George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General La Neuville, 30 October 1778

From Brigadier General La Neuville

Fredericksburg this 30. 8bre 1778.


The Congress has granted me just now the brevate of Brigadier général dated from the fourteenth of august according their promises.1 my Satisfaction Should be compleat2 if I had been happy enough to deserve it under your eyes, but the Sun light[e]ns not at the Same time in the four parts of the world, and all the men can not enjoy his beams at the Same moment.

being come in this country only to contribute in my Spher, as much as it could be possible to me3 to its happiness and advantage, to endeavour to get the esteem and friendship of the men who unhabit it, and not to give them Some reasons of Dissatisfaction or trouble, as I could not hope to be employed without disturbing the harmony, I Set out for france, comforted with the reflection that in fighting for my King, I Shall be usefull to his Allies, and Shall be able by this mean to acquit me Self With them for the obligations they have upon me by their granting of the grade4 of Brigadier. I am With the utmost respect, Excellency your most obediant Servant


Excuse me for the want of paper. I hope to have the honour to present you my respects me Self to morrow and ask your orders for France.

ALS, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 41. The copy, which is one of several letters and resolutions that Louis-Pierre Penot Lombart, chevalier de La Neuville, later assembled, does not include the postscript and has some variations in wording that do not change the meaning of the letter, suggesting that the ALS and the copy were translated independently from an unfound draft written in French. GW replied to La Neuville on 1 Nov. (DLC:GW).

1Congress had taken this action on 14 Oct. (see 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 , 12:1010). For La Neuville’s efforts to obtain this commission and GW’s apprehensions about it, see Louis-Pierre Penot Lombart, chevalier de La Neuville, to GW, 23 July 1778; GW to Henry Laurens and Gouverneur Morris, both 24 July 1778; and Laurens to GW, 31 July 1778, and notes 5 and 6 to that document. General La Neuville’s younger brother, René-Hippolyte Penot Lombart de Noirmont de La Neuville, who had been breveted a major by Congress on 29 July 1778, remained in America until 1781.

2On the copy this sentence begins: “Nothing should be wanting to my Satisfaction.”

3The copy reads: “as much as it Should be in my power.”

4The copy reads: “degree” instead of “grade.”

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