Frei-Infanterie de Chossignon
Origin and History
The unit was raised on May 16 1757, after the battle of Prague, from Austrian prisoners and deserters in Nossen and Rosswein. It was initially stationed in the castle of Bautzen to protect the line of cummunication between Bohemia and Dresden. On September 6, it surrender as prisoners of war to an Austrian corps under the command of General Andreas Hadik.
According to Bleckwenn's classification system, the unit is designated as “Frei-Infanterie Regiment F5”. The unit consisted of one battalion:
- 5 musketeer companies, each of:
- 3 officers
- 7 NCOs
- 1 drummer
- 90 privates
- 2 x 1-pdr guns.
For the campaign of 1758, the battalion was increased to 21 officers, 35 NCOs, 5 drummers and 750 privates.
At the beginning of 1759, the two 1-pdr guns of the battalion were replaced by 3-pdr guns.
During the Seven Years' War, the unit was under the command of:
- since May 16 1757 to June 12 1758: Lieutenant-colonel de Chossignon
- from August 20 1758 till June 24 1759: Major Friedrich Otto de Monjou
In June 1759, the unit was incorporated into Frei-Infanterie von Wunsch.
Service during the War
In the spring of 1757, the unit was initially stationed in the castle of Bautzen to protect the line of cummunication between Bohemia and Dresden. On September 6, it surrender as prisoners of war to an Austrian corps under the command of General Andreas Hadik. A new battalion was raised in Dresden during the winter of 1757-58 to replaced the captured unit.
On June 12 1758, Chossignon was killed by a stray bullet. He was succeeded at the head of the unit by Major Friedrich Otto de Monjou. At the beginning of November 1758, along with Frei-Infanterie von Mayr, the unit was sent towards Dresden to hinder Daun's operations. On November 10, Mayr set the suburbs of Dresden afire to cover their retreat across the Elbe. At the end of the year the unit guarder the Saxon mountains against raids of the Austrian light troops.
At the opening of the campaign of 1759, the unit was attached to the Prussian corps operating in Saxony. In April, under the command of Prince Henri, it took part to an incursion in Bohemia against Austrian magazines. During these operations a large part of the unit was taken prisoners. On June 24, the chief of the regiment, de Monjou, was dismissed and the rest of the unit incorporated into Frei-Infanterie von Wunsch.
|Headgear||black tricorne without lace with 1 yellow button, 1 light blue pompom and 1 smaller similar pompom in each lateral corne|
|Coat||Prussian blue lined red; 2 yellow buttons under the right lapel; and 3 yellow buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks
|Waistcoat||light blue with one row of yellow buttons|
|Gaiters||tall black gaiters|
Privates were armed with a short musket, a bayonet and a curved blade sabres.
NCOs wore uniforms similar to those of the privates with the following distinctions:
- tricorne with wide golden lace and black and white quartered pompoms
- no shoulder strap
- unlaced buttonholes
- gold edged collar, lapels and cuffs
NCOs were probably armed with a sabre and a half-pikes measuring 7 ½ Rhenish feet (2.37 m.).
NCOs also carried canes (normally attached to a button at the top of the right front while carrying the half-pike).
Officers had tricorne wearing a scalloped golden lace, a black cockade fastened with a small golden button and a golden strap; and 2 black and white pompoms (1 in each lateral corne of the tricorne). Their coats were similar to those of the privates but had no turnbacks nor shoulder straps. Their waistcoat were decorated with 8 gold laced buttonholes.
Officers probably carried spontoons measuring 7 ½ Rhenish feet (2.36 m.).
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None of the Freikorps units carried official colours or standards to the exception of von Kleist Frei Korps.
Bleckwenn, Hans (Hrsg.): Das Altpreussische Heer - Erscheinungsbild und Wesen 1713-1807, Teil III: Übersichten altpreußischer Uniformgestaltung, Band 5: Die Uniformen der preußischen Technischen Truppen, Rückwärtigen Dienste und Kriegsformationen 1753-1786, Osnabrück 1984
Cremer, Peter: Die Preussischen Freikorps im Siebenjährigen Krieg: Auflistung der Freikorps, ihrer Einsätze, der Uniformen, der Chefs und deren Geschichte, KLIO-Arbeitsgruppe 7jähriger Krieg, Friderzianische Epoche, Manuskript, o.J.
Großer Generalstab, Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II (Publisher). Die Kriege Friedrichs des Großen. Dritter Teil: Der Siebenjährige Krieg 1756–1763, Vol. 1 Pirna und Lobositz, Berlin 1901, Anlage 1-2
Jany, Curt: Geschichte der Königlich Preußischen Armee bis zum Jahre 1807, Zweiter Band: Die Armee Friedrichs des Großen 1740-1763, Reprint Osnabrück 1967
Knötel, Herbert d.J.; Brauer, Hans M.; Heer und Tradition - Heeres-Uniformbogen (so-called “Brauer-Bogen”), Berlin 1926 -1962
Ritter, Joachim; Der standhafte Zinnsoldat; Leipzig, 1937
Schmalen, Accurate Vorstellung der sämtlich Koeniglichen Preusischen Armee Worinnen zur eigentlichen Kenntniss der Uniform von jedem Regiment ein Officier und Gemeiner in Völliger Montirung und ganzer Statur nach dem Leben abgebildet sind., Nürnberg, 1759
Uniformen Preuß. Armee, ca. 1758
Michael Zahn and Digby Smith for the information provided for the creation of the initial version of this article.