Freywald Militia

From Project Seven Years War
Revision as of 15:43, 7 December 2014 by RCouture (Talk | contribs)

(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search

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

Origin and History

The unit was originally a Landmiliz (militia). In 1760, when the new Landgrave Friedrich II reorganised his army, it was reorganised as a "Garrison Battalion" counting 4 companies. This battalion was initially intended to free up the regular troops for service. By 1762, the unit was converted into a Land regiment and entered field service.

The regimental Chefs were:

  • from 1757: von Freywald
  • from 1760: von Kutzleben
  • from 1762: von Wurmb
  • from 1765: von Knoblauch
  • from 1774: von Huyne
  • from 1780: von Benning

During the American War of Independence, in 1776, the regiment formed part of the Hessian contingent sent to North America. It fought at Fort Washington and Newport. It was later stationed in New York and, in 1779, transferred and stationed in Charleston.

The regiment was disbanded in 1788.

Service during the War

In the spring of 1758, Hessian militia were assembled and used, along with Hanoverian jägers, to guard the roads of the country. On July 27, the battalion took part in the Combat of Sandershausen. During this engagement, Prince Ysenburg was forced to draw his converged grenadiers and Kanitz Infantry from his centre to reinforce a crumbling left flank; leaving only the Hessian militia, including this unit, in the centre. After the initial engagement, this militia unit fell into disorder. The French commander, the Duc de Broglie, seeing this, ordered four of his regiments, all of which having exhausted their powder, to charge the Hessian centre at the point of the bayonet. These regiments managed to break the Hessian militia troops, forcing the Allies to withdraw.

On February 15 1761, the battalion was part of Spörcken's Allied Corps who attacked a Franco-Saxon Corps in the Combat of Langensalza.

Uniform

Hessian troops wore a uniform in the Prussian style including the grenadier and fusilier hat.

Privates

Uniform - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a small pewter button and yellow pompoms
Grenadier Prussian style mitre with a yellow sack, white lace, white base. The pewter plate and base were decorated with the Hessian Lion surmounting the cipher “FL” on a blue field
Neckstock black
Coat dark blue with 6 large pewter buttons arranged 2-2-2 on the chest; 2 smaller pewter buttons on the right side at the waist; 3 small pewter buttons on each side to fasten the basques
Collar yellow
Shoulder Straps yellow fastened with a pewter button
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal, each with 3 pewter buttons
Cuffs yellow, each with 2 pewter buttons on the sleeve above the cuff
Turnbacks red fastened with a small pewter button
Waistcoat dark blue with pewter buttons
Breeches dark blue
Gaiters black fastened with small pewter buttons
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white with a brass buckle
Cartridge Box black with a metal plate
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Footgear black


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

Officers

Officers wore the same uniform as the privates with the following differences:

  • a gilt gorget
  • no shoulder strap
  • no turnback
  • a silver silk sash shot with red flecks.

NCOs

NCOs wore the same uniform as the privates without shoulder strap with a red within white pompom and a silver edging on each cuff as their sole distinctives. They carried the Prussian style partizan. The standard staff was black.

Musicians

By the Seven Years War the convention of wearing reversed colours had disappeared. The Garrison regiment drummers now wore a simpler version of the usual drummer uniform. They had the same dark blue coat but only white and red livery lace placed around the 'swallows nests' on the shoulder.

Drum barrels were of polished brass and were decorated with the Hessian Lion. The drum cords were white and, for this regiment, the rim was a pattern of alternating sky blue and yellow diagonal stripes with a thin red stripe edging every second diagonal.

Colours

To the present day, a definitive reconstruction of the Hesse-Cassel colours during the Seven Years' War is non-existent. All existing publications are mostly speculative. The Leib (colonel) colour was probably white and the regimental colour assumed yellow.

Here follows a tentative reconstruction of these colours used till 1767 (black flag poles).

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


References

Uniformen von Hessen-Cassel, 1769 unter Landgraf Friedrich, nach gleichzeitigen colorierten Zeichnungen vom Hauptmann Bornemann in der Bibliothek des Hessischen Geschichtsvereins

Cookman, D.: Sandershausen 1758, Battlefields Vol. 1 Issue 6

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

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

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

Thalmann, G.F.: Abbildungen und Beschreibung des Fürstes Hessen-Casselschen Militair-Stantes unter der Regierung Landgraf Friedrich des Zweiten bis zum Jahre 1786 (Hessisches Staatsarchiv Marburg, no. E195/2)

Witzel, Rudolf: Hessen Kassels Regimenter in der Alliierten Armee 1762, Norderstedt 2007

Acknowledgements

Michael Zahn for the research and Frédéric Aubert for the plates