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LaVO: C'est la vie on the Delaware

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Bristol Borough had a distinctive French aura as the American Revolution raged in 1776.

Sieur D’Chambeau got a little confused during the early stages of the American Revolution. He was fighting on the wrong side.

The French military captain surrendered to American forces while defending a British fort on the frontier near Montreal in 1775. George Washington’s intercession a year later freed him from imprisonment — if you can call it that — in Bristol Borough. The captain had been among 20 French “officers and gentlemen” held as POWs in Bristol. They gave the tiny, mostly Quaker borough a decidedly French flavor.

More on that later.

The tale of Sieur D’Chambeau traces back to April 1775 after the Continental Army captured strategic British Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York. Next aim was Fort Saint-Jean on the Richelieu River at the northern end of Lake Champlain. The fort guarded Montreal 30 miles away. The ultimate plan was to seize the fort, Montreal and Quebec City, then add all of Quebec to the fledgling United States as the 14th state.

The American offensive to take the fort began in September with an army of 1,500 militiamen under the leadership of Gen. Richard Montgomery. After initial bombardment, Montgomery decided to starve the defenders into submission. The siege began on Sept. 18 and lasted........

© The Intelligencer