Teissèdre de Fleury, François Louis

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Teissèdre de Fleury, François Louis

TEISSÈDRE DE FLEURY, FRANÇOIS LOUIS. (1749–before 1814). (Viscomte de.) French volunteer. Born at Saint-Hippolyte, Aveyron, he was a volunteer in the infantry regiment of Roergue starting 15 May 1768, had become a sous lieutenant by August, and was promoted to sous aide major on 5 February 1772. He was made First Lieutenant in 1777 and left for America with Tronson du Coudray. When Congress refused to employ Coudray and his officers, Fleury joined the army as a volunteer. In the affair of Piscataway, New Jersey, on 10 May 1777, he distinguished himself, and Congress commissioned him captain of engineers on 22 May.

On 3 October 1777, Washington appointed Fleury brigade major to Pulaski with the comment that he was "to be respected as such." Serving at Fort Mifflin as an engineer, he came into conflict with the fort's commander, Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Smith, whom Washington eventually ordered "to make the best arrangement." Because of what Congress termed his "disinterested gallantry," they breveted Fleury a lieutenant colonel on 26 November. During January and February 1778, Congress had hoped he would set fire to British shipping on the Delaware River, but he was not able to carry out his project. This plan was interrupted by his desire to join Lafayette for the expedition to Canada; Fleury had sought to command a corps of French Canadians there, but Lafayette's Canadian campaign was cancelled later in February. In April 1778, in the absence of an army assignment, Washington sent Fleury temporarily as subinspector under Steuben to maneuver and discipline the troops of Brigadier General Smallwood. In June he was attached to General Lee's division but the following month was sent as Washington's representative with Hamilton to Estaing in Newport. As Fleury's furlough from the French army was running out, he requested Congress on 29 November to intercede directly with French minister Gérard, but Washington opposed congressional intervention with foreign powers. Washington again ordered Fleury to assist in battalion training in late April 1779.

Fleury's performance in the attack on Stony Point on 16 July 1779 eclipsed his other achievements. He was the first to enter and took its flag. When he requested the flag from Congress, it balked and voted him one of eight congressional medals bestowed during the nine years of the war. Hamilton even suggested that he become secretary to La Luzerne. Congress granted him leave on 27 September to return to France and commended him further on 1 October 1779, which caused him to delay his plans and to consider joining Estaing in South Carolina. He left for France shortly afterward. In response to a recommendation from Vergennes, he was promoted on 19 March 1780 to major in the Saintonge Regiment and in 1781 was made a chevalier in the Order of Saint Louis. Rushing to join his regiment, he asked Franklin to send the medal to his father and returned under Rochambeau to America. On 22 May 1780 Congress extended his leave to enable him to serve with the French forces, but in January 1781 it suspended his pay and benefits during his absence from the American army. He returned as a major in the Saintonge regiment of Rochambeau's army and distinguished himself at the siege of Yorktown. In October 1782 Rochambeau put Fleury in command of a French force stationed in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to repulse a possible British attack. Following his return to France in June 1783, Franklin presented him with a duplicate medal in gold on 15 August 1783.

On 16 January 1784, Fleury was appointed colonel of the Pondichéry Regiment and made commandant of Ile-de-France and Ile-de-Bourbon in 1785. In April 1790 he returned to France and on 30 June 1791 was promoted to maréchal de camp. On 30 April 1792 he was wounded in the retreat from Mons when he tried to rally the rear guard. His ill health forced his resignation on 24 June 1792, and he retired to Rebais. In 1799 he was living in Grenoble and appears to have died in Paris sometime before 1814.

SEE ALSO Estaing, Charles Hector Théodat, Comte d'; Fort Mifflin, Pennsylvania; Gérard, Conrad Alexandre; Hamilton, Alexander; La Luzerne, Anne-César de; Lee, Charles (1731–1782); Medals; Smallwood, William; Steuben, Friedrich Wilhelm von; Stony Point, New York.


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                          revised by Robert Rhodes Crout

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