Rochefontaine, Stephen | State Archives Catalog
Name: Rochefontaine, Stephen
Historical Note: Born near Reims, France, in 1755, Stephen Rochefontaine came to America in 1778 after failing to gain a position in the French Royal Corps of Engineers. He volunteered in General Washington's Army on May 15, 1778, and was appointed captain in the Corps of Engineers on September 18, 1778. For his distinguished services at the siege of Yorktown, Rochefontaine was given the brevet rank of major by Congress, November 16, 1781. He returned to France in 1783 and served as an infantry officer, reaching the rank of colonel in the French Army. He came back to the United States in 1792. President Washington appointed him a civilian engineer to fortify the New England coast in 1794. After the new Corps of Artillerists and Engineers was organized, Washington made Rochefontaine a lieutenant colonel and commandant of the new Corps on February 26, 1795. Rochefontaine started a military school at West Point in 1795, but the building and all his equipment were burned the following year. He left the Army on May 7, 1798, and lived in New York City, where he died January 30, 1814. He is buried in old St. Paul's Cemetery in New York.
Sources: "Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Rochefontaine". Portraits and Profiles of Chief Engineers.