George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 14 August 1786]

Monday 14th. Mercury at 72 in the Morng.—73 at Noon and 70 at Night.

Day clear, and the wind fresh from the No. West, from Morn till eve.

Went by way of Muddy hole & Dogue run plantations to the Meadow, in my Mill Swamp, to set the Ditche[r]s to work, only one of whom appeared. About Noon he began on the side ditch, East of the meadow. After doing this, and levelling part of the ground (with a Rafter level) along which the Ditch was to be cut I intended to have run a course or two of Fencing at Muddy hole but Meeting with Genl. Duplessis in the road who intended to Mt. Vernon but had lost his way I returned home with him where Colo. Humphreys had just arrived before us.

Thomas Antoine Mauduit du Plessis (1753–1791), born in Hennebont, France, came to America in 1777 and served in the Continental Army before France officially joined the war, distinguishing himself at Brandywine, Germantown, Red Bank, and Monmouth. In 1780 he became senior adjutant of the artillery park with Rochambeau’s army. Mauduit returned to France after the war, but remained only temporarily. Writing to GW from New York on 20 July 1786, he reported that he had bought a large tract of land in Georgia and was looking forward to becoming an American citizen (DLC:GW). On 15 Aug. 1786, the day after Mauduit arrived at Mount Vernon, GW wrote to Theodorick Bland: “Nothing but cultivation is wanting. Our lot has certainly destined a good country for our inheritance. We begin already to attract the notice of foreigners of distinction. A French general officer whose name is Du Plessis is now at Mount Vernon on his way to Georgia, with a design to settle there as a farmer” (DLC:GW). In 1787, however, Mauduit returned to French service and was sent to Santo Domingo to command a regiment at Port-au-Prince, where he was killed in 1791 during the insurrection on the island.

Index Entries