George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lieutenant Colonel Holtzendorff, 16 August 1777

From Lieutenant Colonel Holtzendorff

Philadelphia the 16th of august 1777.
at Mistress Sword house Lodge Alley.1


My Sincerest Mind to Serve usefully the American United States in my rank, engaged me to require lately of your Excellency that Place of Lt Colonel, now vacant in the Regiment of Baron arendt; But as the Regulations of the advancements in the Corps are contrary to it, in the mean while desiring to be really Serviceable, I have conceived the Project to publish a General Essay upon the King’s of Prussia Tactics.

This essential Work, Effect of my Experience in the Service of my native Country until 1744; of whom I have the honour to adress the Prospectus to Your Excellency,2 will inable you to judge of my militar Knowledges, and fix the manner of which Your Excellency may employe me afterward.

Being besides very desirous to merit your Suffrage, I beg Your Excellency to permit that my Work can appear under your Protection, and hoping that you will like my homage I’ll expect Your answerd to the End to publish immediately in English the said Prospectus.

In the same time I beg your Excellency to Send me your order for the General of the division, to which you are intended to adhere me, and so soon as I’ll receive my Bagage, which I Expect incessantly, I shall go over to your army. I am with respect Sir, of your Excellency most obedient humble servant

Baron holtzendorff

ALS, PHi: Gratz Collection.

Louis-Casimir, baron de Holtzendorff (b. 1728) was a German-speaking native of Prussia serving in the French army who in November 1776 contracted with Silas Deane to serve as a lieutenant colonel in the Continental army (see list of officers, enclosed in Deane to the Continental Congress secret committee, 6 Dec. 1776, in Isham, Deane Papers description begins Charles Isham, ed. The Deane Papers. 5 vols. New York, 1887-91. In Collections of the New-York Historical Society, vols. 19–23. description ends , 1:404–6). In his letter of introduction to the Continental Congress secret committee of 6 Feb. 1777, Deane says that Holtzendorff had “served the last war in Germany, and with reputation. Gentlemen of first character in the army here have recommended him, as an excellent officer both for skill and bravery. . . . He leaves a Major’s post here in the army of France, hoping by his services in America to advance himself beyond what he can expect in Europe in a time of peace” (ibid., 482). Holtzendorff, who had arrived in Philadelphia only recently, resigned his commission in January 1778 and returned to France.

1Lodge Alley in Philadelphia, “where the Free Masons met, and where entertainments were often given,” stood just to the north of City Tavern on the west side of Second Street between Chestnut and Walnut streets (Ward, “South Second Street,” 55).

2The enclosed “Prospectur Essay Général sur La Tactique Prussienne orné de Planches” is in DLC:GW.

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