13 May 1779
On 13 May 1779, soon after John Adams, American Commissioner to France, arrived at the Port of L’Orient, France, on board the Continental frigate Alliance, he and 16 other officers and gentlemen were given an elegant dinner by John Paul Jones at L’Epee Royal, a fashionable inn situated on the port’s waterfront. The dinner conversation, according to Adams, was not very instructive, but “we practiced the old American Custom of drinking to each other, which I confess is always agreeable to me.”
After the repast Adams was escorted by Jones outside the inn to view the commodore’s Marines. According to the American Commissioner, they were “dressed in the English Uniform, red and white,” instead of the green prescribed by Congress in 1776.
However, the Marines, particularly the officers, were wearing the proper uniform of a red coat with white waistcoat and breeches. They were members of the Infanrerie Irlandaise, Regiment de Walsh-Serrant, who had volunteered for service as American Marines on board the Bonbomme Richard. In the months following the Adams review, Jones and his Marines carried the war to Britain’s shores. On 23 September off Flamborough Head they met the two-decked Serapis of 44 guns and the Countess of Scarborough of 20 guns. Commanding a vessel hardly seaworthy, Jones and his seamen and Marines fought and won in little more than three hours one of the most desperate and bloody battles in American naval history.