George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Charles, marquis de La Rouërie Armand Tuffin, 3 June 1782

Stauntown in virginia this 3d June 1782


The ministre at war wrait to me that Mr de Sigougné late of my legion had gone to you to inter with your exellency his Complaint of an injustice done to him—I take the liberty to enclose here a Coppy of my answere to the ministre at war which I hope will explain the fact.

I have not yet received any horses—I depend intirely on your exellency for all manner of Justice which I have some rights to request—the cavallery being compleated to five men & no desartions having taken place in that part of my Corps sixty horses are wanted. I have the honor to be with the greatest respect your exellencys the most humble obedt st


I inclose alsso a copy of the letter of Mr de Sigougné relative to his resignation.

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


9 March 1782

Copy & translation of a letter dated the 9th march 1782 from Capt. de Sigougné asking to resign his Commission in the legion—

Dr Colonel Charlotteville Va. 9th march 1782

it being not possible to me to continue longuer my services—I request you would accept of my resignation.

from the Goodness you have théstifyed to me untill this Day, I do not doubt a moment but you shall with pleasure patronize the means that can help me in the settlement of my affairs, with Congress—I dare hope that you will grant me a certificat of my services & one of the expences which I have made for the public. I have the honor to be with respect My dear Colonel your very humble & very obedient servant

signed de sigougné

I certify upon honor this to be a true [   ] of a letter which I have in my hands sent to me by Mr de Sigougné [   ] Capt in my legion.

Armand: offr de la [   ]


Stauntown virginia this 3d June 1782


I have been honoured with your letters of the 3d of may last, I expected that the letter of Capt. Sigougné to me asking for his resignation would have been a sufficient proof of my proceedings the rectitude of my proceedings.

I inclose an other Copy of the Same where you will see that he thanks me for the Goodness with which I have treated him till the day he resigned his Commission—if you please to look back upon all returns who have been Given either to the commandier in chief or the board of war since the month of June or Juillet 1778—time of the creation of my Corps—you will constantly find—Capt. Markley 1st capt. commanding the first company—Capt. Shaffner second Capt. commanding the second company—Capt. Sigougné the third capt. commanding the third company this with what follow will explain the fact.

at the time the Mquis de la fayette was send to take the command at albany of the troops that seemed to be destined to some expeditions towards Canada I was to raise a Corps in that country—I obtained leave from general washington to take with me two officers out of the Corps which I commanded in 1777—those officers who were Granted to me were Charle Markley & George Shaffner both of them lieutenants, Gentlemen of experience, bravery, honesty & activity—the first having been thirteen years in america, & the second an americain born—they could be very usefull to me being placed at the head of the Captains of a new Corps—at that very time & for that very expedition the Mquis de la fayette obtained from Congress Commissions of Captains & others for some french Gentlemen, but it appeared afterwards that the meaning of Congress was that those Commissions should place their bearer in activity only in that army who was to march in Canada & even only while it should remains there—those youngs Gentlemen who had obtained Commissions without having ever made a Campaign became reither troublesome after it was resolved that the division at albany should not proceed further but was ordered to Joign the Grand army under his exellency’s Command.

the petitions of those Gentlemen to the mqs de lafayette induced this last to apply to me for placing them into the Corps I was to raise—to tell the truth I was reither disapointed at such demand, I knew of what little service those gentlemen who were just arrived from france could not speak nor wrait a word of inglish would be to me & to the public—whoever as the thing was not altogether depending on me I took four, mr de laumagne, de sigougné, de frey and one voluntier—those officers had Commission of Captains in the army at large—I took them under the Condition that Messrs Markley & Shaffner should command them & have the two first Company—mr de frey quited the Corps few months after to go into pulaskis legion where he could never have a settled command—at the end of the Campaign Commission were issued to my officers agreable to the time of their intrance into the Corps & agreable to their appointment by me—during all that Campain mr de sigougné was Commanded by Capts. markley & Shaffner—he was allways put after them in all returns, his Company Constantly mustered after theirs during all the others Campains & in all allusions he was placed in that order—when the Commissions for my officers were made out there was a mistake done at the war office which at first sight serve even to explain the matter—the Commission of mr de sigougné in the Corps was dated from the day his commission in the army at large was dated—but how could it be that a Commission should be dated three, four, or five months before it was even thought that the Corps should be raised—As soon as I saw that Commission I wanted to send it back to the board of war in order to have it altered, & as well as I may remember Capt. Sigougné requested I would not do it, because the date of his Commission would be of great service to him in france, but should not give him the command of the officers who were appointed before him in the corps—he ponctually kept his word & constantly during his services in the legion was under the command of Capt. markley & Capt. shaffner—while I was in france & Capt. Shaffner following me there to help me in having the equipement of the legion made there—Capt. Sigougné had as he thought an occasion respecting some officers of the army that Compelled him to show his commission & take advantage of the date of it & agreable to it got a command—had I been there he would not have had it beCause I would have told allways, how Can Capt. sigougné be Commissioned a Captain in the legion before it was intended to raise that Corps?

from this instance Mr de Sigougné took some presumption but not so far whoever as to establish it as a right—for he can not denie that when Capt. markley retired on half pay, sigougné told me, I request you would make to me the offer of the place of major in the legion & I will refuse it being glad such a deserving officer as Capt. Shaffner should have it—I was far from taking such a measure which would have placed the officer who had the true right under such an obligation to the officer who had no right at all—further I must say since I am forced to do it that Mr de Sigougné whatsoever brave & honest & expressing my self with the truth contained in the Certificat I have given him of his services, had he been the first captain & of course the first to be promoted, I would have petitioned to have no major in the legion, because his little acquaintance with the english language—with the way of transacting business & his smalls means as a disciplinarian rendered him entirely unequal to the majority—which we must consider in fact as a post of great importance in all kinds of troops but more particularly in a partisant Corps who by his station from the [megr] army has no other example of discipline but from & in it self—while his quality of brave & faithfull with submission ponctual to the orders he received Could render him serviceable as a Captain.

I am far from having any prejudice against him he knows that I have done for him as much as I would have done for my brother, as well in america as in france, I have even prejudicied to my own affairs with the ministre in france by too repeated request for mr de Sigougné—it has been a time where in this country I have exposed myself to be blamed & my reputation as a disciplinarien hurted by the unperfects parts which that gentleman had at his first intrance in the legion, I must repeat it, that I may not expose him & My Self to worse than the fact is—those unperfections were, his absolute unacquaintance with a syllable of the english language, his unacquaintance with the Command of men, his too great Confidence in them—his to Great facility to overlook theirs faults—his Great difficulty to give up some of his national manners & to take those of this Country—an essential point to those who are employed even in the smallest degree of business by Congress—those are parts the want of which does not make a bad man, but indeed the officer who has not them can not with propriety be Called a very usefull one.

I must end by saying that I have done my might to persuad sigougné to remains in the legion—we had served long togethere—old acquaintances dont like to part from each other, his bravery & some activity would have in some parts be very usefull, I have made use of his friends in the Corps to persuad him, I have told him all what my friend ship & the most unquestionable Justice dictated to me, he Gave his resignation—I keapt it in my poket—I was more than six days before I put in to the orders that he had resigned & the next officer was to act in his room—he has forced himself—his letter to me & my Certificat tells enough that we were upon as friendly terms as the differance of our ranks in the army would admit & permit us both to demonstrate in public. I h. th[e] [   ] to [be] yr [&c.]

Armand Mqs de la Rouerie

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