Gundlach Militia

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

Origin and History

The unit was originally a Landmiliz (militia). In 1760, when the new Landgrave Friedrich II reorganised his army, the unitbecame 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 1756: Gundlach
  • from 1760: von Müller
  • from 1763: von Wissenbach
  • from 1780: von Knoblauch
  • from 1785: Köhler

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 Stonoterry.

In 1785, the regiment returned to Hessen-Kassel and assumed garrison duty. It 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 23, the battalion took part in the Combat of Sandershausen. During this combat, 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 October 16 1760, the battalion was present at the Battle of Clostercamp where it was deployed in the second brigade of the Reserve.

Uniform

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

Privates

Uniform in 1757 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a small pewter button and white pompoms
Grenadier Prussian style mitre with a red sack, white lace, white base. The pewter plate and base were decorated with the Hessian coat of arms, stand of arms and the letters “FL”.
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 white
Shoulder Straps white fastened with a pewter button
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal, each with 3 pewter buttons
Cuffs white, 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 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 distinctions:

  • a black tricorne laced silver
  • a dark blue coat without shoulder strap and turnback
  • a gilt gorget
  • a silver silken sash with red flecks

NCOs

NCOs wore the same uniform as the privates but had no shoulder strap and a silver edging on each cuff. 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 Regiments 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 white 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 white.

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

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

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

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