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Hessians in the Revolutionary War

Germany was not yet a nation when the first muskets were discharged on Lexington Green in 1775, but soldiers from independent German states were hired by England to augment its army during the American Revolution.

By the time the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783, nearly 29,000 Germans had served under the Union Jack.

These troops hailed from six German states: Hesse-Cassel, Hesse Hanau, Brunswick, Waldeck, Anspach-Beyreuth, and Anhalt Zerbst.

The Crown contracted directly with individual German princes for these men, a common protocol during the eighteenth century.

The primary core of Hessian soldiers was provided by Friedrich II, the Landgraf (German noble) of Hesse-Cassel.

Friedrich II committed fifteen “Regiments of Foot” (infantry) as well as support troops and resources to assist Great Britain with the rebellion in its American colonies.

The professionally trained German soldiers served valiantly and suffered at least 2,300 casualties during the war.

Hessians from Hesse-Cassel

Hessians in the Revolutionary War

Field Jäger Corps: This unit or detachments thereof fought in every Hesse-Cassel operation.

Fusilier Regiment von Ditforth: 1st Div., Fort Washington, White Plains, Newport, Charleston.

Fusilier Regiment Erbprinz: 1st Div., Long Island, Fort Washington, Yorktown. Fusilier Regiment von Knyphausen: 1st Div., Long Island, White Plains, Fort Washington, Trenton (captured; reorganized elements fought at Brandywine).

Fusilier Regiment von Lossburg: 1st Div., Long Island, Fort Washington, White Plains, Fort Washington, Trenton (captured; reorganized elements fought at Brandywine).

Garrison Regiment von Bunau: 2nd Div., Fort Washington, Newport Garrison Regiment von Huyn: 2nd Div., Fort Washington, Newport, Charleston.

Garrison Regiment von Stein: 2nd Div., Fort Washington, redeployed to the garrison at Halifax.

Garrison Regiment von Wissenbach: 2nd Div., Fort Washington, East Florida, Savannah, Stono Ferry.

Grenadier Battalion von Block: 1st Div., Long Island, White Plains, Brandywine, Fort Mercer, Charleston.

Grenadier Battalion von Linsingen: 1st Div., Long, Island, White Plains, Brandywine, Fort Mercer, Charleston.

Grenadier Battalion von Minnigerode: 1st Div., Long Island, White Plains, Brandywine, Fort Mercer, Charleston.

Grenadier Regiment von Rall: 1st Div., Long Island, White Plains, Fort Washington, Trenton, Brandywine, East Florida, Savannah, Charleston.

Grenadier Battalion von Koehler: 1st Div., Fort Washington, Forts Clinton and Montgomery, Charleston.

Grenadier Regiment von Trumbach: 1st Div., Fort Washington, White Plains, Trenton (captured; reorganized elements fought at Guildford Courthouse, Green Spring, and Yorktown.

Lieb Infantry Regiment: 1st Div., White Plains, Brandywine, Germantown, Newport, Springfield.

Musketeer Regiment Prinz Carl: 1st Div., White Plains, Newport, Charleston. Musketeer Regiment von Donop: 1st Div., Long Island, Fort Washington, Philadelphia Campaign, Brandywine, Germantown.

Musketeer Regiment von Mirbach: 1st Div., Long Island, Fort Washington, Philadelphia Campaign, Brandywine, Fort Mercer. Regiment (Combined ) von Loos: Brandywine; composite unit from reorganized troops following debacle at Trenton.

Regiment Landgraf: 2nd Div., Fort Washington, Newport.

Hessians from Brunswick

Grenadier Battalion von Breyman: Bennington, Bemis Heights, Saratoga.

Jäger Battalion-Brunswick (aka Light Infantry Battalion von Barner): Bemis Heights, Saratoga. Musketeer Regiment von Riedesel: Bemis Heights, Saratoga. Regiment of Dragoons Prinze Ludwig: Bennington, Saratoga.

Regiment Prinz Friedrich: Ticonderoga, Saratoga. Regiment von Rhetz: Lake Champlain, Bemis Heights, Saratoga.

Regiment von Specht: Saratoga. Waldeck: (670 troops) Arrived at New York in 1776.

Third Waldeck Regiment: Fort Washington, deployed to West Florida in 1778, Pensacola (captured and imprisoned in Cuba until 1782, redeployed to New York garrison).

Hessians from Anspach – 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’s 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.

Fritz Hamer

Monday 30th of September 2019

Hessians of Brunswick: I gather from your listing that these Hessians never served in the Southern Campaign. Thanks for this detailed overview of the Hessians. Please confirm.

Russell Yost

Monday 30th of September 2019

Hessians Units saw most of their action in 1776. After 1777 the British primarily used them as garrison troops. Their units originally were about 500 - 600 men, but as the war went on that number dwindled down to 200 - 300. There were fragments of Hessian troops that participated in the Southern Campaign, specifically at Guilford Courthouse and Yorktown. However, their presence was much less as the British relied on loyalist support in the south.

Hopefully, that provides more insight.

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