Jacques Marcus Prevost

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Jacques-Marc Prevost
9th colonial governor of Georgia
In office
1779–1779
Preceded by Archibald Campbell
Succeeded by James Wright
Personal details
Born 1736
Republic of Geneva
Died 1781 (aged 44–45)
Jamaica
Spouse(s) Theodosia Bartow Prevost
Children 5, including John
Profession Army officer and governor

Jacques-Marc, Jacques Marc, James Marcus or Mark Prevost (1736, Geneva – 1781) was a British Army officer of Genevan origin. After being commissioned in Europe, he commanded troops of the British Army in North America and the West Indies, including during the French and Indian War, the North American front of the Seven Years' War.

Prevost was recalled to service during the American Revolutionary War, when he served briefly as British governor of Georgia in 1778 after the British occupied Savannah, Georgia. He also served more than once in the West Indies and died in Jamaica of wounds suffered earlier in the war.

Early life

Prevost was born in 1736 in the French-speaking Republic of Geneva to a family originally from Bossy near Geneva.[1] He had eight siblings, including elder brothers Augustine (born 1723) and Jacques Prevost (born 1725). The two elder brothers both served in the army of the King of Sardinia, who then ruled the Dutch Republic.

Seven Years' War

Jacques Marcus appears to have joined his two brothers in the military in the Netherlands. They were recruited and commissioned as officers by Great Britain for its new Royal American Regiment: Augustine received the rank of major, Jacques as a colonel, and Jacques Marcus as a captain. In the Thirteen colonies, Britain recruited German and Swiss immigrant settlers as soldiers for the Regiment after General Benjamin Braddock's defeat in 1755 in western Pennsylvania in the French and Indian Wars. Britain was threatened by war with France as part of the Seven Years' War in Europe.

The three Prevost brothers were sent as officers to North America in 1756. Jacques Marc was wounded at the Battle of Carillon in New York in 1758. Augustine was also seriously wounded that year, while serving with General James Wolfe's army near Quebec. The two Prevost brothers recuperated in New York City. Augustine served further with the Royal American Regiment, especially in the Caribbean, rising to lieutenant colonel.

After recovery, in 1761 Jacques Marcus traveled with Henry Bouquet, a Swiss colonel in the Royal American Regiment, to set up a British post at Presque Isle (present-day Erie, Pennsylvania). They intended to deter French troops at Fort Niagara. Prevost was next assigned to command a body of troops in New York City; after Britain defeated France and military activity was reduced, he was put on half pay.

Marriage and family

While in New York City convalescing, Jacques Marc had met Theodosia Stillwell Bartow. They married in Trinity Church in 1763 after the end of the war. They had five children together, including Augustine James Frederick Prevost (1765–1842) and John Bartow Prevost (1766–1825).

While he was away fighting for the British, Prevost's wife Theodosia formed a relationship with the ten years younger American politician Aaron Burr. She married him in 1782, soon after learning she was a widow. Burr adopted Prevost's five children. They had five children together, but only daughter Theodosia Burr Alston survived to adulthood, and she was lost at sea.

Northwest wars

Prevost's next assignment was to command a detachment of Bouquet's force at Fort Loudoun on the Pennsylvania frontier. He fought against Native American forces in the Muskingum River Valley of present-day Ohio, returning to Theodosia in New York in 1765.

Prevost went back onto half pay for several years. After his unit was posted to the West Indies in 1772, he returned to New York in 1773. By then the couple had moved to their Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey residence, called The Hermitage.

American War of Independence

At the outbreak of the American War of Independence, Prevost was a lieutenant-colonel living at home in Paramus, New Jersey. He and his elder brother, brigadier general Augustine Prevost, became stationed at St. Augustine, FL to help lead the Southern campaign for the British. Mark led The Battle of Brier Creek, a rout of the Americans that reversed their momentum and delayed the eventual outcome by a year. It led to the British capture of Savannah in December 1778, where Prevost was briefly assigned as British governor of Georgia, in succession to Archibald Campbell. Georgia was the only American state to be retaken by the British in the war. Sent with troops to Jamaica to put down an uprising in 1781, he died there that year of wounds suffered earlier in the war.

Curiously, while Prevost was in the South having success for the British, his wife Theodosia Bartow Prevost was at their home in New Jersey hosting George Washington and other leaders of the Continental Army. Guests at their home included James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and Aaron Burr. Burr, ten years younger than Prevost's wife, courted her in his absence and married her soon after his death in Jamaica.

References

  1. ^ Prevost (Prévost) (GE), in the Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  • The Hermitage Museum official website (Link to site updated 1 December 2015)
  • James Prevost's Military Career (Link to site updated 1 December 2015)
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