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[1735 Louisiana Campaign Document commending the Pilot of the “La Charente” on its voyage to New Orleans].
[1735 Louisiana Campaign Document commending the Pilot of the “La Charente” on its voyage to New Orleans].
[1735 Louisiana Campaign Document commending the Pilot of the “La Charente” on its voyage to New Orleans].

[1735 Louisiana Campaign Document commending the Pilot of the “La Charente” on its voyage to New Orleans].

A supply expedition from France to New Orleans with an expert pilot at the helm


French colonial manuscript document concerning a supply expedition to New Orleans commanded by Count Louis-Philippe de Rigaud de Vaudreuil (1691–1763). A naval lieutenant, de Vaudreuil was the son of the Marquis de Vaudreuil, Philippe de Rigaud de Vaudreuil (c.1643–1725), Governor General of New France (Canada and the Mississippi Valley including New Orleans) from 1703 to 1725.

Here, Lieutenant de Vaudreuil commends the navigation skills of ship pilot Bernard Cosse who guided the armed transport ship La Charente from Haiti to New Orleans. Cosse received de Vaudreuil’s commendation when the ship returned to Rochefort, an important port and overseas supply depot for the French colonies in North America and the Caribbean. In full:

Nous Lieutenan Des vassaux Du Roy comandant la flute Du Roy La Charente certifions aqui il après rendres que Bernard Cosse pilotte en retourne a fait La Campagne De la Louisianne avec moi sur le dit vesseau [vaisseau] en qualite de premier Pilotte qu’il s’est parfaitement aquitté des son estat qu’il conoit tres bien les postes Depuis St. Domingue jusqu’a la nouvelle orlean et mesure Les couran comme je ley Remarqué surtout Dans le Débouquement Du Canal De Baham enfin que lestun. Très bon sujet qui mérite Les Graces Du Roy. fait a Rochefort le 12 Juillet 1735 Le Comte Devaudreuil {Later docket on verso in pencil: “Vaudreuil Marin” i.e. Vaudreuil the sailor}

{Translation} We, Lieutenant of the King’s vessels [navy] commanding the King’s flûte [transport ship] “La Charente” certify to whom it concerns that Bernard Cosse pilot in return made the Louisiana Campaign with me on the said vessel as the first pilot [and] that he acquitted himself perfectly in his office [and] that he knew very well the [navigating] positions from St. Domingue [Haiti] to New Orleans and measured the currents as I [would?], noticed especially in disembarking the Bahama channel, [and] finally loading [cargo]. That this very good subject deserves the graces of the King. Done at Rochefort on July 12, 1735 Le Comte Devaudreuil.

From his youth, Lieutenant de Vaudreuil held important naval appointments. From 1713 to 1725 (when his father, the Governor General died) he participated in transport missions between France and Canada. In 1731 he served in the West Indies. From 1734 to 1735 he commanded La Charente when it sailed for Île Royale (Cape Breton Island) and (as seen here) to the Caribbean and New Orleans. By 1753 he was promoted to vice-admiral and was naval commander at Rochefort.

A very early document connecting an expedition to New Orleans and tied to the prominent de Vaudreuil family of colonial Louisiana and New France.


Description: [1735 Louisiana Campaign Document commending the Pilot of the “La Charente” on its voyage to New Orleans].

[Rochefort {France}, July 12, 1735]. [1]p. Autograph Document. 7¼ x 9½ inches. Laid paper; partial watermark. Folds and faint creasing; a few minor closed tears at edges; very good.

[3731233]

Ref. Dictionary of Canadian Biography accessed online. Notes:  Count de Vaudreuil’s brother, Pierre de Rigaud de Vaudreuil de Cavagnial (1698–1778), was governor of French Louisiana from 1743 to 1753 and the last governor general of New France. The ship La Charente, under a different commander, delivered de Cavagnial to New Orleans in 1743. Lieutenant de Vaudreuil’s son, Louis-Philippe de Rigaud (1724–1802) was second in command of French naval forces in America during the Revolutionary War, serving under Admiral de Grasse.


Price: $1,500.00