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Cambray-Digny, Louis Antoine Jean Baptiste, Chevalier de

Cambray-Digny, Louis Antoine Jean Baptiste, Chevalier De

CAMBRAY-DIGNY, LOUIS ANTOINE JEAN BAPTISTE, CHEVALIER DE. (1751–1822). Continental officer. France. From a Picardy family, he was born in Florence, Italy. An officer candidate in the French artillery in 1770, he was discharged (réformé) four years later for lack of a vacancy. Franklin wrote a strong letter on his behalf to Washington on 10 September 1777. Cambray-Digny arrived in North Carolina in February 1778 to improve coastal fortifications there. Governor Caswell recommended him to Congress for a commission, and Lafayette also endorsed him. On 13 June he was commissioned lieutenant colonel in Duportail's corps of engineers. During the Monmouth campaign he served with the main army. On 20 October 1778 Congress ordered him to Charleston but then sent him on temporary duty to Pittsburgh where, as Lachlan McIntosh's chief engineer, he directed construction of Fort McIntosh. On 2 February 1779 Congress ordered him to Maryland and North Carolina to gather military stores for the South. He reported to Lincoln on these activities and then took part in the defense of Charleston. In September the South Carolina legislature commended him for emergency constructions that thwarted Augustin-Prevost's May 1779 attack. Captured 12 May 1780 with Lincoln's army, he failed repeatedly to obtain Washington's intervention for an early parole in the summer of 1781 and again in the summer of 1782. He was finally exchanged on 26 November 1782.

On 30 October 1782 he was granted a year's leave in France and reached Brest in June 1783. He was breveted colonel in the Continental army on 2 May 1783 and honorably discharged on 15 November 1783. He served as a major of provincial troops and voted in 1789 for the bailliage of Montdidier. He retired to his chateau of Villers-aux-Erables in the Somme.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Lafayette, Marquis de. Lafayette in the Age of the American Revolution: Selected Letters and Documents in the Age of Revolution, 1776–1790. Edited by Stanley J. Idzerda et al. 5 vols. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1977–1983.

Laurens, Henry. The Papers of Henry Laurens. Edited by Philip M. Hamer et al. 16 vols. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1968–2002.

                          revised by Robert Rhodes Crout

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