George Washington Papers

Instructions to Colonel Armand, 19 May 1777

Instructions to Colonel Armand

[Morris Town, 19 May 1777]


Desirous of making our Service as agreeable to you as possible, and of furnishing you with every Opportunity in my power of acquiring Honour, I have consented to the request you made me of raising and commanding a Partisan Corps.1

You probably will have it more in your power, to distinguish yourself at the head of a body of Men that understand the French Language, than of any others, Wherefore you are hereby authorized to raise for the American Service, on the usual terms, any number of Men not exceeding two hundred. I wish that preference may be given to French Men, but if you cant raise them easily, you may complete your Corps with others. Any French Officers now in Service that choose it, may serve with you, under their present Commissions; or if you like it better, you have my leave to nominate four French Gentlemen promising them Lieutenants Commissions. The necessary money you can draw by order of Congress or the Commanding Officer in Philadelphia. The terms prescribed by the printed Instructions herewith delivered for the recruiting Service you will attend to.2 Given at Head Quarters Morris Town the 19th May 1777.

G. Washington

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Armand made this request in an undated letter to GW that he apparently wrote soon after his appointment as a colonel by Congress on 10 May. “I am come into your country,” Armand writes, “to serve her, and perfect my feeble talent for war under the command of one of the gratest generals in the world, of you, my general: Since ten year i am employed in the service of france near my King; i was destinated to be a partisan in the next war; i have proposed to honorable Congress to be employed in your army with this character, but after your agreement; my project was, (always after your agreement) to levy, 60, or, 80, french soldiers which number would [be]come more considerable when the time and Circumstance should give me the oportunity. i have proposed to honorable Congress, that if my talents were dissaprouved in time to come by your excellency, you would put in my place one other officer, and that i would with pleasure obey him in all opportunitys. some members of Congress have advised me to ask of your exelency some french soldiers who are in your army, not understanding the English language and will be more useful in your projects with a french chief. if your exelency accept my proposal, i pray you my general to regulate my Conduct in this respect; and i will be very happy in all time and Circumstances to follow the order which your exelency may please to give me, or to other superiors under your Command. your exelency wilt please to regulate the number of soldiers who will compound [compose] this little troop.

“for what Concerns the officers, i pray my general to give few. the nature and strength of partisants is as well independante of all other Companys, troops, of all other chief both their own. but they is also in hope that good Conduct may give to every soldier for his advancement in degree; two or three officers would be sufficient. farther-more my general you know better than me what relates to good soldiers, officers and troop; i wait for your orders over all this objects, and i will discharge me of them with respect until the last drop of my blood” (DLC:GW).

2See Circular Recruiting Instructions to the Colonels of the Sixteen Additional Continental Regiments, 12–27 Jan. 1777.

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