Lévis, François-Gaston de, Duc de LévisFrançois-Gaston de Lévis, Duc de Lévis, French army officer (b at Château d'Ajac near Limoux, France 20 Aug 1719; d at Arras, France 26 Nov 1787). Lévis, probably the most capable officer sent to Canada during the SEVEN YEARS' WAR, was appointed brigadier and made second-in-command of the French regular army in Canada in 1756. Remarkably fair-minded, he avoided the bitter disputes between his commander, MONTCALM, and Governor VAUDREUIL. During the campaigns of 1756, 1757 and 1758, Lévis directed the defence of the Lake Champlain invasion route, joined Montcalm in the successful attack on Fort William Henry (Lake George, NY), and in July 1758 helped Montcalm repel the British assault on Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga, NY). He played a leading role in the defence of Québec until August when he was sent to protect Montréal from a British advance.
On learning that Montcalm was dead and Québec had fallen, Lévis assumed command. In his bid to retake Québec in April-May 1760, Lévis dealt James MURRAY a severe blow in the Battle of STE-FOY, but lacked the cannon for an effective siege and had to retreat when British ships relieved the defenders. Besieged in Montréal, Lévis hoped to make a last stand but was overruled by Vaudreuil, and the town capitulated September 8. After the fall of New France, he rose to maréchal, the highest rank obtainable in France, in 1783 and was created a duke in 1784.