Fürstenberg Infantry

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Hesse-Kassel Army >> Fürstenberg Infantry

Origin and History

The regiment was raised in 1684 as the von Hanstein Regiment of Foot.

In 1746, the regiment was loaned to Great-Britain. In 1746, it was stationed in Scotland and took part in the campaign. On April 16, the Hessian contingent did not fight at Culloden but took up position to the south to cut off any path of retreat for the Jacobites.

During the Seven Years' War, the successive Chefs of the regiment were:

  • since 1753: Major-General von Fürstenberg
  • from 1759 to 1765: Lieutenant-General Gilsa

During the Seven Years' War, the successive Kommandeure assuming effective command of the regiment were:

  • since 1755: Colonel von Logau
  • from 1759: Colonel von Wissenbach
  • from 1760 to 1765: Colonel von Haller

In 1760, the unit was converted into a Fusilier Regiment adopting the Prussian style fusilier helm as part of the reforms introduced by Friedrich II of Hessen-Cassel on his accession to the Landgraviate.

During the American War of Independence, the regiment was known as von Knyphausen after its owner at the time. In 1776, it was sent to North America where most of it was captured at Trenton in December.

In 1789, the regiment was amalgamated with Infanterieregiment Nr. 4.

Service during the War

On March 28 1756, George II informed the Houses of Parliament of Great Britain that the French Court was planning the invasion of Great Britain and that, consequently, he intended to requisition a body of Hessian troops and to use it as reinforcement of Great Britain. The same day, the contingent of the Hesse-Kassel Army started to assemble in Germany. It consisted of 8 regiments including the present regiment. From March 28 to April 20, the Hessian contingent marched towards Bremen. On May 2, it embarked aboard 48 British transports at Stade. On May 15, the Hessian contingent landed at Southampton. From May 19 to 22, it was transported to the region of Salisbury where it took its cantonments. By May 23, the Hessian contingent had been quartered in Hampshire. From July 11 to 14, it moved to its new encampment at Winchester. In December, it took its winter-quarters in the Counties of Chichester, Salisbury and Southampton.

From April 23 to 27 1757, the Hessian contingent embarked aboard 43 British transports at Chatham to return to Germany. On May 1, the convoy sailed from Chatham. From May 11 to 16, the convoy gradually reached Stade after having suffered a severe tempest. On July 26, during the French invasion of Hanover, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hastenbeck where it fought in the first line of the centre.

From March 8 to 14 1758, the regiment took part in the siege of Minden. On May 26, it was with the corps of the Prince von Anhalt in the camp of Coesfeld. On May 31, this corps accompanied Ferdinand of Brunswick in his campaign on the west bank of the Rhine, passing the river on June 2. On June 12, during the aborted attack on the French positions at Rheinberg, the regiment was in the second vanguard of the first column of attack under Major-General von Fürstenberg. On June 23, the regiment took part in the Battle of Krefeld where it was deployed on the left wing under the command of Lieutenant-General von Spörcken. On August 10, it followed the Allied army in its retreat and passed the Rhine. On October 10, the regiment took part in the Battle of Lutterberg where it was placed in the first line of the centre.

During the first half of 1759, the regiment formed part of the Allied army of Ferdinand of Brunswick. It was attached to May's Brigade in the second line of the infantry centre. On April 6 and 7, the regiment participated in the capture of the Fortress of Ulrichstein. On April 13, it fought in the Battle of Bergen where it formed part of the third column under the Lieutenant-General Duke von Holstein-Gottorp. The regiment, along with Erbprinz Infantry and supported by Finckenstein Dragoons, Holstein-Gottorp Dragoons, and Ruesch Hussars, covered the right flank near Bad Vilbel clearing the wood of Saxons in support of the attack of the left flank on Bergen. In mid June, the regiment was part of Wutginau's Corps who had taken position at Büren in Westphalia. On July 28, the regiment, arriving from Stolzenau, joined the Allied army near Minden. On August 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Minden where it was deployed in the first line of the 7th column in Major-General von Einsiedel's Brigade, along with Imhoff Infantry.

On July 10 1760, the regiment took part in the Combat of Corbach where it was attached to the left column under Lieutenant-General Griffin.

From February 19 to March 28 1761, the regiment took part in the siege of Kassel. On July 10, it fought in the Combat of Corbach. On July 15 and 16, it fought in the Battle of Vellinghausen. On July 31, while retreating, it took part in a combat in front of Kassel. On August 5, it was at the combat of Kloster Bredelar.

On June 24 1762, the regiment fought in the Battle of Wilhelmsthal. On July 23, during the Combat of Lutterberg, it took part in the attack of the Kratzenberg. From August 17 to November 1, it was at the blockade and siege of Kassel, participating in the Combat of Amöneburg (aka Brücker Mühle) on September 21.

Uniform

Hessian troops wore a uniform in the Prussian style including the grenadier and fusilier hat. Until 1750 the trousers were dark blue and the vest buff. The stock was red for the other ranks and white for officers.

It seems that, like the uniforms of the Hanoverian army, those of the Hessen-Kassel got simpler during the war. Therefore, we illustrate (according to Morier and Knötel) the uniform in 1757, at the beginning of the conflict, with white laces around lapels and cuffs; and the new uniform issued in 1760 without these white laces.

Pre-1760 Uniform

Privates

Uniform - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white and white within red pompoms
Grenadier Prussian style mitre cap with a white metal front plate with golden ornaments and a buff (light yellow) bag trimmed white
Neck stock red
Coat dark blue dark blue with 3 pewter buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks and 2 pewter buttons at the waist under the right lapel
Collar none
Shoulder Straps blue
Lapels red, each with 6 pewter buttons grouped 2 by 2
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 2 pewter buttons
Cuffs red in the Prussian style, each with 2 pewter buttons on each sleeve above the cuff
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat straw
Breeches white
Gaiters black for campaigning and during winter, white for parades and during summer
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black with a white metal plate
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Footgear black


Troopers were armed with a sword (brass hilt) and a musket which was fitted with a leather carry strap.

Officers

Officers wore a white stock and, as a sign of their commissioned rank, a silver gorget and sash. The sash was of silver silk shot with red flecks.

NCO's carried the Prussian style partizan.

The standard staff was black.

Musicians

By the Seven Years War the convention of wearing reversed colours had disappeared. Drummers now wore the same dark blue coat with white and red livery lace placed along the coat seams in seven inverted chevrons along the sleeves and around the 'swallows nests' on the shoulder. Very much a copy of the Prussian style.

Drum barrels were of polished brass and were decorated with the Hessian lion surrounded by a laurel wreath with a crown above. The Hessian lion was striped red and white with a red tongue on a royal blue background. The drum cords were white and, for this regiment, the rim was a pattern of alternating black and white diagonal stripes.

1760 Uniform

In 1760, the unit was converted into a Fusilier regiment adopting the Prussian style fusilier helm as part of the reforms introduced by Friedrich II of Hessen-Cassel on his ascension to the Landgrafship. As part of the change to a fusilier regiment, the cuff and lapel colours changed from red to black and the Prussian fusilier cap with a straw coloured bag was adopted.

Privates

Uniform - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Fusilier Prussian style fusilier helm with a brass plate, a yellow sack and white lace
Grenadier Prussian style mitre with a brass plate, a yellow sack and base with white lace and pompom. The brass plate and base with the Hessian Lion centred, below the stand of arms and at the bottom "FL".
Neck stock black
Coat dark blue with 2 brass buttons under the lapel on the right side and 3 brass buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks
Collar none
Shoulder Straps black fastened with a brass button
Lapels black, each with 6 brass buttons grouped two by two
Pockets horizontal, each with 2 brass buttons
Cuffs black in the Prussian style, each with 2 brass buttons on the sleeve above each cuff
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat straw
Breeches straw
Gaiters black for campaigning and during winter, white for parades and during summer
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black with a yellow metal plate
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Footgear black


Troopers were armed with a sword (brass hilt) and a musket which was fitted with a leather carry strap.

Colours

To the present day, a definitive reconstruction of the Hesse-Cassel colours during the Seven Years' War is non-existant. All existing publications are mostly speculative. Before 1760, the Leibfahne (colonel's colour) was probably white and the regimental colour probably red (maybe blue).

Here follows a tentative reconstruction of these flags used till 1760. The flag poles were white.

Colonel Colour - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Regimental Colour - Source: Frédéric Aubert

In 1760, when the unit became a fusilier regiment, its distinctive colour was changed to black and the regiment was probably issued new colours. Here follows a tentative reconstruction of these new colours.

Colonel Colour - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Regimental Colour - Source: Frédéric Aubert

References

Bleckwenn, Hans: Europa kämpft in Flandern... Die Morier-Bilder in Windsor Castle, Teil IV: Hessen-Kassel 1748, in: Zeitschrift für Heereskunde, XXX Jg. (1960), Nr. 207, S. 122-125 and Nr. 208, S. 166-168

Böhm, Uwe Peter: Hessisches Militär: Die Truppen der Landgrafschaft Hessen-Kassel 1672-1806, Herausgegeben im Auftrag der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Heereskunde e.V., Beckum 1986

Großer Generalstab, Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II (Publisher). Die Kriege Friedrichs des Großen. Dritter Teil: Der Siebenjährige Krieg 1756–1763. Band 5 Hastenbeck und Roßbach, Berlin 1903

Henry, Mark: Hessian Army of the 7 Years War, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. VII No. 3

Manley, S.: Uniforms of the Danish and German States armies 1739-1748, Potsdam Publications

Mohr, Kurt: Einiges über die Hessen-Kasselsche Infanterie 1760, in: Artikel für KA7-Sammler aus alten "Zinnfigur" Heften (1924-1944), KLIO-Arbeitsgruppe 7jähriger Krieg, Manuskript, Köln 1980, S. 106-107

Mulder, Luke: Some Notes on Landgraf Friedrich II of Hessen-Kassel Re-Organization of 1760, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. XI No. 2

Noeske, Rolf: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, 1. Ergänzung Hessen-Kassel, KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg e.V., Magstadt 1989

Ortenburg, Georg: Das Militär der Landgrafschaft Hessen-Kassel zwischen 1783 und 1789, Herausgegeben im Auftrag der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Heereskunde e.V., Potsdam 1999

Pengel & Hurt: German States in the Seven Years War 1740 to 1762, Imperial Press

Renouard, Carl: "Geschichte des Krieges in Hannover, Hessen und Westfalen von 1757 bis 1763", 3 Bände, Cassel, 1863-64

Rogge, Christian: The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006

Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756 - 1763. KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg e.V., Magstadt, 1989

Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Infanterie des Landgrafentums Hessen-Kassel während des Siebenjährigen Krieges, in: Artikel für KA7-Sammler aus alten "Zinnfigur" Heften (1924-1944), KLIO-Arbeitsgruppe 7jähriger Krieg, Manuskript, Köln 1980, S. 104-106

Trenkle, Karl: Nix wie weg ... die Hesse komme - Hessen-Kasseler Uniformen 1730 - 1789, Marburg 2000

Witzel, Rudolf: Hessen Kassels Regimenter in der Allierten Armee 1762, bearb. u. hrsg. von Ingo Kroll, Norderstedt 2007

Zahn, Michael: Stammliste und Gefechtskalender der Regimenter der Landgrafschaft Hessen-Kassel im Siebenjährigen Krieg (1756-1763) - Teil 1: Infanterie, Metzingen, 2009

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