PETIT DE LEVILLIERS, CHARLES (the name is sometimes written Lynvilliers, Linvilliers, L’Invilliers or Livilliers, but he signed himself Levilliers, and on a few occasions de Coulanges de Levilliers), officer in the colonial regular troops, b. towards 1660 at Marigny-en-Arxois in the bishopric of Soissons, d. 1714 in Montreal.
He was the son of Robert Petit de Levilliers and Élisabeth Berruyer. He followed a military career, beginning as a midshipman in 1683. In 1687 he went to New France as an ensign in the colonial regular troops, and on 24 September of that year showed great bravery in saving a Basque officer called Amiconti in a combat with Indians. Levilliers received his commission as a half-pay lieutenant in 1690. The next year he fought in the action at La Prairie de La Magdeleine, when a surprise attack was made on the fort by a large raiding party from New York under Peter Schuyler on the night of 10 August. Finding the French on the alert, Schuyler withdrew his militia and Indians, but encountered a second French force in his rear. The French lost 40 men, including four officers.
In 1692 Petit de Levilliers was promoted half pay captain. He was described as a “good officer, brave man, a bit hot-headed.” In January of the next year, he took part in an operation against the Mohawks around Fort Orange, under Nicolas d’Ailleboust de Manthet, Augustin Le Gardeur de Courtemanche, and Robutel de La Noue. On 24 Aug. 1694 he married in Montreal Madeleine Gaultier, daughter of René Gaultier* de Varennes, the late governor of Trois-Rivières. A few days later he was promoted captain. The new couple seem to have taken up residence at Boucherville for some time; from 1695 until 1708, seven children were born to them there. Levilliers went in 1695 with the Chevalier Thomas Crisafy* to Fort Frontenac (Cataracoui, now Kingston, Ont.). He received one more promotion in that year, to sub-lieutenant in the navy. In 1696 he served in Buade* de Frontenac’s expedition against the Iroquois, taking part in the attack against the Oneidas led by Rigaud de Vaudreuil. About 1711 he moved to Montreal. He asked for a year’s leave in 1712, but the matter had not been decided when he died, on 30 June 1714.
Two of his sons served in Louisiana. Charles Petit de Levilliers was baptized at Boucherville on 19 June 1698. He followed the same career as his father and by 1720 was promoted lieutenant in the colony on the Mississippi. On 14 Jan. 1726 he married Étiennette-Louise Malbeque in New Orleans and the census of that year showed him living there. On 17 August he was promoted captain. He took part in the disastrous expedition led by Pierre d’Artaguiette against the Chickasaws in 1736 and, although wounded, survived [see François-Marie Bissot de Vinsenne]. He died on 1 April 1738 as a result of an injury received in a duel with a M. de Macarty (probably Barthélemy de Macarty Mactigue).
Pierre-Louis Petit de Levilliers de Coulanges was baptized at Boucherville 3 Oct. 1699. He served as a cadet in Canada and later followed his brother to Louisiana. On 26 Feb. 1731 he married Françoise Golard in New Orleans. On 25 March 1736, as a member of the Artaguiette expedition, he was captured by the Chickasaws and, with 16 of his fellow prisoners, was put to death.
AN, Col., C11A, 9, ff.104, 121, 147, 177; 14; D2C, 47, 222. “Correspondance de Vaudreuil,” APQ Rapport, 1947–48, 171, 225, 271, 287. NYCD (O’Callaghan and Fernow), IX, 550, 609, 655. Antoine Bernard, Histoire de la Louisiane (Québec, 1953), 156. M. Dumont de Montigny, Mémoires historiques sur la Louisiane (2v., Paris, 1753). Lanctot, Histoire du Canada, II, 165. Aegidius Fauteux, “La famille Petit de Levilliers,” BRH, XXXIV (1928), 478ff., 602.