Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from the Chevalier Du Bouchet, 17 March 1783

From the Chevalier Du Bouchet4

AL: American Philosophical Society

paris. March. 17th. 1783.

Colonel DuBouchet, Deputy adjutant General to the french army in america, has the honor to present his Best Respects to his excellency doctor franklin. He is Very sorry to have Been hindered By Business to Wait upon his excellency, and to Give him the agreable information of the perfect state of health of all his relations and friends in philadelphia; he Left them the 3d. of january Last; and Was desired By Mrs. Beach to assure him, that she and her husband and family Were Very Well at that time— Colonel duBouchet Would Be extreamly happy to Know, When he could (Without disturbance) Wait upon his Excellency, and introduce to him, Major General Beville quarter-Master-General of the army, one of his friends—5 The colonel is in hopes that his excellency has not forgot, that he is the Lt. colonel of the american Rifflemen, Who, on his Return to france after the surrender of Burgoigne, had the honour to see him at passy, he is Very Confident that he Will not experience his politeness Less, after the taken of a second British army, having had the Good Luck to Be also at yorktown, under the Command of count Rochambeau—6 His excellency is desired to send the colonel an answer. Gel. Beville and himself Being Waiting for.7

hôtel du parc Royal. Rüe Du colombier. f. B. st. Germain.
his excellency doctor francklin.

Addressed: a son excellence / Monsieur Le Docteur franklin. / Ministre plenipotentiaire Des / etats unis De L’amerique. / à passy.

Notation: Du Bouchet Paris March 17th. 1783

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4For whom see XXVI, 609n.

5Pierre-François “de” Béville (b. 1721), Rochambeau’s maréchal général des logis, was promoted to maréchal de camp on Dec. 5, 1781. He returned to France with Rochambeau aboard the frigate Emeraude, arriving at St. Nazaire on Feb. 10: Bodinier, Dictionnaire; Rice and Brown, eds., Rochambeau’s Army, I, 84n.

6Du Bouchet distinguished himself in both battles. He served as a rifleman under Daniel Morgan and was breveted major for gallantry in action. He later was an aide major-général on Rochambeau’s staff: Morris Bishop, “A French Volunteer,” American Heritage, XVII, no. 5 (August, 1966), 104–7; Rice and Brown, eds., Rochambeau’s Army, I, 266n, 337. BF later presented Du Bouchet with a silver Libertas Americana medal, complimenting him on being the only Frenchman to have fought at both the Battles of Saratoga and Yorktown: Denis-Jean-Florimond Langlois de Mautheville, chevalier du Bouchet, “Journal d’un emigré” (MS; 3 vols., Cornell University Library), I, 245–9.

7We have no record of an answer. His last extant communication was a letter to WTF dated only “Vendredi, au Soir,” probably written at the end of July: he had been out of town for a long while, had been promoted to lt. col. in the French army, and now sought BF’s certification of the accuracy of a French translation of testimonials written on his behalf by Congress, Gen. Gates, and Gen. Washington. Du Bouchet evidently dropped off the translation on Aug. 1 (what appears to be a cover sheet is dated “Monday 6 o’clock”), and BF signed an attestation written by L’Air de Lamotte on Aug. 6, 1783. (These three documents are at the APS.) Du Bouchet’s promotion came on June 13; for his subsequent career see Bodinier, Dictionnaire, under Langlois; Samuel F. Scott, From Yorktown to Valmy: the Transformation of the French Army in an Age of Revolution (Niwot, Colo., 1998), p. 157.

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