George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Antoine-Jean-Louis Le Bègue de Presle Duportail, 29 January 1783

Philadelphia [le] 29 january 1783

dear general

I have the honour of sending to your excellency a memorial from major villefranche by which he begs the Congress to grant him the rank of lieut.-Colonel. I thinck that major villefranche may justly pretend to that favour. he has served as a major these five years and always shown the greatest assiduity and zeal in his duty. I have justified what he says about officers of the army appointed majors in the same time he was and who have been since promoted to the rank of lieut. Colonel. So I hope that your excellency thincks his demand just and will be so good as to approve his Memorial.

I am very impatient to be informed by Colonel gouvion if he could get a quarter for me at Camp. I will set off immediately to pay my respects to your Excellency. I have the honour to be with the greatest respect dear general your most obedt & humble servant


DLC: Papers of George Washington.



Philadelphia January 1st 1783.

The Chevalier de Villefranche, Major Enjineer in the service of the United states, has the honour to Represent to the honourable the Congress.

That he is Major in the service of the United states, since the first of January 1778, and has hitherto made no application for his advancement. That he has waited Until the Present moment, in the expectation of a general Promotion in the Corps he belongs to; but as hitherto there have been only Partial Promotions, and there is no Prospect of a General one, he thinks himself Justified, in Requesting to be appointed to the rank of lieutenant Colonel, his Pretentions are grounded upon several Reasons, some Majors of the line, whose Commissions were of a later date than his, have been Promoted to the Rank of lieutenant Colonel, which Reduces him to the Situation of being Commanded by them, who some time before, were under his Command, in the Corps of Engineers, there are three Colonels, and only two lieutenant colonels, according to the formation of that Corps, (the number not being fixed) no Promotion is to be expected, as with the Other Officers who have a Regular scale of Promotion, and if to be advanced he has to wait for some brilliant Opportunity, as that of a seige, he runs the Risque of Continuing to the end of the War, in the same Rank, for in Case of a Similar Operation aforementioned, he may be detached from the Army.

If the honourable the Congress will be Pleased to Consider his services, he will take the liberty to Represent, that since he has the honour to be in the service of the United states, he has been almost Constantly employed; that he has been Chief Engineer at West point for a long time, and in the Campaign 1781, he has been employed at fort Harkemer, and did Command its Garrison. That he is possessed of Certificates from the different Generals, under whom he has had the honour to serve, which will prove that they have been satisfied with his services; he thinks that the Certificate of his Excellency General Washington, which he has the honour to present to the honourable Congress, will be a sufficient Testimony, of the manner in which he has Performed the several duties of his stations. The Chevalier de Villfranche humbley submits these Considerations, to the honourable the Congress, and trusting on their Wisdom and Justice, he dares hope for a favourable decision.

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