George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Armand, 4 February 1784

From Armand

anapolis [Md.] february 4th 1784


being intrusted by Grl duportail,1 the officers of his corps & thoses of the legion with the management of their final settlement of accounts, I came to this place near three weeks ago; my intention was to lay our affairs before Congress, & while they had them under their consideration, to go and pay my respects to your Excellency.

I was to that point, when Colonel humphrey told us that you were Going to frederickbourg & to return only, in 10–or–12 days, during that time Congress have determined agreeable to our request, & the distressed Condition of the officers concerned in their resolve, oblige me to make all haste in my power towards Philadelphia, less the thaw should prevent my being there for some weeks, which delay would be Extremely hurtfull to thoses Gentlemen who at this instant are destitute of resources.2

although thoses Circumstances deprive me at present of the honor to pay a visit to your Excellency, I am happy in the idea that as soon I have finally settled with the Superintendant of finance, I shall take a Journey to Virginia, the whole purpose of which will be to see once more the man which I shall love, respect & admire all my days.

General mifflin who intended to pay you a visit with me has posponed the Journey & will go with the chevalier de la Luzern 3—I inclose here a lettre that was Confided to my Care. I have the honor to be with the highest respect your Excellency’s Sir—the most obdt hble st

C. Armand


Armand-Charles Tuffin, marquis de La Rouërie (1750–1793), used the name Armand as an officer in the Continental army after his arrival in America from France in 1777 until his final return to France in 1784. Made colonel commandant of the first battalion of Casimir Pulaski’s Partisan Legion in 1777, he took part in GW’s campaigns until 1779 when the legion joined the expedition against British-held Savannah. After Pulaski’s death at Savannah, Armand assumed command of the Partisan Legion. In 1783 he was made a brigadier general and chief of cavalry in the Continental army. For further details of Armand’s life and family, see Armand to GW, 18 May 1784, and notes and enclosure.

1Antoine-Jean-Louis Le Bègue de Presle Duportail (1743–1802) came to America as a captain of engineers in the French army in 1777, and Congress made him brigadier-general commandant of engineers for the Continental army. GW used him extensively in his campaigns, most notably as chief engineer at the siege at Yorktown. Duportail was a major general when he left the United States in 1783. He returned to America in 1793 to escape the Terror and remained until 1802 when he sailed for home and died on the high seas.

2On 15 Jan. 1784 at Annapolis, where the Congress was sitting, Armand wrote Thomas Mifflin, president of Congress: “From the command & rank I held in the american army, I find my self at the head of the officers of the first partizan Legion & of the others french Gentlemen who continued in this service untill the end of the war, to represent their Circumstances to Congress & obtain from that hble body such sums on account of their pay & commutation as may Enable them to discharge their debts here & to return to Europe, and at the same time such terms for the payment of the interest & principal of what sums shall remain due to us as to render it practicable to negociate our notes without a material loss” (DNA:PCC, item 164). Armand went on to argue the justice of his claims, and on 22 Jan. the committee to which Armand’s letter had been referred reported to Congress: “That the foreign officers lately in the service of the United States, who were not attached to the line of any particular State, complain of great and singular hardships under which they have laboured during the late war. The pay which they received for a considerable time in depreciated money, was very unequal to their actual expences, nor could they be profited by the recommendations of Congress on the subject of depreciation, which afforded immediate relief to the rest of the army, because there was no State to which they could look for the balance of their pay; hence it followed, that some of them have depended in a great measure for their support, on remittances from their friends in France, while others less fortunate, have contracted considerable debts in America. That in their present situation, they neither have the means of subsisting in America, nor of returning to their native country, unless some part of the money due them by the public shall be paid.” Congress promptly voted to give the officers, “such sums on account of their pay as may be necessary to relieve them from their present embarrassments, and enable those in America to return to their native country” (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 26:43). Four days later, on 26 Jan., Armand wrote Mifflin requesting Congress “to pass a resolve authorizing their financier to take such measures in the settlement of our accounts as will ensure us the punctual payment of the interest of the sums due to us.” And on 3 Feb. Congress directed the superintendent of finance “to take measures, as far as may be consistent with the finances of the United States, for remitting annually to the foreign officers [as specified] . . . the interest of such sums as may remain due to them respectively, after the payments which shall have been made to them in consequence of the resolution of the 22d of January last” (ibid.,65–66). For a discussion of debts due to foreign officers, see La Radiere to GW, 26 April 1789, n.1.

3Neither Armand, nor La Luzerne, nor Thomas Mifflin got to Mount Vernon at this time. Armand may have visited in April, La Luzerne did visit in April, and Mifflin was there in June. See Armand to GW, 14 Mar., La Luzerne to GW, 18 Feb., GW to La Luzerne, 5 May, and Mifflin to GW, 31 May 1784.

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