Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from ——— de Gimat, 19 January 1778: résumé

From ——— de Gimat8

ALS: American Philosophical Society

<Vic Fezensac, January 19, 1778, in French: M. de Gimat, an officer in the Viennois regiment, went to your country with Lafayette.9 He has only once sent us word, that they had landed in Carolina and were on their way to join the army. We are worried to have heard no more. My cousin was in several actions, we know, and his poor mother has asked me to find out whether he is dead, wounded, or a prisoner. You are the only one in France who can give a desolated family news of an officer who left us to fight your enemies and to help, at the risk of his life, in restoring your liberty.>

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8The full signature, which is extremely hard to decipher, seems to be “Degimatpouÿlarmont”; the letter is endorsed “Degimatpouyslarmont Enqu. Offr.” He wrote from a small town near Auch, in southwestern France.

9Jean-Joseph Gimat de Sourbadère was Lafayette’s aide-de-camp and served, with a short intermission, throughout the war; see the numerous references to him in Idzerda, Lafayette Papers, I–IV. According to an undated note in an unknown hand, among BF’s papers in the APS, Gimat should be told if he returns that he is a captain in his regiment, now in Martinique, and must be sure to join it there. He was on home leave with Lafayette in 1779–80 but accompanied him back to America; in 1793 he was killed while commanding a corps of émigrés that the British landed on Martinique. Lasseray, Les Français, II, 418–20; Bodinier, whose form of the name we adopt.

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