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Washington’s Congratulations

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II.  Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

October 20.— General Washington in his after orders of to-day, thus congratulates the army on the glorious event of yesterday:—The generous proofs which his most Christian Majesty has given of his attachment to the cause of America, must force conviction in the minds of the most deceived amongst the enemy, relatively to the decisive good consequences of the alliance, and inspire every citizen of these States with sentiments of the most unalterable gratitude. His fleet, the most numerous and powerful that ever appeared in these seas, commanded by an admiral, whose fortune and talents ensure great events—an army of the most admirable composition both in officers and men, are the pledges of his friendship to the United States, and their co-operation has ensured us the present signal success.

The general, upon this occasion, entreats his Excellency Count de Rochambeau to accept his most grateful acknowledgments for his counsels and assistance at all times. He presents his warmest thanks to the Generals Baron de Viomenil, Chevalier Chastellux, Marquis de Simon, and Count de Viomenil, and to Brigadier-General de Choisey, who had a separate command, for the illustrious manner in which they have advanced the interest of the common cause.

He requests that Count de Rochambeau will be pleased to communicate to the army under his immediate command, the high sense he entertains of the distinguished merits of the officers and soldiers of every corps, and that he will present, in his name, to the regiments of Agenois and Deuxponts, the two pieces of brass ordnance captured by them, as a testimony of their gallantry in storming the enemy’s redoubt on the night of the 14th instant, when officers and men so universally vied with each other in the exercise of every soldier-like virtue.

The general’s thanks to each individual of merit, would comprehend the whole army; but he thinks himself bound, however, by affection, duty, and gratitude, to express his obligations to Major-Generals Lincoln, De la Fayette, and Steuben, for their dispositions in the trenches; to General du Portal, and Colonel Carney, for the vigor and knowledge which were conspicuous in their conduct of the attacks; and to General Knox, and Colonel de Iberville, for their great care, attention, and fatigue, in bringing forward the artillery and stores, and for their judicious and spirited management of them in the parallels.

He requests the gentlemen before mentioned to communicate his thanks to the officers and soldiers of their respective commands.

Ingratitude, which the general hopes never to be guilty of, would be conspicuous in him was he to omit thanking, in the warmest terms, his Excellency Governor Nelson, for the aid he has derived from him, and from the militia under his command, to whose activity, emulation, and courage, much applause is due. The greatness of the acquisition will be an ample compensation for the hardships and hazards which they encountered with so much patriotism and firmness.

In order to infuse the general joy through every breast, the general orders that those men belonging to the army who may now be in confinement, shall be pardoned, released, and join their respective corps.

Divine service is to be performed to-morrow in the several brigades or divisions. The commander-in-chief earnestly recommends that the troops not on duty should universally attend, with that seriousness of deportment and gratitude of heart which the recognition of such reiterated and astonishing interposition of Providence, demands of us.1


1 New York Packet, November 15.