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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-01-02-02-0007-0003-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1777-09-18

1777. Septr. 18. Thursday.

The violent N.E. Storm which began the Day before Yesterday continues. We are yet in Philadelphia, that Mass of Cowardice and Toryism. Yesterday was buryed Monsr. Du Coudray, a French Officer of Artillery, who was lately made an Inspector General of Artillery and military Manufactures with the Rank of Major General. He was drowned in the Schuylkill, in a strange manner. He rode into the Ferry Boat, and road out at the other End, into the River, and was drowned. His Horse took fright. He was reputed the most learned and promising Officer in France. He was carried into the Romish Chappell, and buried in the Yard of that Church.
This Dispensation will save Us much Altercation.1
1. Much altercation had, however, preceded this event. On Philippe Tronson du Coudray, a French artillery officer and prolific writer on artillery science, see Lasseray, Les français sous les treize étoiles , 2:444–454. By agreement with { 264 } Silas Deane in France, Du Coudray expected to be appointed major general and to take command of the Continental artillery upon his arrival in America in April 1777. This prospect outraged Generals Knox, Greene, and Sullivan and led them to threaten resignation of their commands. JA , distressed about what to do with Du Coudray, was much more distressed by the American generals' behavior. See JA to Nathanael Greene, 7 July 1777, LbC , Adams Papers; RC printed by Bernhard Knollenberg, with valuable comments, in R.I. Hist., 1:78–81 (July 1942). Lafayette described Du Coudray's death as “peutetre un heureux accident” (Lasseray, 2:452).