George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Cambray-Digny, 4 April 1778

To Cambray-Digny

Head Quarters [Valley Forge] 4th April 1778.


I have received your letter of the 27th Feby informing me of your having letters from Doctor Franklin,1 and that you are desirous of serving in the Continental Army—it will save you unnecessary traveling and expences to apprise you that Congress alone can place you there, and consequently that your personal application to them, is the first step to be taken by you in prosecuting this business—if they should determine in your favor, it will give me pleasure to render your Situation in the Army as agreeable as possible.2 I am Sir Your most obedient and most humble Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in John Laurens’s writing, owned (1995) by Christie, Manson & Woods, International; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Benjamin Franklin had written GW from “Passy near Paris” on 10 Sept. 1777: “The Bearer, M. de Cambray proposes to go to America with a View of entring into our Service. He is strongly recommended to me by the Duke de Rochefoucauld, who is not only a warm Friend to our Cause, but an excellent Judge of military Merit. I enclose his Letter, with a State of M. de Cambray’s Services which I receiv’d from another Hand, whereby it appears that he is skill’d in Engineering; and as you cannot have too much of that Science in your Army, I have the greater Confidence that you will find this Gentleman useful, I therefore take the Liberty of recommending him to your Excellency’s Protection, and of expressing my hopes that our Service will be made agreable to him” (DLC: Benjamin Franklin Papers).

2Cambray remained in North Carolina until early May, but in June he arrived at York, bearing recommendations from that state as well as Franklin’s letter to GW. The Board of War recommended that he be given the rank and pay of a lieutenant colonel in the corps of engineers, and he was so commissioned on 13 June (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 , 11:567, 604–5; see also Richard Caswell to GW, 6 May, and Caswell to Henry Laurens, 6 May , N.C. State Records description begins Walter Clark, ed. The State Records of North Carolina. 16 vols., numbered 11-26. Winston and Goldsboro, N.C., 1895–1907. description ends , 13:123). Probably on the same date, Cambray left York for Valley Forge, where he arrived by 16 June.

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