DescriptionCharles Hector, Comte d'Estaing, Letter Signed. One page in French, 8" x 12.5", in French, Versailles, March 31, 1778. The famous French naval officer signs this copied extract of a letter regarding French naval affairs only weeks after the French officially allied with the Americans against the British. In part: "The engineer Gautier, a geographer, has left to join you: from the 1st of April, he will have the use of 250 . . . per month that he had from the War Department as an employee of the Campaign; I had him pay . . . 400 . . . for his journey." Two weeks later, d'Estaing commanded a fleet departing Toulon with orders to cross the Atlantic and aid America against the British.
France officially allied with the Americans in the Treaty of Alliance, signed February 6, 1778. Consequently, Great Britain declared war on France and hostilities between the two powerful nations quickly erupted. France's naval participation was important since the British naval fleet was the largest and most dynamic in the world. On April 13, 1778, Comte d'Estaing (1729-1794) and his fleet of twelve ships of the line left France for the New York harbor. He remained active in the North American waters until wounded in late 1779, when he subsequently returned to France on crutches. France's aid, including the efforts of experienced naval commanders like comte d'Estaing, proved vital to the American victory. This letter is toned with minor stains. Pencil and ink notations appear in the lower margin; a pencil mark also appears below the signature and another in the upper left corner.
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