To Conrad-Alexandre Gérard
West-point Sepr 12th 1779
The Baron de Kalb did me the honor some days ago to communicate a letter he had received from your Excellency which flattered us with the hopes of seeing you at the Army before your departure for France.1 I am since told by the Baron that you have changed your intention of coming this way. In this I feel myself deprived of a great pleasure—I cannot however permit you to leave these States without giving you a fresh testimony of my cordial attachment and esteem, at the sametime that I offer my sincere congratulations on the glorious and important successes of his most Christian Majesty’s arms under the direction of Count DEstaing—and my most fervent wishes for the continuance of them.2
America is indebted to your early & zealous offices in her favour—To that generous and uniform attention to the interests of both Countries by which your administration is distinguished. You carry with you the affections of a whole People, and leave behind you a reputation which will have the peculiar fortune to be every where admired by good men.
Permit me now to wish you a safe & agreeable passage and a happy meeting with your Lady3 & friends—and I pray you to do me the justice to believe that no man is more deeply impressed with these Sentiments than I am—nor none who entertains a higher esteem, respect, & regard for your Excellency than Sir Yr Most Obedt & Most Hble Servt
ALS (retained copy), DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.
On 18 Sept., Gérard personally notified GW that he would not be visiting the army before his departure, but he subsequently delayed his departure and did visit GW. He arrived in camp on 5 Oct. and conferred with GW on war strategy (see General Orders, 5 Oct., source note, and GW to d’Estaing, 7 Oct.).
1. The letter from Gérard to Maj. Gen. Johann Kalb has not been identified. Gérard sailed from Chester, Pa., aboard the Continental frigate Confederacy on 18 Oct., bound for France. The same ship carried John Jay, who had been appointed Congress’s minister to Spain.
2. For Vice Admiral d’Estaing’s capture of the West Indian islands of St. Vincent and Grenada and for his indecisive naval engagement with British vice admiral John Byron off Grenada, see Jay to GW, 10 Aug., and n.1 to that document.
3. Gérard had married Marie Nicole Grossart de Virly (born c.1750) in Paris in 1768.