Lieutenant Colonel de Gimat
Gimat, Jean-Joseph Sourbader de. 1747 -
Jean-Joseph Sourbader de Gimat was born in Gascony, the son of a French military officer. He followed in his father's footsteps and became an ensign in the Regiment of Guyenne in 1761. He was well liked by his superiors but promotion did not come quickly. He had only achieved the rank of first lieutenant in 1776.
When the Marquis de Lafayette left for America, Gimat joined him as a member of his staff.. He was given the rank of major in the Continental army and continued to serve on Lafayette's staff. Gimat returned to France in January 1779, on an indefinite leave of absence and did not return to America until the next year. Gimat continued to serve on Lafayette's staff.
In February 1781, Gimat was given a command of his own. George Washington gave him command of a light infantry battalion which was in Lafayette's Division. He continued to serve with Lafayette during his 1781 operations in Virginia.
Gimat and his battalion served in Lafayette's Division at Yorktown. Lafayette chose Gimat to lead the American assault on Redoubt 10. However, for various reasons, George Washington replaced him with Alexander Hamilton. Gimat left the American army early in 1782 on another indefinite leave of absence. This time he did not return.
In August 1782, in recognition of his service in America, Gimat was promoted to colonel in the French army. He commanded a regiment on the island of Martinique and eventually became governor of the island of St. Lucia. Gimat was not officially discharged from the American army until November, 1783.
Did You Know?
Thomas Nelson, Jr., is one of Yorktown's most famous residents. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, served as Governor of Virginia in 1781, and commanded the Virginia militia during the 1781 siege of his hometown. His home still bears damage from the bombardment during the siege.