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It is with great regret that I have to inform you of the loss of two of our finest officers of the legion. Just two days after the capture of the British army at Yorktown, it was made known to us that a group of British sailors and some Provincials had taken refuge at a nearby farm. The child of one of the ladies with whom we were familiar alerted us to the presence of these men.
Taking with us some cavalry (30) under the command of Lieutenant Jean LeCaire and Sergeant Moritz Koelsche and a force of infantry (48 men) under the able command of Captain Pierre Ducote, Lieutenants Phillipe LeCroix and Luc Maartin. We were to be joined by a local American company of Virginia militia under the command of one Captain Leroy.
Upon arriving at the outskirts of the farm, the cavalry was deployed in line, three ranks deep. The legion infantry was in column on the road. Lieutenant LeCroix immediately advanced down the road with two groups of infantry to discover more about the enemy's positions which he discovered to his detriment. It appears that the British have employed a new weapon that I have learned is a Ferguson rifle. An unsportsmanlike weapon that only such a crass people as the British would employ. Lieutenant LeCroix was under the direct fire of a group of 24 of the Provincials. Yet he held firm in spite of taking a wound while leading his men.
Captain Duote ordered Lieutenant Maartin to advance and support his comrade while moving the remaining group of legion infantrymen to rejoin LeCroix. Lieutenant Maartin also came under fire but was within range to exchange fire with the British.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant LeClaire moved his men to advance diagonally across the field. Half way in their advance, they too came under the fire from yet another formation of Provincial troops.
It was at this point that Captain Leroy and his Virginians arrived.
While the cavalry advanced, they lost three horses and two men. Then, Sergeant Koelsche informs me, that Lieutenant LeClaire's mount was wounded. The beast launched himself forward with the Lieutenant waving his men on as he recklessly charged a group of British sailors behind a makeshift bulwark. His men gamely followed the Lieutenant and crashed into the enemy. Alas the cavalry were already in a shaken state before the reckless charge. They were repulsed by the sailors. All but the Lieutenant. LeClaire continued through the sailors into another group that appear to have been working on a boat of some kind. The last that was seen of LeClaire was him valiantly fighting for his life. His body was later recovered. From what can be determined at this time, he was able to take one of the sailors with him.
The Virginia Militia were nearly ignored by the Provincials until they were quite literally on top of them. Captain Leroy's charge was brave but ultimately doomed. One group assaulted the sailor's position that the cavalry had just failed to defeat and another charged the fence line. The defending Provincials drove off both attacks with horrible casualties to the militia that nearly evaporated into the surrounding swamps.
Captain Ducote had joined with Lieutenant LeCroix and had begun to get the infantry fighting again when another volley struck down the valiant Captain. Our forces withdrew from the field in good order and waited for reinforcements before returning for our dead. By this time the British had fled Jenkin's Neck.