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About Donatien-Marie-Joseph de Vimeur, vicomte de Rochambeau
Donatien-Marie-Joseph de Vimeur, vicomte de Rochambeau (1755 – 16 October 1813) was a French soldier, the son of Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau.
He served in the American Revolutionary War as an aide-de-camp to his father. In the 1790s, he participated in an unsuccessful campaign to re-establish French authority in Martinique and Saint Domingue. Rochambeau was later assigned to the French Revolutionary Army in the Italian Peninsula, and was appointed to the military command of the Ligurian Republic.
In 1802, he was appointed to lead an expeditionary force against Saint Domingue (Haiti) after General Charles Leclerc's death. His remit was to restore French control of their rebellious colony, by any means. Historians of the Haïtian Revolution credit his brutal tactics for uniting black and gens de couleur soldiers against the French. After Rochambeau surrendered to the rebel general Jean-Jacques Dessalines in November 1803, the former French colony declared its independence as Haïti, the second independent state in the Americas.
At the Surrender of Cap Français, Rochambeau was captured aboard La Surveillante frigate by a British squadron under the command of Captain John Loring and returned to England as a prisoner on parole, where he remained interned for almost nine years.
He was exchanged in 1811, and returned to the family château, where he resumed the work of classifying the family's growing collection of maps, which his father had begun. He also enriched the collections with new acquisitions, in particular ones contributed by the military campaigns of his son, Auguste-Philippe Donatien de Vimeur, who served as the aide-de-camp for Joachim Murat and was with Murat's cavalry in the Russian campaign in 1812.
He was mortally wounded in the Battle of Nations, and died three days later at Leipzig, at the age of 59.