Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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DU COUDRAY, Philippe Charles Jean Baptiste Tronson, French soldier, born in Rheims, France, 8 September 1738: died in the United States, 11 September 1777. He was educated in the army as a mining engineer, and evinced such unusual talent that he was promoted, over the heads of 180 senior officers, for services in Corsica. He was adjutant general of artillery, and ranked as one of the best military engineers in France, when. in 1'776, he offered his services to Silas Deane and Benjamin Franklin, who were then engaging officers for the American army. An arrangement was therefore entered into by which Du Coudray, on condition of his furnishing certain supplies, was to receive a commission as major general in the American service, with the command of the artillery. On his arrival in this country, he claimed that the right to command the engineers was included in this arrangement. General Knox (at that time at the head of the artillery), General Sullivan, General Greene, and other American officers, were greatly dissatisfied with the negotiations of Franklin and Dearie, and threatened to resign in case congress should ratify them. This was not done, and the matter finally dropped. Du Coudray was appointed inspector general, with the rank of major general, 11 August 1777, and placed in charge of the works on the Delaware. While he was hastening as a volunteer to the battle of the Brandywine, his horse, becoming restive on a ferryboat as he was crossing the Schuylkill, plunged with him into the River, and he was drowned.
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