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Lecture: “a la Françoise” — French Military Dress in America, 1780-82

May 6, 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

A Newport Historical Society Virtual Lecture Presented by Dr. Matthew Keagle

The last time many Rhode Islanders had seen French troops was on the other side of the battlefields of the French and Indian War. Since their catastrophic defeat in that war, the French military undertook a comprehensive series of reforms, affecting everything from warship design to the buttons of soldier’s uniforms, which dramatically altered the army’s appearance. Under the Comte de Rochambeau’s leadership, the forces that arrived in Newport in 1780 represented more than just a new chapter in American military history. The uniforms of what Washington called “the first Troops in Europe,” were a revolution in military dress, the result of nearly two decades of intensive reform across the Atlantic, and a striking departure from what New Englanders had faced during the last war.

On Thursday May 6, 2021 at 5pm Dr. Matthew Keagle, a former Adjunct Curator for the NHS who now serves as the Curator at Fort Ticonderoga Museum, will highlight the intricate details of French uniforms during the virtual talk “a la Francoise”: French Military Dress in America, 1780-1782. Dr. Matthew Keagle, who is also a former NHS Buchanan/Burnham Fellow, studies the material culture of the early modern military, and has researched and spoken widely in the US, Canada, and Europe, with an emphasis on military dress in the long 18th-century.

While this virtual talk is free, space is limited and registration is required. Please email esulock@newporthistory.org to reserve a spot. This event is part of the Newport Historical Society’s 2021 series featuring the French Presence in Newport during the Revolutionary War which includes walking tours and a living history event along with virtual programming.


May 6, 2021
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
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Newport Historical Society