George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Francis Mentges, 12 August 1784

From Francis Mentges

Philadelphia, the 12th Augt 1784.


Having been in expectation of being appointed to command the Troops to be raised by this state 1 but the arrival of Colonel Harmar (who will get the appointment) disappointed my hopes 2—I have now no other resource left but to return to Europe and Seek to be employed in the service of the Elector of Palatine or by the Emperor. I therefore take the liberty to request of your Excellency a testimony of my Services from the beginning of 76 to the end of the war which I shall esteem the greatest favour.3I have the honor to be with the Highest esteem Your Excellencys Most obt Servt

F. Mentges

Sprague transcript, DLC:GW.

Francis Mentges retired on 1 Jan. 1784 from the position of lieutenant colonel of the 5th Pennsylvania Regiment. Both he and Josiah Harmar (see note 2) were among the sixteen men who, as GW informed the president of Congress on 21 Dec. 1783, were “among the Officers of the Army who have been obliged to retire at the conclusion of the War” but “from various motives are desirous of being arranged on any Peace Establishment that may take place” (DNA:PCC, item 152).

2Josiah Harmar, most recently colonel of the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment, became on this day commander of the little standing army authorized by Congress. He and Lt. Col. David S. Franks were chosen by Congress to take the approved treaty of peace to the American ministers in Paris, and he had just returned from France on board ship with Lafayette. Harmar retained command of the army, serving mostly in the West, until he was removed in March 1791 before resigning from the army.

3There is a draft copy in GW’s hand of a certificate for Mentges, with a covering letter that reads: “Enclosed you have a certificate of Service. for want of information respecting the dates of your appointments I could not be more particular—If this could be of any Service to you, it would give me pleasure—my best wishes will attend you, and I am Sir Yr most obedt Hble Servt.” The text of the certificate is: “I certify that Francis Mentges Esqr. entered the Service of the United States of Am[eric]a in the Year 1776. and in the successive ranks of Captn Major and Lieutenant Col. & in the Contl army continued until dissolution in the year 1783. during which time his conduct as an Officer was brave zealous and intelligent—and as a Gentleman, unexceptionable & respectable. Given under my hand and Seal this 22d day of Augt 1784. Go:Washington, late Comr in chief Amn Army” (MHi: Jeremiah Colburn Papers).

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