The Memoir of Lieutenant Dumont, 1715-1747
Translated by Gordon Sayre.
Jean-François Benjamin Dumont de Montigny (1696-1760) was the youngest son of a Paris magistrate, who was given a commission as a lieutenant in the French colonial military, and spent eighteen years in Louisiana. He witnessed the founding of New Orleans, battles with the Chickasaw and Natchez Indians, and finally established himself as a farmer. His manuscript memoir, held at the Newberry Library in Chicago, was published in French in 2008 and here in English translation for the first time. A picaresque narrative of danger and misadventure, it is among the most powerful autobiographies of colonial America.