George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Armand, 20 January 1779

From Colonel Armand

philadelphia this 20 Jan. 1779


when the Counte pulaski was going to left this Country, i had ask’d of your Exellency the Command of his Corps, and if i had been granted with by your Exellency, not anny difficulty whatsoever would have taken place, but i believe that the Counte has no more the same project.1

i Could perhaps have from Congress the rank of brigadier if my rank of ancienté amongs my Country men here, and mine services were well Consider’d; but that promotion being antaerly [entirely] against the right of great many of your officers, which i want to be my friends as they are neither than have a higher Command over them, i dont think now in the least of that rank.2

the Congress have good wishs for me, and have ready given the proof of it, but sir you know that since the first day i joignd the army i have not wish in anny time wha⟨t⟩ to do the least thing without your approbat⟨ion⟩ so i will Continue to do.

having not other means to have a stronger Comm⟨and⟩ i wish to recrute again; and i think that i cou⟨ld⟩ have good many of french men and somme americains, which if not pleas’d amongs forigne⟨rs⟩ Could be enaug’d for the french soldears in several regiments of your army.

in respect to the germains, if you would allow me to recrute with such men only what Could be necessary to complete my germains Company i do believe that being amongs the others ready order’d and acquaint’d with our Customes they would be great deal better than when my Corps was entaerly of recrutes.3

as when i was order’d to joign the army i had not had only the time to reflect upon my people,4 i beg of your Exellency to allow me to quarter my men in sprinkfield or others places near about boston, where i Can have every necessary things to my Corps.

if by the number of my recrutes i wanted for some more officers, your Exellency would give me, such officers which you would be pleased with, and if my recrutes in french men were in great number, i Could took for officers some of my volountaires which have ready Commissions.

beside that if your Exellency was pleasd with, when my Corps would joign the army in the next juin, you Could sind to it, all the french officers without place, which by that way Could do more honour to my nation, and be least troublesome to your Exellency.5

i beg of your Exellency to give me such order that with them or thoses from Congress, i am not oblig’d to Come again several time to philadelphia. i am with the greteist respect your Exellencys the most humble and obediat servante



1For Casimir Pulaski’s previously expressed intention of returning to Europe, see his letters to GW of 6 and 15 Nov. 1778; see also GW to Pulaski, 24 Nov. 1778. Pulaski remained in America and continued to command his legion until his death on 11 Oct. 1779 from wounds he had received two days earlier during a bold cavalry charge on British positions at Savannah, Georgia. Pulaski’s Legion was consolidated with Armand’s partisan corps on 23 Feb. 1780 to form Armand’s Legion under Armand’s command.

2In a letter to John Jay of 3 Feb., Armand solicited the brevet rank of brigadier general, a request that Congress considered and refused the following day (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 , 13:144). On 5 Feb., Armand petitioned Congress for leave to return to France, but when Congress granted that request later that day, Armand promptly reversed himself, choosing to remain in Continental service (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 , 13:148, and Jay to Armand, 5 Feb., in 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 , 12:21–22).

3Armand’s desire was to recruit among German prisoners at Rutland, Mass. (see Joshua Mersereau to GW, 30 March).

4For the orders directing Armand to march his corps from Springfield, Mass., to West Point, see Horatio Gates to GW, 24 June and 13 and 17 July 1778; GW to Gates, 28 June 1778; and GW to William Malcom, 27 July 1778.

5On Armand’s undated organizational plan for his corps, which he apparently enclosed in this letter, he wrote: “if were recrutes enough for forming others Company, and your excellency would not judge proper to give the wanted officers, i Could have one hundred men in every Company, only with one officer more in every one.” According to his plan, Armand’s corps was organized into four companies: a dragoon company consisting of thirty-six privates, three corporals, three sergeants, and three officers; a chasseur company consisting of seventy-two privates, four corporals, four sergeants, and three officers; and two fusilier companies, each consisting of forty privates, three corporals, three sergeants, and two officers. For the corps as a whole, Armand lists one quartermaster, one adjutant, one major, and one colonel (with Armand to GW, this date, DLC:GW).

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