Rice, Howard C., and Brown, Anne S. K., translators and editors of The American Campaigns of Rochambeau’s Army 1780. 1781, 1782, 1783. Illustrated, two volumes, 713 pages. Princeton, N.J. and Providence, R.I.: Princeton University Press and Brown University Press, 1972. First edition, printed in Janson types. Housed in publisher’s hard slipcase. Dust jackets on both volumes near fine, volumes fine. Signed by photographer and author Elizabeth G. C. Menzies, who is given a credit in the text, Volume II, p. 149. Sold with an autograph “book-mark” note, signed twice by the author to Ms. Menzies.
Bruce Bliven, in his glowing review in The New York Times Book Review, November 12, 1972, called this two-volume book “a dazzling reminder of the American Revolution.” The text, in Vol. I, consists of journals kept by three of Rochambeau’s lieutenants, one of whom was Capt. Louis-Alexandre Berthier, Napoleon’s future chief of staff. This compilation of accounts comes from men who sailed to America in different ships, all writing literate accounts of their impressions of the expedition and their impressions of America, making their journals interesting as travel documentaries, with the attendant descriptions of people, fauna and flora, as well as pretty girls. Volume I is illustrated with the uniform sketches of Jean-Baptiste-Antoine de Verger, a talented watercolorist, as well as facsimiles of documents and manuscripts. There are three fold-out maps. No 162 folds out to almost three feet. Of much interest are the strip road maps, with a map of each day’s march. We learn that Rochambeau’s cartographer-engineers marched at the head of each column, and the sum of their efforts is a remarkable memorial to the French Army’s staff organization and work product as recorded in Volume II.