The French connection continued to play in John Bessac’s favor. Another French fleet under Monsieur de Ternay had arrived at a safe port; Newport, Rhode Island. It was a troop fleet delivering the land forces of Count de Rochambeau.
The brothers Bessac were acquainted with several officers of Ternay and Rochambeau. During several conversations with these officers they asked about Rufus Bessac. They were interested in obtaining the skills of a physician to help handle the wounded who were sure to need help. When told that he had unexpectedly died in the hospital at Cadiz they discovered that John Bessac had some medical skills. They attempted to enlist him as a surgeon.
John was aghast at the thought of using what little surgical skill he had. He only watched and read about surgery. Surely there must be a surgeon with the correct skills available. John made them aware that he was not properly skilled. The French officers imagined that their needs would outstrip the surgeons available. They begged John to sign on.
A compromise was made. John would help if he would be allowed additional time to observe other surgeons at practice. Also, he would be allowed to act as stand-in and only do surgery on his own if a real surgeon was unavailable.
John Bessac received a commission as assistant surgeon on the staff of Count Rochambeau without exacting the performance of active professional duty.
John’s commission as assistant surgeon was not called upon. He and his brother Baptiste continued to obtain provisions for the Continental Army. Business in Jersey City was good.
During these dealings he met and formed a friendship with Colonel Ephriam Nichols. The colonel was an ardent “Whig and Patriot” of the American cause from Dutchess County, New York. The colonel was heavily engaged in waging war with his Mother Country. He supported the American cause with the time, money and talents that God had made available to him.
Colonel Nichols accepted responsibility for the payment of goods and provisions deemed necessary by the Commissary General of the Continental Army. Hopefully, repayment would be received at a later date. Of course that all depended on the Americans becoming victorious in their rebellion. If not, then Colonel Nichols would end up without so much as an acre of property or a penny in his pocket, not to mention the specter of jail.
John Bessac obtained the goods for the Continental Army. Ephriam Nichols paid for those goods. A close business relationship was established.
The relationship between John Bessac and Colonel Nichols had yet another turn to take.