Malmédy, Marquis de

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Malmédy, Marquis de

MALMÉDY, MARQUIS DE. Continental officer. He appears to have descended from an Irish family named Gray that settled in France. As a sous lieutenant of cavalry in the French army, Malmédy reached America in 1776 from Martinique and was breveted major in the Continental army on 19 September of that year. In December 1776 he was made chief engineer and director of defense works in the Rhode Island militia with the rank of brigadier general, largely on a recommendation of Charles Lee that included the warning, "You must excuse his heat of temper at times."

On 10 May 1777, two months after his services to Rhode Island were terminated by the arrival of Continental officers, he was given the Continental commission of colonel. Malmédy wrote to Washington complaining that this rank was beneath his merit and his former grade. In a blistering reply, Washington expressed his astonishment that the former lieutenant did not feel Congress had recognized his service in commissioning him a colonel. When Gates requested Malmédy's transfer to his forces, Washington replied that he was "glad" to approve the transfer.

Malmédy commanded a light infantry company on one flank of the American force at Stono Ferry, South Carolina, on 20 June 1779. After Gates's defeat at Camden, Malmédy was accused of spreading "poison" about Greene and calling for his dismissal. Before the Battle of Ninety Six, Greene sent him to the North Carolina legislature to obtain supplies and militia, a task with which he had difficulty. At Eutaw Springs, South Carolina, on 8 September 1781, Malmédy commanded the North Carolina militia, for which Greene commended his "great gallantry and good conduct" on the battlefield.

After refusing to carry dispatches to the governor of North Carolina, Malmédy appears to have been killed in a duel in November 1781. On 13 March 1782, Robert Morris directed the paymaster to pay $3,025 to his estate. Malmady, Malmedy, and Malmédy-Gray are variations of his name.

SEE ALSO Eutaw Springs, South Carolina.


Bartlett, John Russell. Records of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, in New England. 10 vols. Providence: A. C. Greene, 1856–1865.

Bodinier, André. Dictionnaire des officiers de l'armée royale qui ont combattu aux Etats-Unis pendant la guerre d'Indépendance 1776–1783. Vincennes, France: Service historique de l'armée, 1982.

Greene, Nathanael. The Papers of Nathanael Greene. Edited by Richard K. Showman, et al. 11 vols. to date. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1976–.

Lee, Charles. Papers of Charles Lee. 4 vols. New-York Historical Society Collections 4-7 (1871–1874).

                           revised by Robert Rhodes Crout