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To George Washington from Samuel Huntington, 21 January 1780

From Samuel Huntington

Philadelphia Jany 21st 1780


I am honour’d with your Excellency’s dispatches of the 23d, 24th, 25th, & 27th of Decemr, the 2d, 4th, 5th, & 18th Instant which have not been in particular before acknowledged.1

By the act of Congress of this day herewith enclos’d together with the letter from the Board of War therein refer’d to; you will be informed of the request of Colo. Armand for promotion to the rank of a Brigadier & his claim as stated in the letter from the Board of War; and that I am constrained to request the opinion of your Excellency thereon.2 I am Sir with every sentiment of respect & Esteem your Excy’s hble Servt

Saml Huntington President

LS, DLC:GW; LB, DNA:PCC, item 14.

1GW addressed three letters to Huntington on 18 January.

2The enclosed copy of the Board of War’s letter to Congress, dated 18 Jan. and signed “By order of the Board” by Timothy Pickering, reads: “Colo. Armand, Marquis de Rouerie has presented to the Board the inclosed application for the commission of Brigadier in the Army of the United States. He observes, with great truth, that ever since his appointment to a Colonel[c]y in May 1777, he has been in actual service; and of his activity, zeal, bravery and good conduct during the last campaign in particular, he now produces very honourable testimonies: it is also well known that from his first appointment he has shewn himself a vigilant and gallant officer. We think it justly due to Colonel Armand to remark, that his services have also appeared in the highest degree disinterested; and that he has been indefatigable, & expended large sums of money (beyond the public allowances) in raising and forming his corps; and we have a great opinion of his personal merit & military prowess. He observes, that hardly one foreign officer who has served a campaign in America, with any kind of distinction, has failed of promotion: but that [he] has served three campaigns as a Colonel, the rank first given him. He assures us that he does not wish, if commissioned as a brigadier, to interfere with the commands of officers in the line, but to continue with his present corps or in case of his going to the southward, he would only ask that the remains of General Pulaski’s corps might be annexed to his. He thinks too that he could add to their combined strength by inlisting many of his countrymen, who are more numerous there than in this quarter. The death of General Pulaski, and the junction of his & Colo. Armands corps, are relied on by Colo. Armand as circumstances singularly f[a]vorable to his present claim.

“Having thus candidly stated the pretensions of Colo. Armand to the rank, we think it our duty, on the other hand, to observe That rank in the American army is now held in very high estimation; and the higher the rank the more of course to be valued, and the greater will be the consequent dissatisfaction among those who deem themselves injured by a promotion; Officers in fact become extremely jealous of all promotions out of the usual course. We beg leave to add that the detaching of the troops of two States from [the] northern army to reinforce that at the southward must undoubtedly render inaplicable the distinction heretofore taken that promotions out of the usual line are less objectionable there than at the Northward. These observations with the papers herewith presented will, we conceive, exhibit a just [v]iew of Colo. Armands case. Upon the whole matter the Board beg leave to submit to the decision of Congress the expediency or inexpediency of promoting Colo. Armand to the rank he requests” (DLC:GW).

The enclosed extract from the journals of Congress, dated this date and signed by Charles Thomson, directing that a copy of the board’s letter be sent to GW for his opinion, is in DLC:GW (see also 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 16:78).

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