Vaudreuil, Pierre François de Rigaud, Marquis de

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Vaudreuil, Pierre François de Rigaud, Marquis de,

French Governor of Nouvelle-France (1755-60)

born November 22 1698, Québec, Canada

died August 4, 1778, Paris, France


Pierre François de Rigaud was born in Québec on November 22, 1698. He was the son of the Governor of Nouvelle-France, Philippe de Rigaud and of Louise-Élisabeth de Joybert de Soulanges et de Marson.

Pierre François de Rigaud entered military service as a captain in the Compagnies Franches de la Marine when he was still very young.

In 1733, Pierre François de Rigaud was appointed Governor of Trois-Rivières.

In 1742, Pierre François de Rigaud became Governor of Louisiana where he served from May 10 1743 to February 9 1753. He proved himself a skilled officer and capable administrator.

In 1753, Pierre François de Rigaud moved to France.

In 1755, just as the first engagements of the Seven Years' War broke out in North America, King Louis XV appointed Vaudreuil as Governor of Nouvelle-France. He was the first Canadian-born governor of Nouvelle-France. He arrived in Québec on June 23 of the same year.

Vaudreuil's leadership was questioned and some of his orders were ignored by high-ranking officials of the French army such as Louis-Joseph de Montcalm, who judged him to be "too Canadian." During his administration, Vaudreuil failed to contain the misappropriation of his intendant, François Bigot.

Although Vaudreuil held supreme civil authority in Canada and was technically commander-in-chief of all French forces there, he often clashed with Montcalm, the military commander in the field, who resented his oversight role. The two men grew to detest one another, much to the detriment of the French war effort. Vaudreuil had excellent relations with the Canadian militia and with the Indian tribes allied with France; Montcalm looked down on both, preferring to rely upon French regular troops and making poor use of irregular Canadian and pro-French Indian forces. Vaudreuil constantly sought to discredit Montcalm at the court and to intervene in military affairs.

In 1756, Vaudreuil ordered the successful expedition against Fort Oswego.

In 1757, Vaudreuil sent Montcalm with 8,000 to besiege and capture Fort William-Henry.

From 1758, he was on the defensive on all fronts.

In 1759, after Montcalm defeat to the British forces under Brigadier-General James Wolfe at Québec in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, Vaudreuil hurriedly retreated towards Jacques Cartier and authorized the surrender of the Québec.

In 1760, Vaudreuil was forced to surrender Montréal to Major-General Jeffrey Amherst on September 8.

Vaudreuil sailed back to France in British custody, and was briefly imprisoned, from March to May 1762, in the Bastille for his role in the loss of Canada. After an inquiry in 1763, he was exonerated and retired to his ancestral estate near Rouen, although the episode ruined his fortunes. He died in Paris on August 4, 1778.


This article incorporates texts from the article published by Wikipedia on Pierre François de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil-Cavagnal

Other sources

Canadian Encyclopedia Vaudreuil, Pierre de Rigaud de Vaudreuil de Cavagnial, Marquis de

Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec, Pierre de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil-Cavagnal

HighBeam Encyclopedia, marquis de, Pierre de Rigaud Vaudreuil-Cavagnal