This grave links Savannah with one of history's greatest naval dramas - the epic fight in 1779 between the "Bon Homme Richard" and "Serapis" in which John Paul Jones immortalized himself.Denis Nicolas Cottineau de Kerloguen received a commission in the Continental Navy during the American Revolution. Commanding the slow sailing "Pallas" during the famous naval engagement of September 23, 1779, Capt. Cottineau, by skillful seamanship, forced H.M.S. "Countess of Scarborough" to strike her colors. He was subsequently wounded in a duel with another officer, Pierre Landais, against whom Commodore Jones made serious charges after the battle.
Cottineau later settled in the French West Indies. During the slave insurrection in San Domingo he fled to Pennsylvania where he joined several fellow French refugees in establishing a colony. Suffering from a "lingering illness," he came to Savannah early in 1808. Capt. Cottineau died here, Nov. 29 of that year, at the residence of Abbe Carles. Cottineau's widow was the sister of the Marquis de Montalet who once owned the Hermitage plantation near Savannah.
In 1928 Ambassador Paul Claudel of France knelt in homage here at the grave of the gallant Frenchman who helped establish the prestige of the infant American Navy.