George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major Colerus, 1 May 1777

From Major Colerus

Philadelphia the 1h may 1777.

His Exellency

It is very unhapy, that with the sincerest desire to be useful to my Country, I see myself so forgotten. I flattered me, that deserving under your and General Lees eyes in the last campaign, and having conducted myself in the manner to deserve your and His esteem, I should be distinguished from the croud of the strangers, who I see every day loaded with honours and advantages, without having most other titles as those that they Appropriated them selfs, very few have the leasest notion of the service and not one was to some use to the continent: and I, sir, have been since the September 1776 in every actions, except Princetown; Your exellency self honoured me with the greatest opinion, nevertheless I am neglected. the whole world knows your equity, how will they Judge of me? all that I owe to my reputation and to the satisfaction of my familly, requirs to intreat your exellency, to look at it with some consideration. at least Please to grant me the testimony that I deserve, since I am in the Continental service. Your Respectfully Most obedient humble servant


I expect your favour.


Christian Henri Carolus de Colerus (b. 1742), a native of Bavaria who had served variously as a volunteer, cornet, and sous-lieutenant in the French army from 1753 to 1763 and from 1769 to 1772, entered French service again on 1 April 1776 as a sous-lieutenant in the Guadeloupe Regiment stationed in the West Indies, but he was dismissed from that regiment a short time later. During the summer of 1776, Colerus sailed from Martinique to New England with three French officers in search of employment. Congress on 19 Sept. 1776 brevetted Colerus a major (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 5:784), and the next day Richard Peters wrote a brief letter to GW introducing Colerus and his three companions (DLC:GW). For GW’s efforts to name Colerus a major in Col. Moses Hazen’s regiment, see GW to Colerus, 19 May, and GW to Hazen, 4 June. Faced with opposition within the regiment, Colerus left it after a short time (see Everest, Moses Hazen description begins Allan S. Everest. Moses Hazen and the Canadian Refugees in the American Revolution. Syracuse, N.Y., 1976. description ends , 51, 84–85). Colerus apparently returned to Europe before December 1779 when he was said to be living in Munich (see Lasseray, Les Français sous les treize étoiles description begins André Lasseray. Les Français sous les treize étoiles. 2 vols. Paris, 1935. description ends , 1:158).

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