George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert Morris, 10 May 1777

From Robert Morris

Philada May 10th 1777

Dear Sir

I have not taken the liberty of giving You any trouble for sometime past and indeed I never do it but with great reluctance because I know how much Your attention & time must be engaged in the most important pursuits.

The bearear of this the Marquis Armand de la Rouerie is entitled to my Warmest recommendations because he brought from his own Country letters to me that I am obliged to attend to & put great faith in as they come from persons Worthy of the utmost Credit, one of them is from Mr Deane who not only mentions him as a Gentn of Rank, good Family & Fortune but also as a Man of great Merit desiring my particular attention to him & that I should supply him with Money which will be repaid in France by a Gentn to whom America is under the most important obligations. You will therefore excuse & oblige me at the same time by your favourable attention to Monsr Armand for he chooses to pass by that Name & shoud he want Money I will pay his drafts for what he Stands in need of—I find he is a little disgusted at an appointment made for him by Congress this day and I believe it was through the inattention of a Committee which I shall get set right again in a Short time.1 I am Dr sir with the greatest esteem & affection Your obedt hble sert

Robt Morris


1Armand-Charles Tuffin, marquis de La Rouërie (1750–1793), a French volunteer who, as Morris says, generally used only his Christian name Armand in America, was commissioned a colonel on this date by Congress, and he was directed to report to GW (see JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 7:346). A native of Brittany, Armand entered the French army in 1766 as an ensign in the king’s guards, and he was promoted to sous-lieutenant in 1775. Armand was obliged to leave France earlier this year because he had wounded the comte de Bourbon-Busset, a cousin of the king, in a duel. Sailing from Nantes in February 1777 on the American ship Success (formerly called the Morris), Armand arrived on 11 April off the Delaware Capes where the ship, which was carrying military supplies from France, was run aground by British warships and was blown up by its own captain to prevent its capture (see John Adams to Abigail Adams, 13 April 1777, in Adams Family Correspondence description begins Lyman H. Butterfield et al., eds. Adams Family Correspondence. 13 vols. to date. Cambridge, Mass., 1963–. description ends , 2:209–10). Armand got ashore safely and made his way to Philadelphia, where he presented his letters of introduction to Morris. Armand’s drafts for money were on Beaumarchais (see Morris to Deane, 29 Dec. 1779, in Isham, Deane Papers description begins Charles Isham, ed. The Deane Papers. 5 vols. New York, 1887-91. In Collections of the New-York Historical Society, vols. 19–23. description ends , 2:293–97). Arriving at Morristown between 16 and 19 May, Armand persuaded GW to allow him to raise a partisan corps consisting of as many as two hundred Frenchmen (See GW to Hancock, 16 May, Instructions to Armand, 19 May, and GW to Morris, 19 May). On 11 June 1777 GW gave Armand command of Ottendorf’s independent light infantry corps (see General Orders, that date), and on 25 June 1778 Armand’s reorganized corps, which the Board of War called “The Free and Independent Chasseurs,” was taken into Continental pay by Congress (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 11:642–45). Following the death of Pulaski in the fall of 1779, Pulaski’s Legion and Armand’s corps were consolidated under Armand as Armand’s Legion, which consisted of both infantry and cavalry (see ibid., 16:187), and on 1 Jan. 1781 Armand’s Legion was reorganized and redesignated the 1st Partisan Corps. On 26 Mar. 1783, after years of importuning Congress for promotion, Armand was commissioned a brigadier general (see ibid., 24:211–12). His partisan corps was disbanded the following November, and he returned to France in the summer of 1784.

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