Ethis de Corny, Louis Dominique

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Ethis de Corny, Louis Dominique

ETHIS DE CORNY, LOUIS DOMINIQUE. (1736–1790). French commissary officer. After completing his law studies, he returned in 1754 to his birthplace, Metz, as an attorney. Under the name of Ethis de Novéant, he served from 1757 to 1762 as a cadet in the corps of war commissaries. He became secretary to the intendant of Franche-Comté in 1762 and later commissary of provincial war in Brittany and Normandy. He corresponded with Voltaire in the 1760s. In 1772 he purchased a position with the war commissary and served in that post from 1779 to 1780 under marshal de Vaux. As commissary of war he was sent to America with Lafayette when the latter returned in the spring of 1780, his assignment being to make preparations for Rochambeau's expeditionary force. On 5 June he received the rank of lieutenant colonel (later colonel) of American cavalry without command to facilitate his mission. He briefly returned to France in February 1781, supposedly because of bad health. Louis XVI named him principal commissary of war in June 1781. Washington commended him for his conduct at Yorktown. He left American service on 1 January 1782, became commissary of war of the Regiment of Swiss Guards (1784), and was appointed royal procureur général for the city of Paris in 1785. In 1787 he became a chevalier in the Order of Saint Louis. Corny supported Jefferson's efforts as minister to France, including the purchase of American flour and wheat by the City of Paris in 1788. He was an active supporter of the French Revolution in its early days yet eventually lost his fortune in it. William Short claimed that a resulting mental and emotional crisis led to his death.


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                              revised by Robert Rhodes Crout