We are a living history organization devoted to the research and portrayal of French and other European soldiers who were part of the French military establishment and served in the American colonies during the American War for Independence. Through this unique hobby, we hope to educate the public about the important and critical role the French government and it’s military played in the final outcome of our fight for independence.
1977, being interested in history, I joined the Northwest Territory
by becoming a member of a British Loyalist regiment, the 84th Royal
Emigrants (a regiment made up of Scots living in America whose uniform
included a kilt in Black Watch tartan and the typical red coat).
Those who lived in America and remained loyal to the Crown during the
were called Loyalists (approximately 1/3 of the population were
another 1/3 supported the Continental Congress and the last 1/3 didn’t
care either way).
We were interested in European history and our own ancestry was mostly German with some French, Slovenian and other European nationalities. Also, because the European (not British or American) participation in the American War for Independence was our main interest, we first intended to form a German unit. George III, besides being King of Great Britain, was also the Elector of Hanover and many German princes agreed to supply him with regiments to augment his army in America. Because of this, there were many German regiments fighting on American soil on the side of Great Britain as auxiliaries. These regiments came from various German principalities, including Ansbach-Bayreuth and Hesse-Cassel (which is why they are all wrongly referred to as Hessians). After researching several German regiments and not finding what we wanted, we looked at the French since, like the Germans, most people did not know they had taken a principal part in the American Revolution.
His Most Christian Majesty, Louis XVI, King of France, signed an alliance treaty with the Continental Congress in 1778 and began supplying arms and equipment to the beleaguered colonials. Later in 1780, they sent the Expédition Particulière, a small army numbering about 6,000, under the command of the Comte de Rochambeau. Looking at the various French regiments who were part of this small army, one jumped out at us and that was Lauzun’s Legion. This unique organization within the French military was made up of soldiers from throughout Europe with an ethnic diversity ranging from France proper to the French-German border, from Russia to Italy, from Sweden and Poland to England. Translation of the roster shows that the majority of the men came from France and the French-German border areas.
The above logo is our own creation for non-authentic purposes. The logo shows both that we are a French unit (in the form of the fleur-de-lys) as well as part of the Navy (the anchor). It also shows our official French name, Volontaires-ètrangers de Lauzun. Our motto, “The Last Best Hope For Reenacting” denotes both our pride in the recreated Legion and the esprit de corps within the unit. Our other motto, “The Original French Foreign Legion” is, of course, a play on words but also tells everyone that the original Legion, like the later French Foreign Legion, was made up of men from all over Europe and whose main purpose was for service overseas.
Corporal Leslie Andrich
Adjutant Volontaires Étrangers de Lauzun