Pontault, Sebastian Beaulieu De

, an eminent French engineer, is considered as the first military | topographer, or rather as the inventor of that art, in the time of Louis XIV. It was his practice to follow the army, and construct upon the spot plans of the battles and sieges, with historical and perspective accompaniments. We find many of his plans in the “GEvre de Delle-Bella” but his most important work is entitled “Les glorieuses Conquetes de Louis-le-Grand ou Recueil de Plans et Vues des places assiegees, et de celles ou se sont donnee*s des batailles, avec des Discours,” 2 vols. folio. This work, one of the most magnificent of the kind, comprehends all the operations of war, from the battle of Rocroi, in 1643, to the taking of Namur, in 1692. De Pontault died in 1674; but the work was completed to the above date at the expence of his niece, the widow of the sieur Des Roches. This edition is usually called the Grand Beaulieu, to distinguish it' from one on a reduced scale, in oblong quarto, called the Petit fieaulieu, of which there are two series, one in three volumes, comprehending views of the actions in the Netherlands; the other in four, which includes those of France. From the death of this able draftsman, military topography is said to have been productive of very few good specimens in France, uptil within the last fifty years.

Perrault informs us, that Pontault went into the army at the age of fifteen, and behaved with so much spirit at the siege of Rochelle, that the king gave him the post of commissary of artillery, although then so young. He was afterwards present at most of the battles and sieges which he has described, and did not quit a military life until the loss of an arm and other wounds, with the approach of old age, rendered retirement necessary. 1

1 Biog. Unir. grt, Eejulieu. Perrault Lea Hommes Illustre*.