Pierre L'Enfant

Pierre Charles L'Enfant (1754 - 1825)

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Pierre Charles "Peter" L'Enfant
Born in Paris, Île-de-France, Francemap
Ancestors ancestors
[spouse(s) unknown]
Died in Maryland, USAmap
Profile last modified | Created 2 Aug 2014 | Last significant change: 15 Nov 2018
13:23: Nicolas LaPointe edited the Biography for Pierre Charles L'Enfant (1754-1825). [Thank Nicolas for this]
This page has been accessed 2,162 times.

Categories: Continental Army, American Revolution | American Notables | Prisoners of War, United States of America, American Revolution | Wounded in Action, United States of America, American Revolution.

Pierre L'Enfant served Continental Army during the American Revolution
Service started:
Service ended:

Pierre L'Enfant is Notable.
Pierre L'Enfant was a Prisoner of War during the American Revolution.
Wounded in Action
Pierre L'Enfant was Wounded in Action during American Revolution.

Pierre Charles L'Enfant, architect/planner of Washington DC, was a French citizen, born in Paris, France, who came to America to fight in the Revolutionary War. [1] According to Arlington cemetery article, Pierre arrived with Major General Lafayette.[2]He was one of the first French volunteers to enlist in the Continental Army in 1776. At the time of his enlistment he was a student at the Royal Academy of Painting & Sculpture in Paris. However, his passion for freedom & independence outweighed his love of art & led him to America. He served under General Washington at Valley Forge & caught the general's eye for his planning skills & tenacity.

His Revolutionary war service included: Captain, Corps of Engineers, 3rd April, 1779, to rank from 18th February, 1778. He suffered a serious leg injury when wounded at Savannah, 9th October, 1779. [3]He was taken prisoner at the battle for Charleston, 12th May, 1780 under Sir Henry Clinton, and later exchanged in New York, January 17, 1782. served to close of war. [4][3]

After the war Pierre designed houses in New York, was initiated into Freemasonry, but did not complete all of the steps. [5] He designed the badge for the former officers of the Revolutionary war, called "the Society of the Cincinnati." [6][7]

At the end of the war Washington promoted him to the rank of major in the Corps of Engineers. His subsequent work took him from from obscurity to become a trusted city planner for George Washington. " L'Enfant designed the city of Washington from scratch, envisioning a grand capital of wide avenues, public squares and inspiring buildings in what was then a district of hills, forests, marshes and plantations." His National Mall stretched a couple of miles of grassy area, with the Smithsonian on both sides, war monuments among the monuments for Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson. [8] While Jefferson's sketch was for a small federal town, L'Enfant came up with a grandiose design, placing Congress on a high spot as the point of interest, then Pennsylvania avenue would lead a mile down to the President's house, the "White House". [8] The design called for a "White House" much larger than it exists today. The streets were sketched in a grid.

Unfortunately, L'Enfant did not collaborate well with others and was often at odds with Thomas Jefferson and city commissioners regarding his plans for the city. These Commissioners and Jefferson wanted the funds to be concentrated on the buildings. Pierre's temperament as well as insistence that the construction should be done only according to his city design L'Enfant was "high-handed" in the removal of standing houses in order to build the boulevards, Example: removal of home of influential resident, Daniel Carroll. This handling of the clearing the standing houses to build the boulevards was the contentious point that led to dismissal. [9]This eventually led to his dismissal by Washington. [9] L'Enfant is credited with creating & implementing Washington DC's unique design.

L'Enfant attempted to obtain reimbursement for his services ($95,500). However the Washington city commissioners only released a small stipend to him ($3,800).[9]He had never married. He died in poverty and was buried at the Green Hill farm in Chillum, Prince George's County, Maryland.[2]

"He left behind three watches, three compasses, some books, some maps, and surveying instruments, whose total value was about forty-five dollars."[2]In 1909 at the urging of the French, L'Enfant's remains were exhumed. His body lay in state at the Capitol rotunda. Later, L'Enfant's remains were moved to the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, in a slab tomb on a hill beneath the "Arlington House".[2][10][4].

  1. http://www.historyorb.com/people/pierre-charles-l-enfant
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/l-enfant.htm
  3. 3.0 3.1 http://www.mountvernon.org/digital-encyclopedia/article/pierre-lenfant/
  4. 4.0 4.1 https://archive.org/details/jstor-40066726 "Maj. Pierre Charles L'Enfant, the Unhonored and Unrewarded Engineer"
  5. http://freemasonsfordummies.blogspot.com/2011/03/new-evidence-major-pierre-charles.html
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_of_the_Cincinnati
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Charles_L%27Enfant
  8. 8.0 8.1 http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/a-brief-history-of-pierre-lenfant-and-washington-dc-39487784/?no-istRead%20more:%20
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 http://www.britannica.com/biography/Pierre-Charles-LEnfant
  10. https://archive.org/details/jstor-40066726 Maj. Pierre Charles L'Enfant, the Unhonored and Unrewarded Engineer
  • Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army During the War of the Revolution
  • Alphabetical List of Officers of the Continental Army: L, Fifteenth Virginia, page 347, L'Enfant, Pierre Charles (France).

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Images: 4
Pierre L'Enfant - (Painting by artist Bryan Leister, based on a silhouette of L'Enfant and a pastel of the Major's father. It currently hangs in the District of Columbia Historical Society in Washington, DC.) link: http://freemasonsfordummies.blogspot.com
Pierre L'Enfant - (Painting by artist Bryan Leister, based on a silhouette of L'Enfant and a pastel of the Major's father. It currently hangs in the District of Columbia Historical Society in Washington, DC.) link: http://freemasonsfordummies.blogspot.com

Pierre L'Enfant Plan for Washington
Pierre L'Enfant Plan for Washington

Pierre L'Enfant Gravesite
Pierre L'Enfant Gravesite

Washington, DC - 1801
Washington, DC - 1801


On 19 Feb 2015 at 12:50 GMT Dale Byers wrote:

On 19 Feb 2015 at 10:22 GMT ShiraDestinie Jones MPhil wrote:

I have not been able to find documentation on the allegations that show L'Enfant in a far better light than usual:

http://dcswamp.blogspot.fr/2013/01/give-lenfant-break.html (unless the author of this web page cited sources that I have missed?) by same author? http://capitalslaves.blogspot.fr/2014/10/publication-date-for-my-book-is.html

I agree with Dale's src additions just above this comment.


On 11 Oct 2014 at 14:24 GMT Laura Valdez wrote:


Such a good profile. I love the photos.

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