George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Armand, 9 November 1778

From Colonel Armand

[Fredericksburg, N.Y., c.9 Nov. 1778]


i took the liberty to acquaint your Exellency with the necessity which I am under to beg your goodness.

the bord of war to which i made my application for have the comissions of my officers, answer’d that he never had receiv’d any liste and power from your Exellency to grant them with their Expectations. not one of them has make the least objection to march to the enemy without his comission, and i swer that they <Enpassd> them selves with the same bravery and Confidence, which they had had if their Comissions had been granted to them. i pray your Exellency to considere that i have not make my self one officer in my Corps without athority, Exept three leutenan<ts> which were as one indispensable necessity: the Congress and bord of war say that as soon you[r] Exellency shall approve the nomination of my officer they will be granted with their Comissions so they desaere your approbation for the raising of my Dragons Company.

in respect to my owne business. i beg as a favour of your Exellency to order me in a reasonable way. for i will never ask nor obtain any thing without your good wish. since two [y]ears i am in your army, i never receiv’d any appointement nor gratification, i have done my endeavour to answer the favour of Congress and your Exellency which honour’d me with the comission of Cnl if your Exellency judge that i deserve to be promoted to the ranck of brigadier, i pray you to give me one recommendation to the Congress upon that object, if you do not judge that i deserves it, i am satisfy’d considering that i have not other judge here than your Exellency and the soldyear under my Comand. if had been possible to go in france only by a permission of your Exellency and the Congress, i had been glade to Conserve the Comand of my Corps which i had so much trouble to raise. the warm desaer to stay all my life under your Command is the only motive which make me ask that favour.

in the both Case if i conserve that Comand or not, i beg of your Exellency to take the old Corps anexed to me from the new one being unpossible that the officer in the both side live well altogheter. good many of my offrcer want to go to france, i may assure your Exellency that the soldyears will all desert if they are not under the immediat Comand of the officer wh<ose> enlisted them. for prevint such thing it would be good if pleased to your Exellency to order me one quarter far from the line and nearer to the congress; the few time when they had been to the lines has been so hard that specially the Cavalery want for some reparations.

in purpose to give the least trouble i can to your Exellency, i present to you the list of the favour which i beg of your goodness.1 i am with the greatest respect of your Exellency sir the most humble and obediante servante


ALS, DLC:GW. Tench Tilghman docketed the letter “From Colo. Armand delivd at Fishkill 9th Novemr 1778.”

1For the past few months Armand had sought permission from GW and Congress to recruit his independent corps to its full complement and to give his officers regular commissions in the Continental army. He also sought from GW a certificate of his military services so that he might obtain promotion to brigadier general (see also Armand to Hamilton, 5 Nov., in DLC:GW). GW gave him that certificate in the form of a letter to Henry Laurens on 19 Nov.; but although Armand subsequently won permission from Congress to fill out his corps (after GW toyed with the idea of merging his and Brig. Gen. Casimir Pulaski’s corps), his request for promotion was denied. Disappointed, Armand at first petitioned for leave to return to France, but quickly changed his mind and decided to remain in service. See GW to Lafayette, 3 July, n.1, to Laurens, 31 Aug. and 19 Nov., and to Armand, 21 Jan. 1779; Memorandum, January 1779; Armand to GW, 17 Nov. 1778 and 20 Jan. 1779; and James Duane to GW, 28 Jan. 1779. See also Armand to Alexander Hamilton, 5 Nov. (DLC:GW); 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 , 13:143–44, 179–81; and Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 12:22.

Armand’s enclosed, undated “list” of favors sought reads: “least of the offi cer in my Corps which have not Comissions, and are employed in their present place, since the date following their name. these three have been in the service with comissions, most since the begining of this war[:] Cpt mercley—7 of april 1778. Cpt shafner, 7 of april 1778. lt sharp—7 of april 1778. lt ducosse. 7 of april 1778. lt sibert—May 1778[.] lt segner—juin 1778. Cpt berth—may 1778[.] Mjor de laumagne—7 april 1778. mjor laumagne had his comission promiss’d, and the mquis de la fayette had ask it to the Congress

“Cpt mercley, shafner, sharp, came with me to albany with permission and order of his Exellency, and in that time the mquis la fayette assured me that he would do his endeavour for have their comissions, so i promissed to them. if was the pleasure of his Exellency to date their Comissions from that time, it is the nine of february 1778.

“approbation from his Exellency for my dragons.

“the Comission of brigadier for me” (DLC:GW).

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