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Philippe Regis Denis de Keredern de Trobriand

By John T. Marck

Philippe de Trobriand was born outside Tours, France on June 4, 1816, at the Loire chateau of his father. Philippe as educated in Paris, graduated from the College de Tours, and went on to receive a degree in law from the Poitiers in 1837.

In 1841, de Trobriand came to the United States, and during a tour of America, met and became engaged to Mary Mason Jones, a New York heiress. Two years later in 1843, they were married in Paris, and settled in Venice, Italy. In 1847, the couple returned to the U.S., settling in New York. While here, de Trobriand worked as the editor to the Revue de nouveau monde from 1849 to 1850, and contributed his writings to the Le courrier des Etats Unis. When the Civil War began in 1861, he volunteered and became a colonel in the Gardes Lafayette, a Franco-American unit attached to the New York Militia.

During the war, Philippe was a gallant and inventive officer, who took part in the campaigns of the Army of the Potomac. He first commanded brigades during the Peninsula Campaign, then went on to command at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. It was de Trobriand who held the center of Major George E. Pickett's Union line at the Peach Orchard at Gettysburg.

When Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House, de Trobriand was present, being promoted to major general that same day. After the war, in July 1866, he was commissioned a colonel in the Regular Army. However, he was in Paris at the time of this commission, so he remained there to finish writing his book titled: Quatre ans a l'armee du Potomac. This book resulted in a two volume set, published in 1867-1868. Upon his book being translated into English, it won high praise.

Returning to America, he again served in the army in the Dakotas, Montana, Wyoming and Utah. These duties were distributed between the U.S. and frequent duties in France. In 1874, his cousin died, so he succeeded to the title of count.

During the last week of Reconstruction, he again held an army command in Louisiana. Retiring from the military in 1879, he made his home in Louisiana. Philippe de Trobriand died in Bayport New York on July 15, 1897.

Copyright 1993-2022 by John T. Marck. All Rights Reserved. This article and their accompanying pictures, photographs, and line art, may not be resold, reprinted, or redistributed for compensation of any kind without prior written permission from the author.