Benjamin Franklin Papers

Extract from a Boston Newspaper, [after 4 December 1777]

Extract from a Boston Newspaper8

AD: Cornell University Library

[After December 4, 1777]

In a Letter from Philadelphia, giving an Account of the Battle at Brandywine, between the Armies of Generals Washington and Howe, is the following Passage.

“A great Number of French Officers were in the Action. The Marquis de la Fayette, that most accomplish’d Youth, behaved with a Bravery equal to his noble Birth and amiable Character. The Polish Count Pulawski with a Party of light Horse rode up to reconnoitre the Enemy within Pistol-shot of their Front. The Chevalier du Plessis, who is one of General Knox’s Family, had three Balls thro’ his Hat. Young Fleuri’s Horse was killed under him. He shew’d so much Bravery, and was so useful in rallying the Troops, that the Congress have made him a Present of another.9 I should not do Justice if I did not add that the French Officers in general behaved extremely well.”

The above is printed in a Boston Gazette of Oct. 2. 1777.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8We assume that the extract, from the Independent Chronicle and Universal Advertiser, was part of the newspaper material that Jonathan Austin brought. If so, it came into BF’s hands when the young man arrived on the 4th. On the 6th Vergennes asked through Gerard for any more news that the commissioners might have; see the headnote on Gérard’s letter to them of the 5th. On the 8th, when WTF carried their memorandum to Versailles, he took with him newspaper extracts about the Saratoga campaign: Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, I, 358. We suspect that this one, though on another subject, was included because of its flattering remarks about French officers, and that before it went BF made a copy, perhaps for an English-speaking relative of one of the officers mentioned.

9Lafayette, Du Plessis, and Pulaski need no introduction. “Fleuri” was Teissèdre de Fleury, for whom see the note on Berthérand de Fleury’s letter above, Dec. 2.

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