LOMBARD DE COMBLES (de Combes, Descombes), JEAN-CLAUDE-HENRI DE, officer in the French regular troops, engineer; b. 10 Dec. 1719 at Combles (dept. of Meuse), France, son of Jean-Adrian de Lombard, seigneur of Combles and king’s engineer, who died 11 Dec. 1733 from wounds suffered at the siege of Kehl (Federal Republic of Germany), and of Antoinette Hilaire; m. 24 Dec. 1744 in Palais, Belle-Île-en-Mer, France, Marie-Rose Périn by whom he had three daughters and four sons; d. accidentally in Canada 12 Aug. 1756.
Jean-Claude-Henri de Lombard de Combles was admitted to the engineer corps in 1743 and promoted captain in 1751, retaining his commission in the Régiment de Champagne, as was the custom. As king’s engineer of the fortress of Belle-Île-en-Mer in 1749, he established a plan for repair of the batteries, erection of walls to protect beaches that were too easily accessible, and building of massive walls able to support cannon. In 1752 and 1753 he drew up plans for the citadel of Belle-Île-en-Mer, and in 1755 he took part in the reconstruction of the quay of the town of Palais; during the latter year his wife died.
In 1756 Lombard de Combles and the engineer Jean-Nicolas Desandrouins* were sent to New France, to replace three engineers who the year before had been captured at sea by the British while on their way to Canada. As part of the staff of the Marquis de Montcalm, Lombard sailed from Brest in the frigate Sauvage, which carried Lévis*, and reached Quebec on 31 May.
He went two days later to Montreal, then on to Fort Frontenac (Kingston, Ont.), where he arrived on 24 June to take part in the operations against Fort Chouaguen (Fort Oswego). On 11 July he led 200 men to reconnoitre the British forts there, camping at Niaouré (Sackets Harbor, N.Y.). He completed his reconnaissance by 25 July, questioning also two British deserters about the strength of the garrison. On 28 July he returned exhausted to Fort Frontenac where he prepared a report for Montcalm and a sketch of Oswego showing the topography, the fort’s defences, and the possible routes for a French attack. On 4 August he and Desandrouins accompanied Montcalm’s force to the region, and on 10 August the two engineers were sent to reconnoitre Fort Ontario, one of the defences of Oswego. Lombard instructed Desandrouins not to accompany him to the forward area; when he himself was within some 240 feet of the fort, in fairly thick forest, a Nipissing ally, a chief named Hotchig (Aouschik), mistook him for a British officer in the dark and shot him. Desandrouins had his superior officer carried to his tent, but he died within half an hour.
Although he was in the country a short time, the loss of this engineer was evidently strongly felt by the French commanders. Lombard de Combles left “in poverty” six dependent young children and a brother and sister who lived in France. The king granted to the children an annual gratuity in recognition of the loyal services of their father.
AD, Meuse (Bar-le-Duc), État civil, Combles, 10 déc. 1719; Bas-Rhin (Strasbourg), État civil, Saint-Étienne de Strasbourg, 11 nov. 1733; Morbihan (Vannes), État civil, Le Palais, 24 déc. 1744. AN, Col., C11A, 101, f.350; C11B, 36, ff.268–70; Section Outre-Mer, Dépôt des fortifications des colonies, Am. sept., nos. 536–37. Archives de la mairie du Palais (dép. du Morbihan), État civil, 2 nov. 1745, 16 janv. 1747, 5 nov. 1748, 16 janv. 1750, 14 janv. 1752, 27 sept. 1753, 20 févr., 13 mars 1755. Archives du port de Lorient, lE4 46, ff.123–57; lE5 50, f.381; 4S2 27 C. CTG, Archives, art. 3; art. 8, carton 1; art. 15, sect. 3, pièce 3; Bibliothèque, ba 80 25; mss in 40, 121; mss in fol., 208b, no.40; 208e, no. 1. SHA, A1, 3417, pièces 22, 93, 95, 160, 209. Lettres du chevalier de Lévis (Casgrain), 9–12. NYCD (O’Callaghan and Fernow), X, 560, 564. A. M. Augoyat, Aperçu historique sur les fortifications, les ingénieurs et sur le Corps du Génie en France . . . (3v., Paris, 1860–64), II, 90, 503. C.-N. Gabriel, Le maréchal de camp Desandrouins (Verdun, 1887), 26–47.