Gabriel de Sartine to Benjamin Franklin: A Translation
Versailles, 12 November 1778
Mr. De Fleury, gentlemen, has informed me that in 1776 his only son embarked for America where he has served the United States in General Washington’s army with enough distinction to merit the rank of lieutenant colonel, but that having been made prisoner and taken to Fort St. Augustine he has been unable to obtain his exchange and finds himself in a most deplorable state.1 The distinction this young man has earned in the service of the United States speaks in his favor, and I am sure, gentlemen, that you will consider Mr. De Fleury’s request, and I would be grateful if you included this officer in the first exchange of prisoners. I have the honor to be, with the most distinguished consideration, gentlemen, your very humble and very obedient servant
LbC (Adams Papers).
1. No evidence has been found that Lt. Col. of Engineers Francois Louis Teissèdre de Fleury was ever captured. Indeed, at the time of this letter he was presumably serving with Washington’s army, having returned from the expedition against Newport. For the elder Fleury, see his letter to JA of 26 April, note 1 (vol. 6:56–57). For his son’s career, see the same letter and references there as well as Mark M. Boatner III, comp., Encyclopedia of the American Revolution, N.Y., 1966.
In their reply of 17 Nov., the Commissioners promised to write to the congress and recommend that it secure Fleury’s exchange as soon as possible, but no further mention of this matter has been found (NN: Berg Collection).