George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Armand, 4 February 1781

From Colonel Armand

[New Windsor]1 4th f[ebrua]ry 1781


the situation in which I do find my Self in this Country is So different from that of all others the french officers who Have Come to serve Here that it Does become necessary for me to take Extraordinary precautions in returning Home, otherwise I shall find my Self in worse circumstances for Having made Greater Sacrifices—my not Having been promoted after four years Services will be an Argument of so powerfull a nature against me as will require the strongest testimonies to fight against it—your Exellency is the only friend I Have found in this Country, & the marks I Have been so Happy as to receive of your bounty, makes me bold in this last application before I take my departure2—it is that you will favour me with a lettre to the Marechal duc de Biron my ancient Colonel Expressing your approbation of my Conduct & the reasons for what I Could not be promoted. this I Can assure to your Exellency will be a most flattering demarch towards the marechal & will be of great benefit to me—I Do not know that it Has been Customary for you to give Similars lettres to others of my Country men, but I Hope my peculiar situation & your goodness for me will induce you to make a distinction in my favour3—I Have the less Hesitation in making this entreaty as though you Have not in all probability a Correspondence with the marechal duc, I am Certain He will think it the Highest Honor to receive a lettre from the father of the american revolution, & I believe lettres of this kind to be not uncustomary when officers of on[e] nation serve in the army of another.

I shall Have the gretiest obligation to your Exellency for your Complience, & shall be Happy in every occasion of testifying to you the gratitude as well as the admiration, respect & attachement with which I Have the Honor to be your Exellency’s the most Hble & obedt srt

C. Armand


1For Armand’s presence at New Windsor, see GW to John Sullivan, this date.

2Armand returned to France to procure supplies for his legionary corps (see his letter to GW, 11 Jan., and GW to Armand, 12 Jan.).

3On 3 Feb., GW wrote French army officer Biron from headquarters at New Windsor: “The Marquis De la Rouerie who is on the point of returning to France for a few months having informend me that he has had the advantage of belonging to a regiment commanded by you, I cannot refuse it to my sentiments for him to take the liberty of recommending him to you, as an officer who has distinguished himself by his talents bravery and zeal in the service of this country.

“He has served near four years with the rank of Colonel and the greatest part of the time has commanded a legionary corps. The numerous and rapid promotions of foreigners in the early period of the war have occasioned a susceptibility in the American officers on this point which have hitherto prevented the advancement of Col. Armand; though his services and merit are acknowleged. He has however this consola⟨tion⟩ that many of those promotions conferred rank without employment—while he has enjoyed a more military existence in the actual command of a corps.

“Though I have not the honor of a personal acquaintance with you, I have taken the liberty of addressing you upon this occasion with that frankness which is the privilege of military men and with that confidence which your reputation inspires” (Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW; on the draft, GW wrote the address: “The Right Honble The Maréchal Duc De Biron Colo. of the Regt of French Gaurds at his Hotel—Paris”).

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