in the United States, he was warmly welcomed by the continental leaders, and given the command of a troop of 500 cavalry, which became know as "Lauzun's legion." , siege of Yorktown and in the attack on New York in 1781. His handsome face and fine figure, his talents, his wit, and his bravery won him the friendship of those who abhorred his profligacy. He returned to France in 1783, became Due de Biron in 1788, was a delegate to the states-general, and a confidant and secret agent of Philippe Egalite. On 9 July, 1792, he was appointed commander-in-chief of the Army of the Rhine. In 1793, on account of the machinations of secret agents, who incited his troops to insubordination, he laid his resignation before the committee of public safety. The latter refused to accept it, and appealed to his patriotism. He withdrew it for the time, captured Saumur, and defeated the Vendean army under the walls of Parthenay, but afterward insisted that he should be relieved of his command. Various charges, including that of being too lenient with the Vendeans, were then brought against him, and he was removed 'from his command without being allowed a hearing, imprisoned at Abbaye, brought before the revolutionary tribunal on 31 December. and condemned to death on the pretext that he had conspired against the republic. On the scaffold Lanzun professed to be thoroughly disgusted with life. A moment before his execution he said turning to his companions in misfortune: "All is over, gentlemen; I am about to start on the long journey." Then, handing a glass of wine to the executioner, " Take it," he said: " you need courage in prosecuting a trade like yours." See "Memoires de M. le due de Lauzun" (2 vols., Paris, 1822).
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