Series 2: March of the French Army from Providence to Virginia, March 1781 - October 1781, 1781

2 portfolios

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information


Berthier's maps, numbering 111, are the most notable feature of the collection. They do not comprise an atlas or a series of separate items, but, rather, they are the consecutive record of that important and historic Revolutionary War military event, the overland march of the French Army under Rochambeau (joined by American forces at Philipsburg) from Newport to Yorktown during the summer and early autumn of 1781, and the return march of the French Army from Virginia to Boston the following year, July - December 1782. These were executed, presumably soon after the event, from information and sketches made on the spot while Berthier was accompanying Rochambeau's Army in America. The maps fall into two interrelated series: the first showing the French Army's camp sites on the southward march from Newport, Rhode Island, to Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781, and on the return march northward in the summer and autumn of 1782; the second showing the "itineraries" or daily marches of the Army (from Newport as far as Elkton, Maryland, in 1781; the daily marches for the 1782 northward journey are lacking among the Princeton papers.) Another set of Berthier's maps is preserved among the Rochambeau Papers in the Library of Congress; this set, although duplicating in part the Princeton set, is apparently less complete

Although Berthier's maps are the most spectacular part of these papers at Princeton, they cannot be fully appreciated without the accompanying textual material of his journal (1780-1783), which provides a detailed description and explanation of the routes covered by the maps. In addition, there are related manuscripts and documents, including a letter (1785) from Rochambeau, notes on the history of Virginia, and Berthier's journal of his later visit to Prussia (1783).


The documents and maps are arranged chronologically by packet/item number that continue (for the most part) the numbering begun in the previous series.

Collection History

Archival Appraisal Information:

No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information:

This collection was word-processed by Anna Bialek in July and August of 2005. Finding aid written by Howard Rice in 1957.

Access & Use

Access Restrictions:

The originals are restricted. Users are asked to use the online surrogates.

Conditions for Reproduction and Use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Credit this material:

Series 2: March of the French Army from Providence to Virginia, March 1781 - October 1781; Louis-Alexandre Berthier Collection, C0022, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

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Publication Note:

Descriptions for the maps have been taken verbatim from Howard C. Rice and Anne S. K. Brown, The American Campaigns of Rochambeau's Army (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1972), Volume 2. Leading numbers in the map titles correspond to numbers assigned to the maps by Rice and Brown; these numbers are used in their descriptions to refer to other Berthier maps. (The actual Princeton/Berthier number for the map is provided at the end of each description.) Gaps in the Rice-Brown numbers reflect the fact that they also draw from other sources in their work (i.e., also describe other maps). Measurements, in centimeters, give the size of the sheets.

France. Armée
Rochambeau, Jean-Baptiste-Donatien de Vimeur,‏ comte de,‏ 1725-1807‏