Erbprinz von Hessen-Cassel Fusiliers

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Prussian Army >> Erbprinz von Hessen-Cassel Fusiliers

Origin and History

Uniform circa 1757 - Source: Anonymous work circa 1757

This fusilier regiment was created on July 28 1755 from Garrison Regiment XIII stationed at Minden, which had been raised in 1743, and from Wied Fusiliers. Furthermore, Dossow Fusiliers, Jungkenn Müntzer Fusiliers and Garrison Regiment IX contributed another 360 men. The new regiment also received the "old" uniforms of Wied Fusiliers. The regiment had no district to levy its troops and had to rely on recruitment.

In August 1755, the new fusilier regiment was transferred to Wesel where it replaced Wied Fusiliers while the latter took post at Minden. On May 31 1756, the Hereditary Prince Friedrich of Hesse-Cassel took command of the new regiment.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:

  • since May 31 1756: Friedrich Erbprinz von Hessen-Cassel
  • from January 8 1757 to April 28 1763: Friedrich Wilhelm von Salmuth (aka Behringer)

The numbering system (Stammliste) was first used by Leopold I., Fürst von Anhalt-Dessau (Der alte Dessauer) in the Dessauer Spezifikation from 1737. Around 1780 the numbers were used in the printed Stammlisten, still with some variations for the fusilier regiments. It became official by "Cabinets-Ordre" from October 1, 1806. The present infantry regiment was attributed number 48.

Service during the War

In 1756, the regiment garrisoned Wesel.

In 1757, the regiment formed part of the Prussian contingent which joined the Allied Army. On March 24, the regiment marched to Bielefeld. In mid June, it took part in a minor engagement against the French near Bielefeld. The Allied Army vainly tried to prevent the French invasion of Hanover. The regiment then retreated towards Magdeburg.

In 1758, the regiment initially served in Saxony under Prince Henri. During the Autumn, it joined Wedell in his campaign in Pomerania against the Swedes. However, the regiment was soon recalled to Saxony to defend Dresden.

In 1759, the regiment began the campaign with Prince Henri in Saxony. On May 23, it took part in an engagement against Austrian light troops at Aue. On August 6, during the Austro-Imperial invasion of Saxony, the first battalion capitulated at Leipzig but was allowed to retire freely. On August 20, part of the regiment was part of the garrison of Wittenberg who surrendered and retired to Potsdam. The second battalion took part in the defence of Dresden which surrendered on September 4. The defender were allowed to retire freely from the town and the second battalion joined Finck's Corps. Meanwhile, on September 8, the 1st battalion of the regiment took part in the Combat of Zinna where it was deployed on the left wing. It was at the recapture of Torgau.

In July 1760, the regiment took part in the unsuccessful attempt to recapture of Dresden. On August 20, it fought at the Combat of Strehla before retiring towards Torgau.

In 1761, the regiment served on the Mulde under Prince Henri.

In 1762, the regiment served in southern Saxony. On October 15, Syburg detached the regiment to get hold of the heights of Erbisdorf before Campitelli but it was surrounded and captured as soon as it debouched from the village.

N.B.: The grenadier company, which originated from the Garrison Regiment XIII, never joined the regiment and kept its former uniform until 1776. This company was converged with grenadiers from Dossow Fusiliers (2 coys) and Garrison Regiment IX (1 coy) to form the Nr. II. "Standing" Grenadier Battalion (please refer to this article for the details of the service of the grenadiers during the war).

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1756 - Source: Dal
Uniform Details
Headgear
Fusilier mitre with polished brass front plate; blue headband with brass ornaments; blue cap with brass ornaments; brass spike
Grenadier not applicable, grenadiers from former Garrison Regiment XIII, never joined the regiment (for details of the uniform of these grenadiers, please refer to the article on the Nr. II. "Standing" Grenadier Battalion)
Neckstock black
Coat Prussian blue lined red, 2 white braid loops on the right side at the waist; 1 white braid loop on each side in the small of the back; and 3 brass buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks
Collar none
Shoulder Straps probably ponceau red fastened with a small brass button
Lapels ponceau red, each with 6 brass buttons grouped 2 by 2 and 6 white braid loops with orange tassels
Pockets horizontal pockets edged in red, each with 3 brass buttons
Cuffs ponceau red (in the Prussian pattern) with 2 brass buttons and 2 white braid loops with orange tassels above each cuff on the sleeve
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat pale straw
Breeches pale straw
Gaiters black
Leather Equipment
Cross-belts one white belt over the left shoulder for the cartridge box and one narrower white belt over the right shoulder for the haversack
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard brown
Scabbard brown
Footgear black shoes


Privates were armed with a short musket, a bayonet and a straight bladed "pallash".

NCOs

Lace of the cuff of NCO uniform - Source: E. Boltze Die Infanterie Friedrichs des Großen...
NCOs wore uniforms rather different from those of the privates with the following distinctions:
  • no shoulder straps
  • golden buttonholes above the cuffs
  • 2 golden buttonholes under the lapel
  • yellowish leather gloves
  • black and white sabre tassel

NCOs were armed with a sabre and a white half-pikes measuring 7 ½ Rhenish feet (2.37 m.) in the fusilier companies and 13 Rhenish feet (4.10 m.) in the grenadier companies (carried by the 3 most senior NCOs while other grenadier NCOs were armed with rifled muskets since 1744).

NCOs also carried canes (normally attached to a button at the top of the right front while carrying the half-pike).

Officers

Erbprinz von Hessen-Cassel Officer - Source: Thieme, J. G., Genaue Zeichnung und Beschreibung Saemtlicher Uniformen der Königlichen Preußischen Armee 1792
Lace of the cuff of Officer uniform - Source: E. Boltze Die Infanterie Friedrichs des Großen...
Uniforms of officers were very similar to those of the privates with the following exceptions:
  • black tricorne laced gold with black and white quartered pompoms, a black cockade and a gilt button (officers always wore tricornes notwithstanding if they were commanding musketeers, fusiliers or grenadiers)
  • no shoulder strap on the coat
  • no turnbacks on the coat
  • 6 golden lace loops on each lapel
  • 2 golden lace loops on each side at the waist
  • 1 golden lace loop on each side in the small of the back
  • 2 golden lace loops on each pocket
  • 2 golden lace loops on each sleeve above the cuff
  • black and silver sash around the waist
  • a silver and gold gorget

Officers carried white spontoons measuring 7 ½ Rhenish feet (2.36 m.) and an officer stick.

Musicians

Lace of the drummer uniform - Source: E. Boltze Die Infanterie Friedrichs des Großen...

The laces of the drummers consisted of a 2.4 cm narrow lace and a 5.7 cm wide lace, both of the same pattern (white/red/yellow braid).

The uniforms of the drummers were similar to those of the privates but had much more elaborate lacing and other peculiarities:

  • each shoulder decorated with 5 vertical narrow drummer laces and 1 horizontal drummer lace
  • coat, cuffs, pockets, and lapels edged with the narrow drummer lace
  • buttonholes (except those on the lapel) edged with the narrow drummer lace
  • each sleeve decorated with horizontal narrow laces arranged in chevrons (7) bordered by 2 vertical wide laces and orange tassels one on each side


Colours

Colonel colour (Leibfahne): White field with sky blue corner wedges. Centre device consisting of a fuchsia medallion surrounded by a silver laurel wreath and surmounted by a silver crown. The medallion is decorated with a black eagle holding a sword and lightning bolts surmounted by a white scroll bearing the silver motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, “FR” ciphers) and grenades in silver.

Regimental colours (Kompaniefahnen): Fuchsia field with sky blue corner wedges. Centre device consisting of a white medallion surrounded by a silver laurel wreath and surmounted by a silver crown. The medallion is decorated with a black eagle holding a sword and lightning bolts surmounted by a fuchsia scroll bearing the silver motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, “FR” ciphers) and grenades in silver.

Colonel Colour - Source: Dawid from a template by Hannoverdidi
Regimental Colour - Source: Dawid from a template by Hannoverdidi

The pikes used as staffs for the colours were white.

References

Boltze, Eberhard: Die Infanterie Friedrichs des Großen nach dem Stande von 1785 nebst Rückblick bis 1740, Dresden, November 1927, pp. 31, Annex III and IV

Engelmann, Joachim and Günter Dorn: Die Infanterie-Regimenter Friedrich des Grossen, Podzun-Pallas, 2000, pp. 108-109

Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 1 Pirna und Lobositz, Berlin, 1901, p. 114

Hohrath, Daniel: The Uniforms of the Prussian Army under Frederick the Great from 1740 to 1786; Vol. 2; Verlag Militaria, Vienna: 2011, pp. 362-367

Letzius, Dr. Martin and Herbert Knötel d. J.: Deutsche Uniformen, Bd. 1, Das Zeitalter Friedrich des Großen, 240 images, Sturm-Zigaretten GmbH, Dresden 1932

Menzel, Adolf v.: Die Armee Friedrichs des Großen in ihrer Uniformierung, Berlin 1851-1857

N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.