Benjamin Franklin Papers

From Benjamin Franklin to George Washington, 24 August 1777

To George Washington

ALS: Library of Congress

Paris, Aug. 24. 1777.


M. de Knobelauch, who will have the Honour of delivering this to you, is recommended to me as an Officer of much Experience, and capable of rendring good Service in our Armies if employ’d. He goes over at his own Expence, and without any Promise from me, as indeed we are not authoris’d to give any: But I beg leave to recommend him to your Excellency’s Notice, and to such Employment as you may find it convenient to give him.8 With great Respect I have the honour to be Your Excellency’s most obedient humble Servant

B Franklin

Gen. Washington

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8Baron de Knobelauch was a Brandenburger of old family, a veteran of the Seven Years’ War who had been in Russia and Denmark before deciding to enter the American service in some capacity; he took with him an offer from the Prussian consul at Nantes to sell a frigate and military supplies: Knobelauch to Congress, July 27, 1778, National Archives. Congress referred parts of this proposal to various committees. The Baron himself got nowhere. He was refused a commission, his money began to run out, and he appealed incessantly for help. He must somehow have made himself useful, for Congress in 1779 authorized paying him $10,000 for his expenses and to get him back to Europe. Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, XIV, 209–10; JCC, XI, 778; XV, 1070.

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