Jacques-Melchior Saint-Laurent, Comte de Barras

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Jacques-Melchior Saint-Laurent, Comte de Barras (1719–1793) was a French Admiral of the eighteenth century. He is best known for his service during the American War of Independence and especially during the Yorktown Campaign.

American War of Independence[edit]


In early 1781 Barras' French squadron was based at Newport, Rhode Island. His orders from France were to mount an expedition against Newfoundland. Barras was persuaded by the Comte de Rochambeau to instead go southwards and rendezvous with Admiral De Grasse, who had brought his French fleet from the West Indies. The series of events led to the surrender of a British Army at Yorktown.

The Saintes[edit]

The following year Barras served under De Grasse in the West Indies. Barras led a French expedition to capture Montserrat in February 1782. Later Barras participated in the Battle of the Saintes in the Caribbean Sea where Admiral Rodney's ships broke the French line. The British victory led to the failure of a Franco-Spanish invasion plan against Jamaica.


  • Bicheno, Hugh. Redcoats and Rebels: The American Revolutionary War. Harper Collins, 2004.
  • Grainger, John D. The Battle of Yorktown, 1781: A Reassessment. The Boydell Press, 2005.