George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Frederick Weissenfels, 21 February 1785

From Frederick Weissenfels

New York Febr: 21st 1785.


When I had the honor to be under your Comand, my Sufferings, were alleviated in your presence, I underwent the Fatigues of the different Campaingns with Pleasure, and when finished I returned with my Numerous Family to the Cottage, not without Some hopes, of being rewarded by my Country but my reward proved paper Notes Which from necessity of my Family I am obliged to Sell at 2/6 for Every 20/. What litle I had before I entered in the Service, I Spent during the Contest; I have been an inhabitant of this State for upwards of 20 Years, no notice is taken of me, and I have reason to believe by Cause I am a foringner, with patience I have borne this neglect. I now take Shelter under your Exellencys Pattronage and take the liberty to ask for no more then a Letter of recomendation, Such as your Exellency thinks propre to bestow on my Military Character, and perhaps abilietys, in ordre that I may awaile mySelf of the Bounty Congress has been pleased to grant to foringn Officers, Which will Ennable me, to offer my Services Elsewhere, I wass bred to a Militairy life from my infancy, in that Employ I probable muss End my Days, and Which is infinitely more desirable then to linger out a life of Neglect and disappointment.

I flatter my Self, Sir, you will pardon the liberty I have taken, and permit me with the Sincerest Esteem and respect to be Your Exellencys Most obiedient Humble Servant

Fredr. Weissenfels

I have to produce ample testimonials that I have Served in my Early days in the Prussian army and the States of Holland, from the latter, I Entered the last French Warr in the Brittish army and Came to this Country as a Comissiond officer. F:W:


Frederick Weissenfels, who began his military service in 1775 as captain of a company in the 1st New York Regiment, rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel and commanded the 4th New York Regiment in 1779. GW wrote Weissenfels on 15 Mar. 1785 asking for more information. Weissenfels responded on 27 Mar. with a testament of his services from Gov. George Clinton, and on 10 April GW sent Weissenfels the certificate he wished for. Weissenfels approached GW in 1787 for a recommendation, which GW refused to give, and in 1789 he again wrote to GW in the vain hope this time that GW would give him a job in the new federal government (see GW to Weissenfels, 10 Jan. 1788, and Weissenfels to GW, 2 May 1789).

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