George Washington Papers

From George Washington to La Luzerne, 23 September 1779

To La Luzerne

Camp at West-point [23 Sept. 1779]1


Colo. Fleury this moment presented to me the letter your Excellency did me the honor to write from Trenton.2 & by his communication of your arrival at that place without accident, & meeting Monsr Gerard in good health, made me perfectly happy.

Monsr Fleury has obtained my consent to be absent from this Army—He carries with him a certificate expressive of his great merit as an Officer—and a letter to Congress containing the sentiments I entertain of his worth and Services.3 I have the honor to be with the most perfect resp⟨ect⟩ Yr Excellys Most Obe⟨dt⟩ & Most Hble Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, Ministère des Affaires Estrangères, Paris; ADfS, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1GW did not date the ALS; he dated the ADfS 23 September.

3For the letter to Congress, see GW to John Jay, this date. A copy of the certificate, signed by GW and dated 28 July at West Point, reads: “I certify that Lieutenant Colonel Fleury has served in the army of the United States, since the beginning of the campaign 77 to the present period and has uniformly acquitted himself as an Officer of distinguished merit, for talents zeal activity prudence and bravery—that he first obtained a captains commission from Congress and entered as a Volunteer in a Corps of riflemen in which by his activity and bravery he soon recommended himself to notice—that he next served as Brigade Major with the rank of Major first in the Infantry and afterwards in the Cavalry, in which stations he acquired reputation in the army and the approbation of his commanding Officers of which he has the most ample testimonies—that towards the conclusion of the campaign of 77, he was sent to the important post of Mud Island in quality of Engineer, in which he rendered essential services and equally signalized his intelligence and his valor—That in consequence of his good conduct on this and on former occasions, he was promoted by Congress to the rank of Lt Colonel; and has been since employed—in the following stations, as a Subinspector—as second in command in a corps of Light Infantry in an expedition against Rhode Island—and lastly as commandant of a Battalion of Light Infantry in the army under my immediate command—That in each of these capacities as well as the former, he justified the confidence reposed in him and acquired more and more the character of a judicious well-informed indefatigable and brave officer. In the assault of Stoney point, a strong fortified post of the enemy, on the north river, he commanded one of the attacks, was the first that entered the main works and struck the British flagg with his own hand” (DS, DLC:GW).

Lieutenant Colonel Fleury remained with the army for a month in hopes of participating in the anticipated allied attack on New York (see GW to Lafayette, 20 Oct.); he finally took his leave of GW on 25 October. Fleury wrote to GW on that date: “Lt colo. Fleury has the honour to take Leave of his excellency general Wasshington. he sets of[f] for his Country, full of veneration & gratitude.

“he wishes nothing so ardently as either he comes back to ame[r]ica, or if Detain’d at home, to find opportunities to justify the benevolence of so Respectable a man, whose esteeme he shall allwais consider as the Most glorious Reward” (AL, DLC:GW).

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