George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Pierre Penet, 3 August 1776

From Pierre Penet

Nants [France] 3d Augt 1776

My General

I am pleased to present you my Respects, and to inform you of the Success of my Operations in France. I can assure you you need not fear the want of Amunition, I have found the Means to furnish your Armies, and to provide your Garrisons.1 There will go to you immediately four Subjects, two of which are of Distinction and great Merit, and who will deliver into proper hands the political State of France[,] England, Spain & Portugal. We wish every Success to your Arms, and also if possible that we may lend a hand. The Letter which will be sent to you by one of these Gentlemen, will inform you well of interesting and advantagious Circumstances which I cannot communicate to you but by them.

I have, my General a demand to make of you for a favor which I desire to obtain, and which I hope to merit; I have wrote concerning it to Docr Franklin, it is that you would grant me the Honour of the Title of your first Aid de Camp and that you would permit me to wear the Uniform and also the Ribbon. I ask no Pay, but the honour only of being in your Service, I hope you will grant me that favour in Consideration of my Attachment, and the desire I have to serve with Fidelity the Nation of the thirteen united Colonies of North America. I shall make my Residence in Nants, and dont intend to return to the Continent before the End of the War, my presence being necessary for your Operations and not being able to trust such secret Affairs but to myself[.] If I can be so happy as to be of any use to you, I am intirely at your Disposal. Doct. Franklin can forward your Letters to me, and also the Brevet of Aid de Camp which I hope you will not refuse me, and which I shall receive with the greatest pleasure.2 I beg my best Respects to Mad: Washington, and assure her that I have the honor to be my Genl her and your most hble Servt

P. Penet & Co.

Translation, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, enclosed in GW to Hancock, 7 Oct. 1776, DNA:PCC, item 152; ALS, in French, DLC:GW; copy of translation, DNA:PCC, item 169. The ALS is addressed to “Son excellence le Generalissime Monsieur de Wichenston A Cambridge.”

1For the contract that Penet and his partner Emmanuel de Pliarne negotiated with the Secret Committee of Congress during the previous winter to send military stores from France to America, see Nicholas Cooke to GW, 11 Dec., GW to Cooke, 14 Dec., GW to Hancock, 14 Dec. (second letter), Penet and Pliarne to GW, 18 Dec. 1775, and Pliarne to GW, c.11 Jan. 1776.

2GW received this letter on 6 Oct. and promptly recommended to Congress that Penet be given a brevet commission as one of his aides-de-camp (see GW to Hancock, 7 Oct. 1776, DNA:PCC, item 152). Congress approved Penet’s commission on 14 Oct. (see 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 , 6:869–70).

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