Admiral Francois Joseph Paul de Grasse-Rouville, Comte de Grasse
Plaque dedicated to Mrs. Emma Leake Chenoweth. Property of Compte de Grasse Chapter.
Custom House aerial view showing garden. Photo by Comte de Grasse Chapter NSDAR.
Mrs. Emma Leake Chenoweth, Founding Regent, Comte de Grasse Chapter NSDAR
SAR plaque dedicated to Comte de Grasse. Property of Comte de Grasse Chapter.
Plaque mounted on the Custom House outlining history. Property of Comte de Grasse Chapter.

Comte de Grasse married Antoinette Rosalie Accaron in 1764 and they had six children who survived to adulthood, among them his eldest son Alexandre Francois Auguste de Grasse.

Auguste had a career in the French army and inherited his father’s title as Count in 1788. Admiral de Grasse died on January 11, 1788, in Paris, France.

Comte de Grasse was the French Admiral who won the Battle of the Capes, stopping the British navy from reinforcing Yorktown, and ensured Cornwallis’ surrender and the end of the American War for Independence. De Grasse made the important decision to bring his fleet and troops to Virginia rather than New York as General George Washington first planned. General Rochambeau was in favor of bringing the base of the attack to Chesapeake Bay and de Grasse agreed. This strategic decision sealed Cornwallis’ fate as de Grasse defeated Admiral Thomas Graves in the Battle of the Capes in early September.

On October 19, 1781, 25 British warships and 7,000 troops set sail for Virginia to rescue Cornwallis, but they were too late. Cornwallis had already asked for terms and had surrendered his army that very day. The French government was an important part of the defeat of the British in our bid for independence.