Hülsen Infantry

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Origin and History

Uniform in 1759 - Source: Engraving by von Schmalen, Nürnberg 1759

The regiment was raised on April 3 1713 from Prussian regiments in the Dutch service and recruits from the region of Halberstadt.

From 1722, the two battalions of the regiment respectively garrisoned Halberstadt and Quedlinburg. Its levies came from the Principality of Halberstadt; the counties of Hohenstein, Ilsenburg, Wernigerode; and the towns of Beneckenstein, Bleicherode, Derenburg, Elrich, Gröningen, Halberstadt, Quedlinburg, Sachsa, Wegeleben and Wernigerode.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, in 1744, the regiment was at the siege of Prague. In 1745, it took part in the battles of Hohenfriedberg (June 4) and Kesselsdorf (December 15).

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:

  • from February 25 1756 to June 7 1767: Johann Dietrich von Hülsen

The numbering system (Stammliste) was first used by Leopold I., Fürst von Anhalt-Dessau (Der alte Dessauer) in the Dessauer Spezifikation from 1737. Around 1780 the numbers were used in the printed Stammlisten, still with some variations for the fusilier regiments. It became official by "Cabinets-Ordre" from October 1, 1806. The present infantry regiment was attributed number 21.

The regiment was disbanded October 28 1806 after the capitulation of Prenzlau.

Service during the War

On August 26 1756, when the Prussian army was ordered to proceed to the invasion of Saxony, the regiment was part of Ferdinand of Brunswick's column which had concentrated at Halle and advanced unopposed through Leipzig, Chemnitz, Freyberg and Dippoldiswalde, to the village of Cotta (reached on September 9) south of the Elbe near Pirna. On October 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Lobositz. Its first battalion was assigned to the brigade of Lieutenant-General Ferdinand of Brunswick while its second battalion was deployed in the brigade of Lieutenant-General Prince of Bevern. During this battle, the regiment lost 12 officers and 265 men. On October 23, when Keith's army left Lobositz to return to Pirna, the regiment was part of the left column. On October 28, Keith's army reached Gross-Sedlitz near Pirna and took its winter-quarters soon afterwards.

On May 6 1757, during the invasion of Bohemia, the regiment did not take part in the Battle of Prague. It was rather deployed on the left bank of the Moldau near the Weissenberg as part of Keith's Corps. On June 18, the regiment took part in the Battle of Kolin where it was deployed in the first line of the infantry left wing under Lieutenant-General von Tresckow. At the end of the afternoon, it reinforced Hülsen's Corps which was under heavy pressure near the Krzeczhorz height. During this battle, 11 officers were killed and 16 captured while 500 soldiers were killed, 200 wounded and 250 captured. At the end of August, the 1st battalion of the regiment was part of the small Prussian army hastily assembled at Dresden by Frederick II to head towards Thuringia and to offer battle to the Franco-Imperial army invading Saxony. On November 5, at the Battle of Rossbach, the 1st battalion was deployed in the second line of the infantry right wing under Lieutenant-General von Forcade.

On August 12 1759, the regiment fought in the Battle of Kunersdorf where it was deployed in the first line of the right centre as part of Thile's Brigade. In this bloody battle, the regiment lost more than 700 men killed or wounded. On November 20, one battalion of the regiment took part in the Battle of Maxen where it was attached to Lindstädt's Brigade. Completely surrounded, the entire Prussian force finally surrendered as prisoners of war.

On September 17 1760, the regiment took part in the Combat of Hochgiersdorf where it was attached to the vanguard led by Lieutenant-General von Forcade. On November 3, the regiment took part in the Battle of Torgau.

From August 11 to October 10 1762, the regiment took part in the siege and recapture of Schweidnitz.

N.B.: During the war the grenadiers from the wing grenadier companies were put together with the grenadiers of Infantry Regiment 27 forming the Grenadier Batallion 21/27 (please refer to this article for the details of the service of the grenadiers during the war).

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1756 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white, one brass button, red/blue/white/blue pompons
Grenadier mitre with polished brass front plate; red headband with black braid laced white and polished brass ornaments; straw backing with black braid laced white; black within white within black within red pompom (see Grenadier Batallion 21/27 for an illustration)
Neck stock red
Coat Prussian blue lined red with 9 white loops (white braid with 2 wavy orange stripes) and 9 brass buttons each side on the chest, 2 white loops (same lace as above) on each side at the waist (2 brass buttons on the right side only), 1 white loop (same lace as above) on each side in the small of the back, 3 brass buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks
Collar red
Shoulder Straps red (two rows of regimental lace on the 1786 uniform depicted in Hohrath's book) fastened with a small brass button
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets lined red, each with 3 brass buttons
Cuffs red (in the Prussian pattern) laced white (same lace as above) with 2 white loops (same lace as above) and 2 brass buttons on the sleeve flap above each cuff
Turnbacks red fastened with a small brass button
Waistcoat white (straw as per Hohrath) with horizontal pockets and brass buttons
Breeches white (straw as per Hohrath)
Gaiters black
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt one white belt over the left shoulder for the cartridge box and one narrower white belt over the right shoulder for the haversack
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard brown
Scabbard brown
Footgear black shoes


Privates were armed with a musket, a bayonet and a sabre with a curved blade.

NCOs

NCOs wore uniforms similar to those of the privates with the following distinctions:

  • tricorne with wide gold lace and black and white quartered pompoms
  • 6 golden lace loops arranged 2-2-2 on each side on the chest (none in the small of the back and on the cuffs)
  • gilt buttons
  • cuffs and sleeve flaps edged in white (same lace as above)
  • no shoulder strap
  • yellowish leather gloves
  • black and white sabre tassel

NCOs were armed with a sabre and a dark brown half-pikes measuring 10 Rhenish feet (3.06 m.) in the musketeer companies and 13 Rhenish feet (4.10 m.) in the grenadier companies (carried by the 3 most senior NCOs while other grenadier NCOs were armed with rifled muskets since 1744).

NCOs also carried canes (normally attached to a button at the top of the right front while carrying the half-pike).

Officers

Hülsen Infantry Officer - Source: Menzel, Adolph von, Die Armee Friedrich's des Großen

The uniforms of the officers were very similar to those of the privates with the following exceptions:

  • black tricorne edged with a thin gold braid (officers always wore tricornes notwithstanding if they were commanding musketeers, fusiliers or grenadiers)
  • white neck stock
  • no shoulder strap on the coat
  • 6 golden cord loops and 6 gilt buttons arranged 2-2-2 on each side on the chest
  • 2 golden cord loops and 2 gilt buttons on each side at the waist
  • 1 golden cord loops sidewise on each side in the small of the back
  • 2 golden cord loops on each pocket
  • 2 golden cord loops and 2 gilt buttons on the sleeve flap above each gold edged cuff.
  • no turnback on the coat
  • black and silver sash around the waist

Officers carried dark brown spontoons measuring 7 ½ Rhenish feet (2.36 m.) and an officer stick.

Musicians

The lace of the drummers consisted of a white braid bordered with yellow dented braids.

The uniforms of the drummers were similar to those of the privates but had much more elaborate lacing and other peculiarities:

  • collar edged with the drummer lace
  • no shoulder strap
  • swallow nest consisting 5 vertical narrow laces and 1 horizontal wide lace of on each shoulder
  • coat, buttonholes, pockets, collar and cuffs were edged with the narrow lace
  • drummer lace around the buttons in the small of the back
  • pockets edged with the drummer lace
  • each sleeve decorated with 9 chevrons in narrow laces bordered with a wide lace on each side


Colours

Colonel colour (Leibfahne): White field with black flames. Centre device consisting of a purple red medallion surrounded by a golden laurel wreath and surmounted by a gold crown. The medallion is decorated with a black eagle holding a sword and lightning bolts surmounted by a white scroll bearing the golden motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, ciphers) and grenades in gold.

Regimental colours (Kompaniefahnen): Purple red field with black flames. Centre device consisting of a white medallion surrounded by a golden laurel wreath and surmounted by a gold crown. The medallion is decorated with a black eagle holding a sword and lightning bolts surmounted by a purple red scroll bearing the golden motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, ciphers) and grenades in gold.

Colonel Colour - Source: Hannoverdidi
Regimental Colour - Source: Hannoverdidi

The pikes used as staffs for the colours were dark brown.

References

Anonymous (maybe Karl Wellner), Montierung des Königlich Preussischen Armee

Bleckwenn, Hans, Die Uniformen der Preußischen Infanterie 1753-1786, Teil III/Bd. 3, Osnabrück 1973

Brauer, M.: Heer und Tradition / Heeres-Uniformbogen (so-called „Brauer-Bogen"), Berlin 1926 -1962

Bleckwenn, Hans, Die friderzianischen Uniformen 1753-1786, Bd. I Infanterie I, Osnabrück 1984

Deutsche Uniformen, Bd. 1, Das Zeitalter Friedrich des Großen, 240 images of Herbert Knötel d. J., Text and explanations by Dr. Martin Letzius, published by Sturm-Zigaretten GmbH, Dresden: 1932

Die Bewaffnung und Ausrüstung der Armee Friedrichs des Großen: Eine Dokumentation aus Anlaß seines 200. Todesjahres, 2 erw. Auflage, Raststatt 1986

Engelmann, Joachim and Günter Dorn, Die Infanterie-Regimenter Friedrich des Grossen, Podzun-Pallas, 2000

Funcken, Liliane and Fred, Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

Guddat, Martin; Grenadiere, Musketiere, Füsiliere: Die Infanterie Friedrichs des Großen, Herford 1986

Hohrath, Daniel: The Uniforms of the Prussian Army under Frederick the Great from 1740 to 1786; Vol. 2; Verlag Militaria, Vienna: 2011, pp. 176-181

Menzel, Adolph von, Die Armee Friedrich's des Großen, Berlin: 1851/57

Schirmer, Friedrich; Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, published by KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg, Neuauflage 1989

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

Summerfield, Stephen: Prussian Musketeers of the War of the Austrian Succession and Seven Years War: Uniforms, Organisation and Equipement of Musketeer Regiments, Ken Trotman Publishing: Huntingdon, 2012, pp. 163-167

Tressenmusterbuch von 1755

Uniformes Prussien et Saxonne, Bilderhandschrift, 1758 (Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin)

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