American Revolution and invasion
June 1775, October 1776
CLEMENT GOSSELIN AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR
Major Clément Gosselin (June 12, 1747 – March 9, 1816) was a French Canadian soldier who served in Moses Hazen’s 2nd Canadian Regiment of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He recruited other French Canadians, assisted in American operations during and after the Battle of Quebec, and, following the American retreat from Quebec in 1776, continued to serve in Hazen’s regiment. Included in that service were spy missions to the province of Quebec.
Born : June 12, 1747 / Sainte-Famille, Iles d’orléans, P.Québec. He was the youngest of a large family living in Saint-Famille, on the eastern side of Île d’Orléans east of the city of Quebec. At the time of the British invasion of 1759 Gosselin was twelve years old. (1763, End of Nouvelle-France)
Died : March 9, 1816 (aged 69) / Beekmantown, New York state.
7 years of service in the Continental Army (1775–1783) as a Captain and then Major for pension.
-Gosselin participated in the American attack on Quebec City on December 31, 1775, probably serving in James Livingston’s 1st Canadian Regiment.
-In March 1776 Gosselin joined Moses Hazen’s 2nd Canadian Regiment as a Captain.
-He took part in the Battle of Saint-Pierre on March 25, 1776, when 150 pro-American Canadians and 80 Americans defeated 150 pro-British Canadians recruited by Daniel Liénard de Beaujeu.
-When the Continental Army retreated from Quebec in May 1776, Gosselin went into hiding in Canada, not reappearing until August 1777, 15 months later.
-He was taken prisoner by the British in October 1777 and released eight months later in June 1778.
-In May 1778, he rejoined Hazen’s regiment with his father-in-law, Germain Dionne, and his older brother, Louis Gosselin.
-On November 28, 1778, Gosselin, following a spy mission to Quebec, sent a report on the state of the British force in Canada to Washington.
-In April 1779, he went with Moses Hazen to build a proposed invasion route from the « Coos Country » of northern New Hampshire (then part of the disputed New Hampshire Grants, which eventually became the state of Vermont) into Canada. Known as the Bayley-Hazen Military Road, it was never completed.
-In 1780, his regiment was sent to Albany to guard the frontier from Iroquois attack.
-After the arrival in July 1780 of the French Expeditionary Corps (6,000 men) commanded by General Rochambeau and the support of the French Navy Admiral de Grasse, his regiment and several others under the command of Lafayette receives the order to proceed to Yorktown in southern Virginia.
-In June 1781, he was in Fishkill east of the Hudson river, just below West Point. There his regiment received orders to proceed to Yorktown in the south.
-On October 4, 1781, he was severely wounded in the leg during the Siege of Yorktown, due to wood splinters sent flying by a cannon ball.
Movement of the COR Regiment
After the war
In January 1782 Clément was stationed in Lancaster (Amish country) Pennsylvania to guard prisoners captured at Yorktown. In 1783 he was discharged and given a Major’s pension. He was also given a land grant at Chazy, near Lake Champlain in New York State.
He was with General von Steuben in Newburg, New York, to receive his membership in The Society of the Cincinnati.
Media : Gosselin was featured in the CBC Television series Canada: A People’s History as one of a number of French-Canadians who not only sympathized with the American cause, but was willing to fight for them against the British.