Constantin-Louis d'Estourmel

(1691-1765)




D'Estourmel, Constantin-Louis, naval officer; born 1691, son of Louis d'Estourmel and Marie-Aimée de Hautefort de Montignac; died 6 April 1765 in Paris, France.

          Constantin-Louis d'Estourmel, who was a knight, then a commander of the order of Malta, belonged to an old family from Picardy.  He joined the Marine as a midshipman at Brest on 30 April 1707 and enjoyed rapid advancement; he was promoted sub-lieutenant on 13 February 1709 and lieutenant-commander on 1 November 1712.  Six years later he became a knight of the order of Saint-Louis, and on 17 March 1727 he was promoted captain.  He participated in the two campaigns against the Barbary pirates in 1728 and in 1736-37.  In 1740-41, commanding the Parfaite in the squadron sent to the West Indies, he took an active part in the battle with an English squadron off Cap Tiburon, Saint-Domingue (Hispaniola), on 18-19 January 1741.

          Promoted rear-admiral on 1 January 1746, d'Estourmel was given command of the Trident in the squadron led by the Duc d'Anville [La Rochefoucauld], which was outfitted at Brest that year to undertake offensive operations against the British possessions in Acadia (Nova Scotia) and Newfoundland.  After reaching the coasts of Acadia in September 1746, the squadron was scattered by a strong gale.  D'Estourmel gathered together five warships and most of the transports and entered the port of Chebucto (Halifax, Nova Scotia) on 27 September, where he learned of the Duc d'Anville's death.  On 29 September a council of war made him commander-in-chief; it also decided to attack Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.  But, "either incapable of great deeds, or fearing failure, or because a misplaced delicacy kept him from asking someone to share with him a task for which he considered himself unsuited, finally despair, anxiety, and rage so possessed M. d'Estourmel, that during the night he attempted suicide... he was seized by a burning fever which quickly developed into a frenzy."  Believing himself surrounded by enemies, he seriously wounded himself with his sword.  On 30 September he handed his command over to rear-admiral La Jonquière [Taffanel] and returned to France.  On 1 March 1747 the king permitted him to retire from the service, but to retain his pay.  The only information we have about him after his retirement is that he died in Paris in 1765.

—  Étienne Taillemite, Conservateur en chef
Section ancienne, Archives nationales, Paris, France





Source: Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
Constantin-Louis d'Estourmel (the original article)
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