Why hire Hessian troops?

Why hire Hessian troops?


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During the American Independence War the British army made use of mercenaries hired from various German state (About 30,000 German soldiers fought for the British during the American Revolutionary War, making up a quarter of all the soldiers the British sent to America).

Why? Were the Hessians better?


The British army simply didn't have enough soldiers available when the war started. Per the Wikipedia page, their total military strength was around 45,000 men, and Lord North and General Howe didn't think this was nearly enough to succeed. Toward this end, the parliament authorized the raising of 55,000 soldiers and 45,000 sailors in October of 17751.

The problem was, where do you find the man-power to more than double the size of your armed forces quickly? Recruiting in England at the time was extremely difficult and the British military was volunteer at that point. AmericanRevolution.org notes:

Throughout the war the government experienced great difficulty in obtaining sufficient men for the ranks. Again and again it was found impossible to complete the augmentation voted by parliament. The correspondence of the adjutant general, Edward Harvey, is burdened with complaints about the state of the recruiting. "Sad work everywhere in recruiting," he writes in December, 1775. "In these damned times we must exert zeal." The competition for recruits among the various regiments was intense. Some of them, not satisfied with such able-bodied men as they could secure by hook or crook, enlisted invalids and out-pensioners. Not a little ill-feeling was aroused among the militia officers by attempts to enlist their levies as well. Prior to 1775 Roman Catholics as a rule had been excluded from the ranks; but now those in Connaught and Munster were gladly welcomed. Recruiting parties were even sent into the American colonies. As is well known the paucity of men led not merely to the hiring of the Hessians, but to the recruiting of many Germans into British regiments. In 1775 bootless attempts were made to procure 20,000 mercenaries from Russia and the use of a Scottish brigade in the pay of Holland. These facts strikingly illustrate the appalling scarcity of available fighting men.

The decision to hire auxiliaries was not only driven by that necessity, it was also perfectly normal for the British military at the time:

All British wars in that century had been fought by contracting with continental princes. The officers in America expected this to happen. Gage recommended hiring foreigners. Captain William Glanville Evelyn of the 4th (King's Own) wrote to his cousin that the assistance of foreign troops would be highly politic and of these Russians were 'the most eligible, not only as being good soldiers, but by their not having any connections in this country, and from not understanding the language, they are less likely to be seduced by the artifice and intrigue of these holy hypocrits'.2

Note in both of the above quotations that the German mercenaries were not really the preference of the British as much as available to the British. Frederick II of Hesse-Kassel was not only more than willing to rent out soldiers to whoever could pay for them, but was also George III's nephew. Whether that eased the negotiations is hard to say, but at a price-tag of over £3,000,000 I would have to think it was more a business than family affair. This wasn't without controversy in either Hesse-Kassel or England:

Nor did this measurement escape severe animadversion in the British Parliament. It was warmly censured by many members of the opposition, especially by Mr. Adair and Mr. Dunning, who maintained that, in engaging the services of foreign mercenaries without the previous consent of parliament, ministers had violated the provision of the Bill of Rights, and by this infringement of the Constitution they had set a precedent which might be made available by some future arbitrary monarch to the destruction of the liberties of the country.3

1 Blake, Rev J. L. - A History of the American Revolution, p 177

2 Atwood, Rodney - The Hessians, p 23-4

3 Shepherd, William - A History of the American Revolution, p 87


As a broad generality, Britain is a naval power, not an infantry power. Britain is protect by "wooden walls". At the time of the US war for independence, Britain had just completed the Seven Years War and was trying to demobilize the officers from that war; Britain couldn't afford to pay half pay to their retired officers let along staff up a new military that could fight in America.

Strategically speaking Britain couldn't achieve its military objectives with a Navy. Britain needed to exert control over the colonies, extract wealth from the colonies, and develop a land policy that incorporated the settlement of demobilized Naval officers.

  1. Exert control - critical strategic objective, but of little relevance to your question. It is worth observing that Parliament had only been sovereign since around 1700, and had only been managing an empire since about 1750.

  2. Extract wealth from the colonies - The colonists were far better at smuggling than the British navy was at suppressing smuggling. And ultimately the colonists could ignore any interdiction and just live off the land. There were substantial numbers of the colonists who were content with the opportunity to own, develop and farm land - an opportunity that was categorically impossible in England. The only way to extract wealth was to exert strong executive control, and that requires infantry/cavalry/artillery.

  3. Develop a land policy that accommodated not only the need to resettle demobilized Naval officers, but that respected the rights of the Native Americans. Britain had treaties with the Native Americans, and one of the causes of revolution was the colonial's refusal to abide by those treaties. Unless Britain developed an effective monopoly on the use of force in the colonies, there was no way that Britain could enforce their treaty obligations.

Hessians solved all those problems - they were far more skilled than a comparable British force would be (Britain would have to recruit and train to field a force that size) and they were far cheaper than staffing up an infantry (that would have to be demobilized at some point),


In 1776, Britain had a population of 9 million (and numerous commitments all over the world). "America" had a population of 3 million. This compares to 25 million in France, and an even larger number in "Germany" (taking into account all the German states). With "only" a three to one numerical advantage, diluted by the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, England would have a hard time defeating "America" by herself.

On the other hand, Britain was richer than France or Germany (on a per capita basis). Hence, they had a "comparative advantage" in money, and a comparative disadvantage in manpower, and it made sense for them to pay money to hire other countries' men to fight for them. If it were not for the "extra" men we got from France, the extra men that the Germans provided probably would have made the difference in England's favor.


It may be noted that although popular US history often describes Great Britain as the mightiest power in the world at the time, Britain was rather puny in the size and power of its army.

The Chinese Empire and some other Asian powers had armies in the hundreds of thousands, and at least four European powers, France, Russia, Austria, and Prussia, also had armies in the hundreds of thousands and far better trained and equipped than Asian ones. Thus the major military powers of Europe had armies at least four or five times larger than Britain's.

Minor powers like the larger German states often had armies in the tens of thousands, and thus roughly in the same league as the British army.

Landgrave ("count of an entire land") Frederick of Hesse-Kassel sent the largest contingent of "Hessian" allies, but there were also troops from other states.

They included Hesse-Hanau, ruled by a son of Frederick of Hesse-Kassel, the Margravites ("border counties") of Brandenburg-Ansbach and Brandenburg-Bayreuth (ruled by a cousin of the King of Prussia), the Principality of Anhalt-Zerbst (ruled by the brother of Empress Catherine the Great of Russsia), The Principality of Waldeck, the Duchy of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel (ruled by a cousin of King George III), and the electorate of Brunswick-Luneburg (Hanover) where negotiations were made easier by the Elector being King George III himself.

What the British really needed was to ally with one of the major military powers, such as France, Russia, Austria, or Prussia, to get a really large reinforcing army, but that did not happen.

The French were soon allied with the Americans, the Austrians were technically allies of the French and might possibly also have supported the Americans in slightly different circumstances, Austria and Prussia were distracted in 1777 by fighting the brief "Potato War", and the League of Armed Neutrality in 1780-1783, protesting the British searches of neutral shipping, eventually included Russia, Sweden/Finland, Denmark/Norway, Prussia, Austria, the Ottoman Empire, and both Sicilies, almost every major European state that wasn't already allied to or at war with Britain.


As a child in 1950's Britain, my school taught that the American Revolution was a revolution of Englishmen in America to preserve their historic liberties and rights against the attempt by the German (Hanoverian) King Georges I-III to impose a European-style monarchy on Britain. The story was that many British soldiers and even officers refused to go to America to fight fellow Englishmen trying to preserve the historic rights of Englishmen in Britain and North America. Hence the King's need for loyal "German" troops.


Is The Star-Spangled Banner racist?

The objective genius writers and editors at Salon.com &ndash supported by a lecturer in the Department of African-American studies at the University of Maryland who really should know better &ndash are busy parroting the latest far-left Only Black Lives Matter non-historians who have recently discovered pro-slavery references in what is now being claimed to be a racist National Anthem. And they'd be right, too, except that's not what Francis Scott Key was writing about. Not at all. Salon might be forgiven for not knowing this, but Professor Jason Nichols really should (and possibly does) know better.

The verse in question reads:

No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave

What Francis Scott Key was not referring to was a group of American black chattel slaves fighting for the British. What he was referring to were the 30,000-plus mercenary soldiers from the German principality of Hesse &ndash which is why they were called Hessians &ndash as well as the German principality of Kassel, who unwillingly became cannon-fodder for British King George III (himself a German by heritage). They served against their will in the British expeditionary army for much of the Revolutionary War, fighting American patriots a generation before the War of 1812. These men, conscripted by their prince and shipped off to America (for a hefty fee), had no choice in the matter of being sent to fight Washington's army.

Our revolutionaries referred to them contemptuously as slaves, because they had no choice in the matter of service, and hirelings because their services could be sold to the highest bidder. Hessian soldiers had largely been press-ganged into service, and deserters were routinely and summarily executed. Many Hessians who survived desertion, or who lasted out until the end of the Revolution, chose to stay in America. Here, they became farmers, shopkeepers, tradesmen, craftsmen &ndash and Americans.

A generation later, when the British once again tried to reintegrate their former colonies into their empire, it was a common belief among American patriots of 1812 that this latest levy of British soldiers were also bought and paid for, involuntarily serving mercenaries &ndash hence, as the song said, men who were hireling and slave.

A lack of any basic understanding of America's founding history, 1775-1815, could lead someone who had legitimate reasons to hate slavery to conflate these Germans, press-ganged involuntary (i.e., slaves) and soldiers for hire (hirelings), with African-American chattel slaves who some claim served with the British in 1812. However, the British Army in America was a professional army, who, at the same time they were fighting the United States, were also putting the end to Napoleon's dreams of empire. These professional warriors had no use for soldiers who were untrained, inexperienced escaped agricultural workers, except as manual laborers. Some escaped slaves, however, served as Royal Navy apprentice sailors &ndash the Royal Navy still used press-gangs, and it was always prepared to provide enforced-by-the-cat-o'-nine-tails on-the-job training for willing (or unwilling) apprentice seamen.

What Francis Scott Key wrote about so contemptuously in his heroic poem, which was only later put to music, was not black sailors who may have come from America, or from the West Indies, or indeed from other current or former slave-holding countries. Instead, Key reflected the common American conceit that this latter-day generation's British soldiers in 1812 &ndash many of whom were indeed from the European Continent, as well as from a variety of other non-British nationalities &ndash were in fact another levy of press-ganged mercenaries, not at all different from the contemptible Hessian "hireling and slave" of the Revolutionary War era.

We shouldn't be amazed that activists &ndash who make no pretentions about being historical scholars &ndash would glom onto a turn of phrase like "hireling and slave" and just assume that it refers to African-American chattel slaves, despite the fact that those slaves were not hirelings. When presumably educated writers at Salon parrot this notion, it's problematic. When a lecturer at the University of Maryland also parrots such nonsense, on Tucker Carlson Tonight (11/8/17), those who love history need to hunker down for a long, ignorant siege.

One more thing: I'd like to offer some background on Jason Nichols, but his bio page on the University of Maryland Department of African-American Studies website is blank.

Ned Barnett studied American history and communications in college and has been an on-camera historian on nine History Channel programs. He has also written a series of historically accurate novels about air combat during the first year of the Pacific War, available on Amazon. He owns Barnett Marketing Communications in Nevada (barnettmarcom.com).

The objective genius writers and editors at Salon.com &ndash supported by a lecturer in the Department of African-American studies at the University of Maryland who really should know better &ndash are busy parroting the latest far-left Only Black Lives Matter non-historians who have recently discovered pro-slavery references in what is now being claimed to be a racist National Anthem. And they'd be right, too, except that's not what Francis Scott Key was writing about. Not at all. Salon might be forgiven for not knowing this, but Professor Jason Nichols really should (and possibly does) know better.

The verse in question reads:

No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave

What Francis Scott Key was not referring to was a group of American black chattel slaves fighting for the British. What he was referring to were the 30,000-plus mercenary soldiers from the German principality of Hesse &ndash which is why they were called Hessians &ndash as well as the German principality of Kassel, who unwillingly became cannon-fodder for British King George III (himself a German by heritage). They served against their will in the British expeditionary army for much of the Revolutionary War, fighting American patriots a generation before the War of 1812. These men, conscripted by their prince and shipped off to America (for a hefty fee), had no choice in the matter of being sent to fight Washington's army.

Our revolutionaries referred to them contemptuously as slaves, because they had no choice in the matter of service, and hirelings because their services could be sold to the highest bidder. Hessian soldiers had largely been press-ganged into service, and deserters were routinely and summarily executed. Many Hessians who survived desertion, or who lasted out until the end of the Revolution, chose to stay in America. Here, they became farmers, shopkeepers, tradesmen, craftsmen &ndash and Americans.

A generation later, when the British once again tried to reintegrate their former colonies into their empire, it was a common belief among American patriots of 1812 that this latest levy of British soldiers were also bought and paid for, involuntarily serving mercenaries &ndash hence, as the song said, men who were hireling and slave.

A lack of any basic understanding of America's founding history, 1775-1815, could lead someone who had legitimate reasons to hate slavery to conflate these Germans, press-ganged involuntary (i.e., slaves) and soldiers for hire (hirelings), with African-American chattel slaves who some claim served with the British in 1812. However, the British Army in America was a professional army, who, at the same time they were fighting the United States, were also putting the end to Napoleon's dreams of empire. These professional warriors had no use for soldiers who were untrained, inexperienced escaped agricultural workers, except as manual laborers. Some escaped slaves, however, served as Royal Navy apprentice sailors &ndash the Royal Navy still used press-gangs, and it was always prepared to provide enforced-by-the-cat-o'-nine-tails on-the-job training for willing (or unwilling) apprentice seamen.

What Francis Scott Key wrote about so contemptuously in his heroic poem, which was only later put to music, was not black sailors who may have come from America, or from the West Indies, or indeed from other current or former slave-holding countries. Instead, Key reflected the common American conceit that this latter-day generation's British soldiers in 1812 &ndash many of whom were indeed from the European Continent, as well as from a variety of other non-British nationalities &ndash were in fact another levy of press-ganged mercenaries, not at all different from the contemptible Hessian "hireling and slave" of the Revolutionary War era.

We shouldn't be amazed that activists &ndash who make no pretentions about being historical scholars &ndash would glom onto a turn of phrase like "hireling and slave" and just assume that it refers to African-American chattel slaves, despite the fact that those slaves were not hirelings. When presumably educated writers at Salon parrot this notion, it's problematic. When a lecturer at the University of Maryland also parrots such nonsense, on Tucker Carlson Tonight (11/8/17), those who love history need to hunker down for a long, ignorant siege.

One more thing: I'd like to offer some background on Jason Nichols, but his bio page on the University of Maryland Department of African-American Studies website is blank.


Why hire Hessian troops? - History

The U.S. Army Military History Institute (MHI) has a file that often shows up in search engines as "HESSIANS.DOC." This file, as explained below, is a summary of MHI's holding regarding Hessian troops. However, most search engines have an old address for the file - the new one is http://carlisle-www.army.mil/usamhi/Bibliographies/RefBibs/RevolutinaryWar/.

The file is an Microsoft Word file, but I done a crude translation into HTML, which is below.

HERE IS THE MHI's INTRODUCTION TO THESE FILES:

U.S. Army Military History Institute
ATTN: Historical Reference Branch
22 Ashburn Drive, Carlisle Barracks
Carlisle, PA 17013-5008
MHI Reference Bibliographies

MHI's Reference Bibliographies, or RefBibs, as they are more commonly known, constitute the most complete summary of MHI's holdings in existence. While primarily focused on the Library holdings of the Institute, there are pointers to the resources of the Archives and Special Collections Branches.

NOTE: These bibliographies are, for the time being, only available as the original MS-Word documents. Please bear with us until we find an appropriate Word-to-HTML converter.

Some of our holdings may be borrowed through interlibrary loan procedures, which you must initiate at your local library. Up to six items at a time may be borrowed for 60 days. (Noncirculating materials include periodicals, manuscripts, books published before 1940, many unit histories, and rare and hard-to-replace books). Please note we are a lender of last resort, which means we do not loan materials that are readily available elsewhere. Our loan service does not extend to overseas patrons unless the request is for U.S. government official business and is initiated at at U.S. government library.

Our photocopying charges are $10.00 for the first ten pages of copying and $.25 for each additional page up to 300 pages per patron per calendar year. Checks or money orders should be made payable to "Defense Accounting Officer", but mailed directly to the Military History Institute at the above address. Residents of other nations should pay in U.S. currency with an international money order or a check that will clear through U.S. banks.

HERE IS THE HESSIANS.DOC FILE IN HTML:

RefBranch
dv Aug 88, Dec 94

GERMAN MERCENARIES ("HESSIANS") IN REV WAR

A Bibliography of MHI Sources

CONTENTS
Gen/Misc. p.1
Unit Perspectives. p.2
Personal Perspectives. p.2
Uniform/Equipment. p.4
Prisoners of War. p.5
Of Related Interest. p.6

Andrews, Melodie. "'Myrmidons from Abroad': The Role of the German Mercenary in the Coming of American Independence." PhD dss, U of Houston, 1986. 465 p. E268A52.

Atwood, Rodney. The Hessians: Mercenaries from Hessen-Kassel in the American Revolution. Cambridge, Eng: Cambridge U, 1980. 292 p. E268A89.

Eelking, Max von. The German Allied Troops in North American War of Independence, 1776-83. Trans from Ger. Baltimore: Genealogical, 1969. 360 p. E268E262.

Faust, Albert B. The German Element in the United States: With Special Reference to Its Political, Moral, Social, and Educational Influence. Vol I. NY: Houghton Mifflin, 1909. pp. 349-56. E184G3F3v1.

Greene, George W. The German Element in the War of American Independence. NY: Hurd & Houghton, 1875. E269G3G7.

Hessian Documents of the American Revolution. Boston: Hall, 1989. 364 microfiches.
E268H46.
And pub guide.

Hoffman, Elliott W. "The German Soldiers in the American Revolution." PhD dss, U of NH, 1982. 585 p. E268H65.

Kincaid, Frank. "Why the Hessians Deserted: Psywar in 1776." Army 15 (May 1965): pp. 66 & 68. Per.
The Hessians
p.2

Kipping, Ernst. The Hessian View of America, 1776-83. Monmouth Beach, NJ: Freneau, 1971. 48 p. E268K49.

Krewson, Margrit B. Von Steuben and the German Contribution to the American Revolution: A Selective Bibliography. Wash, DC: Lib of Cong, 1987. 44 p. Z8842.6K73.
Cites Hessian sources.

Lowell, Edward J. The Hessians and the Other German Auxiliaries of Great Britain in the Revolutionary War. NY: Harper, 1884. 328 p. E268L9.
Also Kennikat Press ed, 1965, (E268L92) and German ed, 1902.

Rosengarten, Joseph G. The German Soldier in the Wars of the United States. Phila: Lippincott, 1890. 298 p. E184G3R82.

Scott, Samuel F. "Foreign Mercenaries, Revolutionary War, and Citizen-Soldiers in the Late Eighteenth Century." War & Soc 2 (Sep 1984): pp. 41-58. Per.

Werthern, Freiherr V. "The Hessian Auxiliaries in North American War of Independence, 1776-83." Trans from Ger, Oct 1902. 33 p. UC15A2no301.
Lecture delivered 23 Nov 1894 in Officer's Club, Hussar Rgt, Hessen-Homburg.

Ewald, Johann. Treatise on Partisan Warfare. Trans/ed by Robert A. Selig & David C. Skaggs. NY: Greenwood, 1991. 177 p. U240E82413.
See pp. 23-29.

Fuller, J.F.C. British Light Infantry in the Eighteenth Century. London: Hutchinson, 1925. 255 p. UA650F8.
See Chap 9.

Katcher, Philip R.N. King George's Army, 1775-83: A Handbook of British, American and German Regiments. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole, 1973. 160 p. E267K372.

Melsheimer, Frederick V. Journal of the Voyage of the Brunswick Auxiliaries from Wolfenbuttel to Quebec. "Morning Chronicle," 1891. 44 p. E268M52.

Baurmeister, Carl L. Revolution in America: Confidential Letters and Journals, 1776-84. Trans from German. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers U, 1957. 640 p. E268B4.
The Hessians
p.3

Bennett, Gertrude Ryder. The Hessian Lieutenant Left his Name. Francetown, NH: Golden Quill, 1976. 272 p. PS3503E5473H4.
Ballad of Michael Bach.

Burgoyne, Bruce E. Waldeck Soldiers of the American Revolutionary War. Bowie, MD: Heritage, 1991. 182 p. E268.B88.

Cramer, William S. From Hessian Drummer to Maryland Ironmaker. Booklet, 1985. pp. 23-36. E268 J68.

Doblin, Helga. "The Case of the Musketeer Andreas Hasselmann." Mil Affairs 51 (Apr 1987):
pp. 73-74. Per.
Sentenced to death for desertion, but pardoned at last minute during his execution ceremony. Served with Brunswick troops.

Dohla, Johann C. A Hessian Diary of the American Revolution. Norman: U of OK, 1990. 276 p.
E268 D6413.

Ewald, Johann von. Diary of the American War: A Hessian Journal. New Haven: Yale, 1979.
467 p. E268E9213.

Haarman, Albert W. "Contemporary Observations of the Hesse-Cassel Troops Sent to
North America, 1776-81." Jrnl of Soc for Army Hist Res 54 (Aut 1976): pp. 130-34. Per.

Harrington, Edson B. Georg Zacharias Hatstatt, Our German Hessian Ancestor. Booklet, 1985.
pp. 37-45. E268 J68.

Hubbs, Valentine C., ed. Hessian Journals: Unpublished Documents of the American Revolution.
1st ed. Columbia, SC: Camden, 1981. 127 p. E268H47.

Krafft, John C.P. von. Journal of Lieutenant John Charles Philip von Krafft, 1776-84. NY:
NY Times, 1968. 202 p. E268K72.

Letters from America, 1776-79. Trans from Ger. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1924. 281 p. E268P52.

Letters of Brunswick and Hessian Officers During the American Revolution. Trans from Ger. NY: DeCapo, 1970. 258 p. E268S882.

Malsburg, Friedrich von der. Copy of his diary recording service with von Dittfurth Regiment and 1st Hessian Division, Europe and No America, 1776. Arch.

Miles, Lion G. The Hessians of Lewis Miller. Millville, PA: Johannes Schwalm Hist Assoc, 1983. 68 p. E268M55.
Watercolors of York, PA, residents, with brief accounts of their mercenary services.
The Hessians
p.4

Pettengill, Ray W. Letters from America, 1776-79 Being Letters of Brunswick, Hessian, and Waldeck Officers with the British Armies During the Revolution. Boston, Houghton, 1924. 281 p. E268P52.

Popp, Stephan. Popp's Journal, 1777-83. Reprint from PA Mag of Hist & Biog, 1902. 29 p. E268P83.

Riedesel, Friederike Charlotte L. Baroness von Riedesel and the American Revolution. Trans from Ger. Chapel Hill: U of NC, 1965. 222 p. E268R523.

. Letters and Journals Relating to the War of the American Revolution, and the Capture of the German Troops at Saratoga. Albany, NY: Munsell, 1867. 235 p. E268R555.

Riedesel, Friedrich A. Letters, Memoirs and Journals of Major General Riedesel, During His Residence in America. 2 vols. Trans from Ger. Albany, NY: Munsell, 1868. E268E264.

Stone, William L. Letters of Brunswick and Hessian Officers During the American Revolution. NY: Da Capo, 1970. 258 p. E268S882.

Tustin, Joseph J. Diary of the American War: A Hessian Journal, Captain Johann Ewald, Field Jager Corps. New Haven, CT: Yale U, 1979. 467 p. E268E9213.

Uhlendorf, Bernhard A., trans and ed. The Siege of Charleston With an Account of the Province of South Carolina: Diaries and Letters of Hessian Officers from the Von Jungkenn Papers in the William L. Clements Library. Ann Arbor: U of MI, 1938. 445 p. E241C4U52.
Reprinted by Arno Press, 1968.

Waldeck, Philipp. Philipp Waldeck's Diary of the American Revolution. Phila: Amer Germanica Press, 1907. 146 p. E268W15.

Wasmus, J.F. An Eyewitness Account of the American Revolution and New England Life: The Journal of J.F. Wasmus, German Company Surgeon, 1776-83. NY: Greenwood, 1990.
E268W2713.

Wiederholdt. Americana Germanica, Tagebuch vom 7 October 1776 bis 7 December 1780. NY: Macmillan, 1902? 93 p. E268W54.
Intro in English, text of diaries in German.

Fahnen und Uniformen der landgraflich Hessen-Kassel' schen Truppen im Amerikanischen Unabh Angigkeitskrieg 1776-83. Kassel: VOGT, 1977. UC485G3 F3.

Haarmann, Albert W. "The Army of Brunswick and the Corps in North America, 1776-77."
Mil Coll & Hist 17 (1964): pp. 76-78. Per.
The Hessians
p.5

. "The Hessian Army and the Corps in North America, 1776-1783." Mil Coll & Hist 14 (1962): pp. 69-75. Per.

, and Holst, Donald W. "The Friedrich von Germann Drawings of Troops in the American Revolution." Mil Coll & Hist 17 (1964): pp. 1-9. Per.

Hagen, Wolf von. "Description of the Hesse-Cassel Grenadier 'Helmets' for the Period of the American Revolution." Reproduced copy of unpublished paper. Bass Harbor, ME, 1971.
70 p. UC505G3H3.

Knotel, Richard. Handbuch der Uniformkunde. Hamburg: Schulz, 1937. 440 p. UC480K5.

American Archives. Wash, DC: Clarke & Force, 1837-53. E203A51.
On file: Vols I-VI of Fourth Series and Vols I-III of Fifth Series, covering 1775-76. See indices under "Prisoners."

Barth, Richard C., et al. "The Trenton Prisoner List." Jrnl of the Johannes Schwalm Hist Assn, Inc 3 (no 1, 1985): pp. 1-21. E268J68.

Becker, Laura L. "Prisoners of War in the American Revolution: A Community Perspective."
Mil Aff 46 (Dec 1982): pp. 169-73. Per.
Reading, PA, as prison center.

Bowie, Lucy Leigh. Ancient Barracks at Fredericktown Where Hessian Prisoners Were Quartered During the Revolutionary War. Frederick, MD, 1939. 31 p. E263M3B68.

Dabney, William M. After Saratoga: The Story of the Convention Army. Albuquerque: U of NM, 1954. 90 p. E281D12.

Kipping, Ernst. The Hessian View of America, 1776-83. Monmouth Beach, NJ: Freneau, 1971. pp. 39-46. E268K49.
List of pows hired out in Lancaster county.

Knepper, George W. The Convention Army, 1777-83. PhD dss, U of MI, 1954. 282 p. E267K6.

Linn, John B., & Egle, William H., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. Ser 2. Vol 1. Harrisburg, PA: Hart, 1879. E263P4L75.
See list of pows captured at Trenton, p. 431 ff.

Miles, Lion G. The Winchester Hessian Barracks. Booklet, 1988. 42 p. E281 M54.
The Hessians
p.6

U.S. Dept of Navy. Naval Hist Div. Naval Documents of the American Revolution. Vol 5.
Wash, DC: GPO, 1970. E271U583v5.
See pp. 188-90 for Continental Congress report of the committee on prisoners.

Volm, Matthew H. The Hessian Prisoners in the American War of Indepenence and Their Life in Captivity. Charlottesville, VA: n.p., 1937. 27 p. E268V65.

See also:
- "Prisoners in Rev War" (POW-Rev)
- "Convention Army" (POW-Rev)

NOTE: No list of Hessian prisoners at Carlisle has ever been located here.

Agnew, James B. "Washington's Mercenaries." Army 31 (Aug 1981): pp. 50-54. Per.
Notes European officers who served in Continental Army, with profiles of several.

Fetter, Frank W. "Who Were the Foreign Mercenaries of the Declaration of Independence?" PA Mag of Hist & Biog 104 (Oct 1980): pp. 508-13. Per.
Argues that Scotch highlanders should be considered with the Hessians.

Ingrao, Charles. '"Barbarous Strangers': Hessian State and Society During the American Revolution." Amer Hist Rev 87 (Oct 1982): pp. 954-76. Per.

. The Hessian Mercenary State: Ideas, Institutions, and Reform under Frederick II, 1760-85. NY: Cambridge, 1987. 240 p. DD801H57 I53.

Johannes Schwalm Historical Association. Hessian Registry. Booklet, 1985. pp. 73-79. E268 J68.

Jones, George F. "The Black Hessians: Negroes Recruited by the Hessians in South Carolina and Other Colonies." SC Hist Mag 83 (Oct 1982): pp. 287-302. Per.

Rosengarten, Joseph G. Frederick the Great and the United States. Lancaster, PA: Pennsylvania-German Soc, 1906. 29 p. E269G3R8.

Stofft, William A. "An Important Refusal: The Russians Aren't Coming." Mil Rev 55 (Jul 1975): pp. 56-57. Per.
On the British attempt to hire Russian mercenaries in 1775 for service in No Amer.
The Hessians
p.7

Taylor, Peter K. "The Household's Most Expendable People: The Draft and Peasant Society in 18th Century Hessen-Kassel." PhD dss, U of IA, 1987. 451 p. E268T39.

_____. "'Patrimonial' Bureaucracy and 'Rational' Policy in Eighteenth-Century Germany: The Case of Hessian Recruitment Reforms, 1762-93." Central Euro Hist 22 (Mar 1989): pp. 33-56. Per.


Ireland 1798 [ edit | edit source ]

After the Battle of Mainz in 1795, the British rushed Hessian forces to Ireland in 1798 to assist in the suppression of rebellion inspired by the Society of United Irishmen, an organization that first worked for Parliamentary reform. Influenced by the American and French revolutions, its members began by 1798 to seek independence for Ireland. Baron Hompesch's 2nd Battalion of riflemen embarked on 11 April 1798 from the Isle of Wight bound for the port of Cork. They were later joined by the Jäger (Hunter) 5th Battalion 60th regiment. They were in the action of the battles of Vinegar Hill and Foulksmills. In 1798, the Hessians were notorious in Ireland for their atrocities and brutality toward the population of Wexford.


A Navy veteran just got a special Xbox delivered via skydiver

Posted On April 29, 2020 15:44:24

To celebrate the release of Battlefield V, Microsoft and Electronic Arts partnered to give a Florida veteran a limited-edition Xbox One X bundle, delivered via an outrageous skydiving stunt.

Motorsport driver and stunt performer Travis Pastrana of Nitro Circus dove from a height of 13,000 feet to deliver the first Xbox One X Gold Rush Special Edition Battlefield V bundle to retired Navy Corpsman Jeff Bartrom, who lives in Paisley, Florida. Pastrana hit a peak speed of 140 mph during the dive, and the jump took less than 55 seconds.

The giveaway was meant to thank Bartrom for his service, and it coincides with Microsoft’s #GiveWithXbox initiative. The company pledged to donate worth of Xbox products for every picture shared to social media with the hashtag showing the importance of gaming. Microsoft will donate up to million to be split between four charities, Child’s Play, Gamers Outreach, SpecialEffect, and Operation Supply Drop. The social-media campaign is running through December 9th.

World War II shooter Battlefield V officially launched on Nov. 20, 2018, and is available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. The Xbox One X version of Battlefield V also features enhanced visuals. EA Access members can play a free 10-hour trial of the game on their platform of choice as well.

Get the latest Microsoft stock price here.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

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MIGHTY TACTICAL

Bibliography

Atwood, Rodney. The Hessians: Mercenaries from Hessen-Kassel in the American Revolution. Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1980.

Dabney, William M. After Saratoga: The Story of the Convention Army. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1954.

Döhla, Johann Conrad. A Hessian Diary of the American Revolution. Translated and edited by Bruce E. Burgoyne. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989.

Ewald, Johann. Diary of the American War: A Hessian Journal. Translated and edited by Joseph P. Tustin. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1979.

Fischer, David Hackett. Washington's Crossing. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Ketchum, Richard M. Saratoga: Turning Point of America's Revolutionary War. New York: Henry Holt, 1997.

Lowell, Edward J. The Hessians and the Other German Auxiliaries of Great Britain in the Revolutionary War. 1884. Williamstown, Mass.: Corner House, 1970.

Neimeyer, Charles Patrick. America Goes to War: A Social History of the Continental Army. New York: New York University Press, 1996.


What Happened to the Captured Hessians?

About 900 Hessian soldiers and officers were taken prisoner by General Washington and the Continental Army following the Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776. Have you ever wondered what happened to them?

Washington and his troops wasted little time moving their new prisoners away from the scene of the battle, says Pat Seabright, a historical interpreter at Washington Crossing Historic Park. That afternoon and into the night, they were marched north and crossed the river to McConkey’s Ferry Inn—the place where the crossing began on Christmas Day.

“It was quite the ordeal,” Seabright says. “For one, the snow from the winter storm that began overnight had turned to rain. The river remained ice-choked. And the Americans were also moving the captured Hessian armaments, including six cannons.”

Once they arrived in Pennsylvania, the Hessian officers were separated from the enlisted soldiers, who were immediately marched to Newtown and divided between a prison and Newtown Presbyterian Church. The officers—about 26 of them in all—were held overnight in a single room of the McConkey’s Ferry Inn.

The next day, they were marched to Newtown, too, but they were housed quite comfortably in private homes. The special treatment, Seabright explains, was because of their status.

Later that day, four of the officers were taken to meet Washington. One of them, Lieutenant Andreas Wiederholdt, willingly told Washington all the mistakes the Hessians had made fighting the Battle of Trenton. “Which, of course, was information that would prove to be useful in defending Trenton in the coming days, during the Battle of Assunpink Creek,” Seabright says.

From Newtown, the Hessian officers and soldiers were marched to Philadelphia and paraded through the streets before they were ultimately settled in a barracks. Washington promptly published a proclamation stating that the Hessians were not the enemy. They were forced into the war and should be treated humanely, it said.

From that point, people started to bring food to the barracks, and they treated the Hessians with great kindness—much to their surprise. Quite notoriously, the British and Hessians treated their American prisoners brutally, especially on the prison ships anchored in the Hudson River.

“The Hessian officers eventually signed something called a ‘parole,’ saying they wouldn’t do anything to get in Washington’s way,” Seabright says. “As a result, they were pretty much given free rein.”

From the barracks in Philadelphia, the Hessian soldiers were marched to Lancaster County, where they were put to work on farms. The officers were sent to Virginia. “When they reached the Virginia border,” Seabright says, “the American guards basically released them on their own recognizance.”

According to historian David Hackett Fischer, about 23 percent of the Hessians who survived the war remained in America. Other estimates go as high as 40 percent.

A significant portion returned to America after the war with their families. “So it was not a bad ending for the Hessian prisoners,” Seabright says.

Want to learn more? A Generous and Merciful Enemy: Life for German Prisoners of War During the American Revolution (University of Oklahoma Press, 2015) is available in the park gift shop.


The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: Hidden History in an American Ghost Story

Americans love a good ghost story—and what better time to indulge this guilty pleasure than Halloween? This season we’re looking back to what might be the OG of all-American ghost stories, Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, which celebrates its 200th anniversary this year. First published in 1820, the short story has inspired countless adaptations, perhaps most famously Tim Burton’s 1999 Sleepy Hollow, starring Johnny Depp as a squeamish and fearful Ichabod Crane. This interpretation couldn’t be further from Irving’s original Ichabod who, just like us, relished spending winter evenings hearthside, listening to “marvelous tales of ghosts and goblins, and haunted fields, and haunted brooks, and haunted bridges, and haunted houses, and particularly of the headless horseman.” Americans’ timeless love of a good ghost story seems itself engrained in Sleepy Hollow, and Irving’s short story has continued to terrify us for the past 200 years. You might be too distracted with fright to realize that there is some hidden Revolutionary War history embedded in this spooky tale.

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. “The headless horseman–Sleepy Hollow.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1876. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/6c065365-4c4c-4f8b-e040-e00a180645a8

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow takes place in 1790, just after the American Revolution, and if you read closely enough, the war itself is a powerful character and a driving force in the narrative. When Ichabod Crane arrives in Tarrytown and becomes part of the community at Sleepy Hollow, the residents have begun to heal from their Revolutionary past. Irving tells us “the British and American line had run near (the neighborhood) during the war (and) had been the scene of marauding and infested with refugees, cowboys, and all kinds of border chivalry.” While by no means should one read Irving’s short story for its historical accuracy, this characterization of Sleepy Hollow’s situation in the Hudson River Valley is not far from historical truth. During the Revolution, the Hudson River Valley hosted more than its fair share of skirmishes as passionate patriots clashed with steadfast loyalists and armies from both sides besieged the Valley, but Westchester County (where Tarrytown, now more widely known as Sleepy Hollow, is located) was effectively considered “neutral ground,” wherein neither the American army to the north nor the British army to the south laid considerable claim or control. This distinction created conditions ripe for violence and left the county’s civilian population so vulnerable that, according to Timothy Dwight, chaplain to the Connecticut brigade, “they feared everybody whom they saw and loved nobody…fear was the only passion by which they were animated.” Dwight’s recollections from his 1777 stay in the county paint a desolate picture of terrified residents, “their houses…scenes of desolation. The walls, floors and windows were injured by both violence and decay and were not repaired, because they had not the means of repairing them, and because they were exposed to the repetition of the same injuries.” Civilians with means took what little they had and escaped to safer houses of friends and relatives outside this “neutral ground” others made makeshift camps elsewhere.

This is the very real landscape in which Washington Irving set his grisly tale, where within this context it is believable that a menacing force perpetuated violence on the community, even after death. But what of the headless horseman himself? It’s easy to miss this detail for the more attention-grabbing decapitation in Irving’s short story—the headless horseman at the heart of the tale is said to be a Hessian soldier from the American Revolution:

“It is said by some to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper, whose head had been carried away by a cannon-ball, in some nameless battle during the Revolutionary War, and who is ever and anon seen by the country folk hurrying along in the gloom of night, as if on the wings of the wind…”

Historians have long mused on Irving’s historical inspiration for his headless Hessian, if one exists at all. The British hired upwards of 30,000 German troops to support the war effort against the rebelling colonies, most of them coming from the German state of Hesse-Cassel (thus, Hessians). Hessian soldiers had a reputation for brutality on and off the battlefield, making a Hessian, headless or not, a viable foe—and Hessians were certainly partly to blame for the deteriorating conditions in the region’s “neutral ground.” Some Sleepy Hollow enthusiasts suggest that Irving was inspired by local lore surrounding the actions not of a violent Hessian, but a sympathetic one who, as legend has it, helped save the life of a civilian after one of the region’s violent raids. When the civilian’s family later found a headless Hessian presumed to be their family’s savior, they buried him—sans head—in the Old Dutch Burial Ground.

If Irving was inspired by any real revolutionary history at all, the most likely “nameless battle” in which Irving’s horseman may have met his demise might in fact be the Battle of White Plains, in which British General William Howe defeated Washington’s troops on October 28, 1776 (conveniently close to Halloween), just 8 miles east of Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow. There, Hessian troops helped to break the American line and contributed to the British victory, but not without withstanding casualties. American Major General William Heath wrote of the battle in his journal (which he published in 1798), noting that “a shot from the American cannon at this place took off the head of a Hessian artillery man.” Whether Irving read and delighted in this grisly anecdote is unknown, but nonetheless there is a small grain of truth in every fiction—an unfortunate Hessian did lose his head a mere 8 miles from Sleepy Hollow.

Regardless of what—if any—real history inspired Washington Irving’s tale, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow provides an engaging launch to explore lesser-known Revolutionary War history (and this is just the beginning—“André’s tree” is for another blog entirely).

This Halloween, treat yourself to a read of America’s original ghost story!

Katherine Egner Gruber
Special Exhibition Curator, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation


11a. American and British Strengths and Weaknesses

The question remains: What factors led an undisciplined, unprepared, divided American nation to prevail over the world's largest empire?


Despite the supremacy of the British navy in the 18th century, the Colonial naval forces won many battles. This picture depicts the naval engagement of July 7, 1777, between the American frigates Hancock, Boston, and HMS Fox, and the British frigates Flora and Rainbow.

British Strengths and American Weaknesses

The British seemed unbeatable. During the previous 100 years, the British had enjoyed triumph after triumph over nations as powerful as France and Spain. At first glance, the odds were clearly against the Americans. A closer look provides insight into how the underdogs emerged victorious.

Britain's military was the best in the world. Their soldiers were well equipped, well disciplined, well paid, and well fed. The British navy dominated the seas. Funds were much more easily raised by the Empire than by the Continental Congress.

Some of those funds were used to hire Hessian mercenaries to fight the Americans.

. and the Hessians, who are allowed to be the best of the German troops, are by no means equal to the British in any respect. I believe them steady, but their slowness is of the greatest disadvantage in a country almost covered with woods, and against an Enemy whose chief qualification is agility in running from fence to fence and thence keeping up an irregular, but galling fire on troops who advance with the same pace as at their exercise. Light infantry accustomed to fight from tree to tree, or charge even in woods and Grenadiers who after the first fire lose no time in loading again, but rush on, trusting entirely to that most decisive of weapons the bayonet, will ever be superior to any troops the Rebels can bring against them. Such are the British, and such the method of fighting which has been attended with constant success .

&ndash Lieutenant W. Hale, letter to unknown recipient (March 23, 1778)

The Americans had tremendous difficulty raising enough funds to purchase basic supplies for their troops, including shoes and blankets. The British had a winning tradition. Around one in five Americans openly favored the Crown, with about half of the population hoping to avoid the conflict altogether. Most Indian tribes sided with Britain, who promised protection of tribal lands.

American Strengths and British Weaknesses


Although American troops may not have had the military force and economic base that their British rivals had, they did believe strongly in their fight for freedom and liberty. The Continental Congress adopted this "Stars and Stripes" as its official flag on June 14, 1777.

On the other hand, the Americans had many intangible advantages.

The British fought a war far from home. Military orders, troops, and supplies sometimes took months to reach their destinations. The British had an extremely difficult objective. They had to persuade the Americans to give up their claims of independence. As long as the war continued, the colonists' claim continued to gain validity. The geographic vastness of the colonies proved a hindrance to the British effort. Despite occupying every major city, the British remained as at a disadvantage.

Americans had a grand cause: fighting for their rights, their independence and their liberty. This cause is much more just than waging a war to deny independence. American military and political leaders were inexperienced, but proved surprisingly competent.

The war was expensive and the British population debated its necessity. In Parliament, there were many American sympathizers. Finally, the alliance with the French gave Americans courage and a tangible threat that tipped the scales in America's favor.


Hessians from Anspach &ndash Beyreuth

1st Regiment Anspach-Bayreuth: Philadelphia, Newport, Yorktown.

2nd Regiment Anspach-Bayreuth: Philadelphia, Newport, and Yorktown. Hesse Hanau: (2,038 troops). Arrived in Quebec in June of 1776.

Free Corps of Light Infantry: Lake Champlain, Saratoga. Hesse Hanau Regiment: Lake Champlain, Saratoga.

Hesse Hanau Chasseurs: St. Leger&rsquos Expedition to Oriskany and Fort Stanwix.

Anhalt-Zerbst: (600 troops) Arrived at Quebec in May of 1778.

Anhalt-Zerbst Regiment: Garrison duty in Quebec and New York.


Watch the video: The Battle of Trenton