George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Nicholas Cooke, 23 February 1776

To Nicholas Cooke

Cambridge 23d February 1776


this will be handed to you by the Barron of Woedtke, who was by distress of weather drove on shore at Cape Cod, he was bound from St Domingo to Philadelphia, to offer his Service & deliver Some Letters he has for different Members of Congress—as he is a gentleman & a Stranger I reccomend him to your hospitality & politeness—your attention must be very acceptable & advantagious to him, giveing him the Shortest & best rout, & takeing Care that he will not be imposed upon, will Confer an obligation on him & be vastly pleasing to Sir Your Most Obt H. St1

Go: Washington

LS, in Stephen Moylan’s writing, owned (1981) by Frank S. Schwarz & Son, Philadelphia.

1Frederick William, baron de Woedtke (c.1740–1776), formerly a major in the Prussian army and a captain and inspector of cavalry in the French service, was given a high character in the letters of recommendation that he brought from Paris. On 16 Mar. 1776 Congress appointed Woedtke a brigadier general and ordered him to Canada, where it was hoped his ability to speak French and other languages would be useful. Woedtke did not live up to his recommendations. He squandered the money that Congress advanced him and died at Lake George on 28 July 1776 from “the effects of hard drinking” (Benjamin Rush to Jacques Barbeu Dubourg, 16 Sept. 1776, in Butterfield, Rush Letters description begins L. H. Butterfield, ed. Letters of Benjamin Rush. 2 vols. Princeton, N.J., 1951. description ends , 1:110–12).

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