Frederick William, Baron de Woedtke

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Frederick William, Baron de Woedtke (c. 1740 - July 28, 1776) was a Prussian officer who served in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.

Woedtke came to the new United States after the beginning of the American Revolution. He was said to have served for several years under Frederick II of Prussia, even though he was only twenty-six years old. Congress granted him a commission on 16 March 1776[1] as a brigadier general and assigned him to the army under General Philip Schuyler in New York.

En route to serve his new commission in April 1776, Woedtke accompanied Benjamin Franklin, who was on a diplomatic mission to Canada. Charles Carroll, a congressman from Maryland on the same mission, wrote that Frederick William was "not the best bred up by his Prussian Majesty."[2] This may have been a reference to Woedtke's alcoholism.[citation needed]

Baron de Woedtke broke company with the diplomatic mission after reporting to General Schuyler. The two generals joined Brigadier General John Thomas and set out to reinforce General Benedict Arnold in the siege of Quebec.

After the failure of the Canadian campaign, de Woedtke remained in New York. He was with the general council (which included Schuyler and Horatio Gates) that decided to abandon Fort Crown Point and consolidate at Mount Independence on the Vermont side of Lake Champlain.[3] He became ill in July 1776, possibly of smallpox, possibly from alcoholism. According to the letters of Horatio Gates and others who were with him, de Woedtke died at the Fort George military post near Lake George in late July 1776, shortly after that meeting; the Continental Congress used July 28 as the date his commission was terminated as the result of his death. De Woedtke was buried in an unmarked grave near Fort George.


  1. ^ Lossing, pg 123.
  2. ^ Ketchum, 16
  3. ^ Ketchum, 54

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