From Claude-Antoine de La Morre de Ville aux Bois
15 Feb. 1794. Writes a lengthy letter in French while at Düsseldorf, a German city on the Rhine River. Starts with a brief synopsis of his military career, beginning with his 1774 enlistment in the Gâtinais regiment and his subsequent participation in the Revolutionary War, including the siege at Yorktown in 1781, after which his regiment was renamed the Royal Auvergne. Describes the causes of the French Revolution and the ensuing “Horreurs! Brigandages! Massacres” that forced him and other officers of the French army to emigrate to German principalities, where they joined the coalition armies in their fight against the French Republic. Summarizes military battles over the past two years, and then laments the fate of French emigrants if the republicans ultimately prove successful. Ponders the fate in store for himself and other refugees since they are unable to return to France, where their property has been sold or laid to waste. Closes with a plea for assistance from GW and announces his intention to set sail for the United States in six weeks.1
ALS (in French), DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters.
1. Whether La Morre (b. 1757) actually emigrated to the United States is not known, but he apparently returned to France after the restoration of the monarchy in 1814, residing first at Bar-sur-Aube in northeastern France and then at Paris in 1822.