Ludwick’s background offered another interesting opportunity to serve the American cause: as a translator for captured Germans.
As many Germans, known as Hessians, were hired as mercenaries for the British army, Congress saw an opportunity to convince these hired hands to give up their fight. Ludwick was an ideal agent for such a mission. In August 1776, Ludwick rowed to Staten Island, posing as a deserter, and spoke glowingly of America to the Hessians he encountered.
Later, placed in charge of Hessian prisoners, Ludwick urged, “Let us take them to Philadelphia and there show them our fine German churches. Let them see how our tradesmen eat good beef, drink out of silver cups every day, and ride out in chairs every afternoon; and then let us send them back to their countrymen, and they will all soon run away, and come settle in our city…”2
Ludwick’s efforts proved successful, with some estimating that he was responsible for hundreds of Hessian desertions from the British army.