Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Henry Emanuel Lutterloh, 3 January 1777

From Henry Emanuel Lutterloh9

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Paris Jany the 3d 1777.


Yesterday I forgot to acquaint You, that my journey is undertaken unknown to any body, and to do it properly to avoid all manner of inquiry and Suspition, I traveled to here under my Mothers family Name as Monsieur de Luders, and I told my friends in Holland I did go back to Wittgenstein to my Recruits. Therefore would beg to call Me so in your direction if a Note is Send to me as below.

Nobody knowes Me here, nor do they know I am an officer.

I thought, and am still of opinion, that if anny thing should be undertaken in Germany or in the North, it ought to be kept a profound Secrat.

On my part every Service which I undertake and promisse to do, shall be faithfully, and exactly executed, according to the Commands with which you honour Me. I have served all the late War from a Leutn. to a Major, and was two Campaygns an Aide Camp, and Brigade Major to His Serene Highness Prince Ferdinand, So that I know that business. After the War was over I was Send an Agent for the Reigning Deuke of Brunswick to the Court of London, So that I acquainted with the Ministeriale affairs liekewise. And that I was where I had the honour to be acquainted with you in London! And if I had not left that Servize i should bee a Colonell in the Brunswick Servize and Marched with his Troops.

I must liekewise tell you, it would be a great difficulty to get Men and officers out of Germany without leave of the Severall Princes and Reiging Counts, but those I have already got with great Espences and are Established with so Maney officers. And as Your Country allways will Want Men, even to Supply the present Losses, I think such an Establishment worth any Attention. I could liekewise form hereafter maney other plans. Having the honour to be with great Respect, Sir Your Most obedient and most humble Servant

H E Lutterloh.

My direction is Pour Monsieur de Lüders. a l’hotell de Espagne Rue Dauphine

Notation: Coll Lutteloch Paris Jan. 3. 1777.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9A retired German major, despite the notation on this letter, who rose to be an American colonel. On Jan. 8 he wrote again to BF, along with the other commissioners, to repeat his request and enclose another account of his past career; it added that he had married and resigned his commission while in England, and in 1776 had done some recruiting, apparently for Brunswick, but had abandoned it. He offered, if commissioned colonel, to raise a regiment or more in Germany, and to take charge of American propaganda there. On Jan. 21 he suggested to the commissioners that, if they bought a ship and provided him funds, he would man her with the best of his Germans and load her with good rifles. All these letters are in the APS.

On Jan. 23 BF gave him a letter of introduction to his old friend, Michael Hillegas, and soon afterward money for his trip. Hillegas to BF, March 17, 1778, Hist. Soc. of Pa.; entry under Feb. 8, 1777, Waste Book. The Major arrived in Nantes without enough funds, and did not finally sail until late March. JW to BF below, March 6, 25. In May he joined the American army, where he was soon promoted to colonel and made a deputy quartermaster general. He served throughout the war, and afterward settled in the United States and was instrumental in founding the German Society in New York. Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, VIII, 145, 179–81, 328; XI, 102; Lutterloh to Mifflin, Oct. 16, 1777, National Archives; Annual Report of the German Society of the City of New York for the Year 1883 (New York, 1884), pp. 6–7.

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