Frei-Husaren von Schill

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Origin and History

Trooper of the Frei-Husaren von Schill in 1761 - Copyright: Franco Saudelli and Dr Marco Pagan

In 1761, Prince Xavier accepted the offer of Johann Georg Schill, serving as volunteer with some hussars in the Reichsarmee, to join the Saxon Contingent with his hussars. Schill gradually increased his small company to 100 men called Leibjäger and was promoted captain (Rittmeister) in the Saxon Army.

On campaign, this single squadron served as Life Guard for Prince Xavier (aka Comte de Lusace). According to Schirmer, this unit also included a number of mounted and foot Jägers. They might have been raised for similar tasks as the Fusiliers-Guides serving with the French General Staff.

In 1763, the squadron was incorporated into the re-raised Freiherr von Sacken Light Dragoons (former Graf Rutowsky Light Dragoons).

Service during the War

The Gazette van Ghendt reports that, on August 27 1762, Captain Schill assaulted a Brunswig Turk and hussar party in the Erfurt area, killing some, taking prisoner a lieutenant and 26 men (also 30 horses). This is borne out by the Chronik von Erfurt(1).

During the later part of October 1762, Schill's mounted chasseurs and hussars are found in the vicinity of Gotha(2).

On November 4, Schill (supported by Ottosche Jäger) tried to surprise some Prussian troops in Weißensee (some 8 km NW of Sömmerda in Thuringia) and, even though these had been forewarned, succeeded in breaking down the town gates. They took prisoners some 30 Prussians prisoner and also got 40 horses and baggage as booty.(2).

On November 20 1762, Schill with hussars and mounted jägers surprised a small detachment of Brunswig Hussars and Türken which under the command of a captain had been forcefully collecting cattle in the Fulda and Würtzburg areas, having acquired some 100 heads. Some were cut down, some wounded and the captain and some 20 of his men taken prisoners, as were 30 horses. Schill then had the cattle returned to their original owners(sub>(3)</sub> (the location of this skirmish is given as 'Yhrsprünge'; this may be 'Urspring', part of Pretzfeld in Oberfranken).

Uniform

Our sources for this uniform are an old plate by R. Trache, copied later by Schirmer 1989 and Friedrich 1998; and another plate in De Ridder collection kept at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris.

Troopers

Frei-Husaren von Schill uniform in 1761 - Source: David at Not By Appointment
Uniform Details
Headgear red mirliton; a black flame edged white normally wound round the mirliton; white over red plume
Pelisse white
Fur trim brown
Lace red
Buttons white
Dolman yellow
Collar no information available
Cuffs probably white
Waist belt brown leather
Lace white
Breeches red breeches with white Hungarian knots and lace
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt no information available
Scabbard brown leather scabbard with steel tips and fitting
Boots black Hungarian boots edged white with a white tassel
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth white, pointed and decorated with a red van-dyked stripe in the Hungarian style

N.B.: this is a conjectural reconstruction because we have no certain information about the colour of the saddle-cloth

Sabretache red edged a white braid with 2 yellow stripes; decorated with an embroidered "AR" cipher surmounted by a crown
Blanket roll probably red


Troopers were armed with a short, curved sabre and two pistols.

Other interpretation

Frei-Husaren von Schill Knötel - Source: Knötel

Knötel in his Uniformkunde (Vol. XII, Nr. 56) shows a totally different uniform (red dolman, green pelisse).

Officers

no information available

Musicians

no information available

Standards

no information available

Footnotes

(1) Beyer, Constantin: Neue Chronik von Erfurt oder Erzählung alles dessen, was sich vom Jahre 1736 ...Erfurt, 1821

(2) Augspurgische Ordinari Post-Zeitung 1762, 7-12

(3) Ordinari-Müncher-Zeitungen, Nov. 30, 1762

References

Collection Gustave de Ridder (Bibliotheque Nationale de France) - Uniformes de l'Electorat de Saxe

Salisch, M. von: Treue Deserteure – Das kursächsische Militär und der Siebenjährige Krieg, Munich, 2009

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

Schuster, O.; Francke, F.A.: Geschichte der Sächischen Armee von deren Errichtung bis auf die neueste Zeit, Erster Theil, Leipzig 1885

Summerfield, Dr. Stephen: Saxon Army of Austrian War of Succession and the Seven Years War, Ken Trotman Publishing, 2011

Trache, R.: old plate later copied by Schirmer in 1989 and Friedrich in 1998

Acknowledgement

Harald Skala for additional information on this unit