George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major Christopher French, 15 August 1775

From Major Christopher French

Philadelphia 15th Augst 1775


Upon my arrival in this Province in Company with Ensn Rotton of His Majesty’s 47th Regiment, & Mr McDermot a Volunteer1 in order to join our Regiments we were (unknowing of Hostilities having been commenc’d) made Prisoners of War of which I make no doubt you have been inform’d.

As we are naturaly desirous to give our Friends the earliest notice of our Scituation we have, by permission of the Committee of safety wrote to them, which Letters I take the Liberty to enclose to you, with one for Genl Gage & another to Major Campbell who commands the 22d Regiment,2 to which I belong, open for your perusal, when I request they may be sent to General Gage in order to their being forwarded. I have the Honor to be Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant

Chris. French


Christopher French was major of the 22d Regiment of Foot, which arrived at Boston before him in July 1775. For an account of French’s capture on 12 Aug. at Gloucester, N.J., near Philadelphia, see Pennsylvania Committee of Safety to GW, 17 Aug. 1775, n.1. A long controversy ensued over the terms on which French and his companions were held as prisoners of war and about their exchange for American prisoners. French, who had been a captain in the 22d Regiment since 1756, was promoted to major in July 1772 but remained in a captain’s slot in the regiment until a vacancy enabled him to move up to the major’s position on 24 June 1775. See note 2.

1John Rotten was commissioned an ensign in the 47th Regiment of Foot on 28 Jan. 1775. His regiment, which had been stationed at Boston since October 1774, fought at Bunker Hill on 17 June 1775, losing several officers. The volunteer cadet was Terrence McDermot.

2Gen. Thomas Gage was colonel of the 22d Regiment, and John Campbell was its lieutenant colonel. Campbell served as major of the regiment from 21 April 1768 to 24 June 1775, when he was promoted to lieutenant colonel in place of James Abercromby who was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Christopher French replaced Campbell as major of the regiment.

Index Entries