General Joseph Martin Chapter

Cumberland Gap, TN

 


Cumberland Gap Patriot



Christopher Ludwick

During the American Revolutionary war, the Continental army had many Generals, but did you know that they had a Baker General whose only responsibility was to bake bread?
Bread was the most important food source for the Continental Soldier. Every day whenever bread was available, each soldier was given an allotment of a one pound loaf of bread. The bread was so hard that it could only be eaten after dipped in warm water or soup.
      One loaf  of a bread was so hard, it actually saved the life of a Continental soldier in battle. On January 3, 1776,during the battle of Princeton, Isaac Crandell, a private in the Rhode Island Continental line was shot in the back by a British soldier. The musket ball entered Crandell's knapsack and lodged itself  in a loaf a bread that Crandell was carrying in his knapsack, knocking Crandell to the ground  Without knowing it, Crandell had probably accidently developed America's first bullet proof vest. When Crandell got up and dusted himself off, the British soldier ran away in fright.
  In 1777, Christopher Ludwick became the first Baker General of the Continental army.Ludwick was born in Griessen Germany on October 17, 1720. As a child, Ludwick apprenticed under his father to learn the skills of a Baker.
 Atthe age of 17, Ludwick joined the Austrian army. In 1737, Ludwick participated in the Austro- Turkish war. In 1718, after the treaty of Passarowitz, Austria was in control of northern Serbia and Belgrade. In 1737, Austrian Forces invaded Bosnia which was part of the Turkish Ottoman empire. In 1739, the Ottoman forces defeated the Austrian army forcing them to retreat in a forced march back to Vienna.  Ludwick barely made it back to Vienna alive. During this march,75 men out of the100 men in Ludwick's company died before reaching Vienna.
  In 1740, Ludwick moved to England, and joined the British Navy. Between 1740-1745. Ludwick sailed on the Duke of Cumberland as the ship's cook and baker. In 1745, Ludwick had  enough of Navy life and quit the Britsh Navy.
  In 1754, Ludwick sailed to Philadelphia PA from England. Upon arrival, Ludwick started the first gingerbread bakery in Philadelphia. In 1755, Ludwick married Catherine England, and had one child from this union that later died while as a child.   Between 1755-1774, Ludwick invested in Real estate becoming a wealthy man. In 1774, Ludwick gave 200 pounds to the PA militia to buy guns and gunpowder.
 In 1776, Ludwick joined the Continental army under one condition, that he not be paid for his services while in the army. Ludwick was a true patriot. His first job was to interview Hessian prisoners taken at the battle of Saratoga since he spoke German. Ludwick brought the Hessians bread from his bakery and convinced many of them to defect  from the British army, and join the Continental army.
 Later that year in 1777, Ludwick became the first Baker General of the Continental army. At Valley Forge from December 1777-June 1778, Ludwick made sure that each soldier had his daily ration of Firecake bread. In 1779 at the Morristown Winter encampment, Continental soldiers sometimes went as long as eight days without any bread or food due to the lack of flour. Farmers in the Delaware valley nearby charged such outrageous prices for wheat the Continental army couldn't afford to feed everyone.
 In October 1781, Ludwick was responsible for feeding the British prisoners taken at Yorktown. Over 6000 loaves of bread were made each day for the British prisoners.
     After the war Ludwick went back to Philadelphia to find that the British had burned all his real estate holdings and stolen most of his goods. Ludwick was now penniless. This didn't stop Ludwick though. With some partners, Ludwick started a new bakery, invested in real estate again helping him to become wealthy for a second time.
 Ludwick was a very religious man. Ludwick wore a medallion that stated " the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin". During the 1790's Ludwick fed the poor hungry people of Philadelphia at the same time witnessing to them about his religion
 In 1798, Ludwick married Sophia binder after his wife Catherine died. On June 10, 1801 Ludwick died in Philadelphia. Before Ludwick died he set up a trust under the name of the Ludwick Foundation of  over 13000  dollars so that poor people could go to school. During the 1790's Ludwick had started a school for former slaves so they could go to school as well. Today the trust has grown to over 5 million dollars to help poor people go to College. Through Ludwick's generous giving even people in the Appalachian region have applied for grants through the Ludwick Foundation so they can earn an education in College.

 


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