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First Name: Frederick

Last Name: de Woedtke


Gender: Male

Branch: Continental Army (1775 - 1784)

Middle Name: William

Date of Birth: 1740

Date of Death: 28 July 1776

Rank: Brigadier General

Years Served:
Frederick William de Woedtke

•  Revolutionary War (1775 - 1783)


Frederick William de Woedtke
Brigadier General, Continental Army

Frederick William de Woedtke was born in 1740 in Prussia.

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 and reached the rank of Major, even though he was only twenty-six years old. Congress granted him a commission on 16 March 1776 as a Brigadier General and assigned him to the Army under General Philip Schuyler in New York.

In April 1776, Woedtke traveled to Canada as a member of the diplomatic commission which included Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Chase, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, MD, and Father John Carroll to inquire of Montreal's citizens as to whether they would join the Revolution against Great Britain. During this mission, Charles Carroll wrote that De Woedtke was "not the best bred up by his Prussian Majesty," a possible reference to alcoholism.

After this unsuccessful mission, De Woedtke joined the Northern Army commanded by General Philip Schuyler and, with Brigadier General John Thomas, he commanded troops sent to reinforce Benedict Arnold in the siege of Quebec City.

After disease and expiring enlistments ended the siege of Quebec City, De Woedtke returned to the Northern Army. He was with the general council (which included General Schuyler and Horatio Gates) that decided (against the advice of Colonel John Stark and others) to abandon Crown Point on the New York side of Lake Champlain and consolidate American forces at Mount Independence on the Vermont side.

Brigadier General de Woedtke became ill in July, possibly of smallpox, possibly from alcoholism. According to the letters of Horatio Gates and others, De Woedtke died at the end of July, and the Continental Congress used July 28th as the date his commission was terminated by his death.

Death and Burial

Brigadier General Frederick William De Woedtke died on 28 July 1776 in Lake George, NY. He was buried in an unmarked grave near the Fort George military post, the area that is now the Lake George Battlefield Park.


Honoree ID: 2415   Created by: MHOH




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