Hessian Garde

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

Origin and History

Originally raised during the Thirty Years' War (1618 to 1648) by General Geyso as the Weißes Regiment (White Regiment), the regiment took part in the Battle at Lützen (1632). After the peace of 1648, the regiment formed the Kasseler Palace Company and occupied the Fortress at Ziegenhain.

When Landgrave Karl formed his standing army in 1684, the regiment became the Leibregiment zu Fuss. After taking part in the campaigns against Turks in Greece, the regiment became the Leibgarde zu Fuß in 1699.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment fought at Hochstadt, Castillione, Oudenarde and Malplaquet. After this war, the regiment assumed garrison duties in Hessen until the beginning of the Seven Years' War when it was sent to England.

During the Seven Years' War, the successive Chefs of the regiment were:

  • since 1751: Landgrave Wilhelm VIII
  • from 1760 to 1785: Landgrave Friedrich II

During the Seven Years' War, the successive Kommandeure assuming effective command of the regiment were:

  • since 1738: Colonel Wolf von Gutenberg
  • from 1760: Major-General von Bose
  • from 1760: Colonel von Loßberg
  • from 1760: Colonel von Schliefen
  • from 1762 to 1777: Major-General von Bardeleben

During the 1760 reform, the regiment was renamed the Dritte Garde (3rd Guards).

During the American Revolution, the regiment remained in Hessen and was disbanded in 1806.

Service during the War

On March 28 1756, George II informed the Houses of Parliament of Great Britain that the French Court was planning the invasion of Great Britain and that, consequently, he intended to requisition a body of Hessian troops and to use it as reinforcement of Great Britain. The same day, the contingent of the Hesse-Kassel Army started to assemble in Germany. It consisted of 8 regiments including the present regiment. From March 28 to April 20, the Hessian contingent marched towards Bremen. On May 2, it embarked aboard 48 British transports at Stade. On May 15, it landed at Southampton. From May 19 to 22, the Hessian contingent was transported to the region of Salisbury where it took its cantonments. By May 23, it had been quartered in Hampshire. From July 11 to 14, the Hessian contingent moved to its new encampment at Winchester. In December, it took its winter-quarters in the Counties of Chichester, Salisbury and Southampton.

From April 23 to 27 1757, the Hessian contingent embarked aboard 43 British transports at Chatham to return to Germany. On May 1, the convoy sailed from Chatham. From May 11 to 16, the convoy gradually reached Stade after having suffered a severe tempest.

In 1758, on May 26, the regiment was with the corps of the Prince von Holstein in the camp of Dülmen. On May 30, the regiment occupied Emmerich. On May 31, this corps accompanied Ferdinand of Brunswick in his offensive on the west bank of the Rhine, the regiment crossing the Rhine on June 2 at Emmerich. On June 12, during the aborted attack on the French positions at Rheinberg, the regiment was in Holstein's (third) column of attack under Major-General von Gilsa. On June 17, Holstein's Corps marched towards Hüls. On June 19, it joined the corps of the Hereditary Prince at Kempen. On June 23, the regiment took part in the Battle of Krefeld where it was deployed on the right wing under the command of the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick. On June 27, the regiment was among the Allied troops who captured Roermonde. On September 29, it was part of Holstein's Corps during the French surprise attack on Bork.

During the first half of 1759, the regiment formed part of the Allied Army of Ferdinand of Brunswick. It was attached to Bose's Brigade in the first line of the infantry centre. On April 6 and 7, the regiment took part in the capture of the Fortress of Ulrichstein. One week later, on April 13, it fought at the Battle of Bergen where it formed part of the third column under the Duke von Holstein-Gottorp. The regiment, along with the Brunswick Behr and Imhoff regiments, supported by a brigade of Allied cavalry, advanced in support of the left flank attack on Bergen. In mid June, the regiment was part of Wutginau's Corps which had taken position at Büren in Westphalia. On August 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Minden where it was deployed in the first line of the 6th column under Major-General von Toll. It brought a very timely support to the British infantry advancing straight upon the cavalry deployed on the left of the French centre.

In 1760, on September 30, the regiment was at the blockade of Wesel. On October 1, it was at the surrender of the Castle of Cleve. On October 15, it took part in the advanced post combats at Elverich. On October 16, it fought at the Battle of Clostercamp.

In 1761, on February 14, the regiment took part in the unsuccessful attack on Marburg. On February 18, it was at the combat of Sachsenberg. From February 23 to March 28, it besieged Ziegenhain. On March 25, it took part in the combat of Leinsfeld. On July 4, it fought at the combat of Unna. On July 15 and 16, it took part in the Battle of Vellinghausen. On November 8, as part of a reconnaissance party, it was engaged in a fight between Stadt-Oldendorf and Dassel.

In 1762, on June 24, the regiment fought at the Battle of Wilhelmsthal.

Uniform

Hessian troops wore a uniform in the Prussian style including the grenadier and fusilier hat. Until 1750 the trousers were dark blue and the vest buff. The stock was red for the other ranks and white for officers.

Pre-1760 Uniform

Privates

Uniform - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with pewter button and white within red pompoms (most likely no pompom at all)
Grenadier Prussian style mitre with a red frontplate with brass ornaments, a red headband piped yellow, a blue sack piped yellow and a white pompom
Neckstock red
Coat dark blue with 3 white buttonholes striped red below each lapel and 3 white buttonholes striped red at the small of the back
Collar red
Shoulder Straps red fastened with a pewter button with a white aiguillette on the right shoulder
Lapels red with 7 pewter buttons and 7 white buttonholes striped red
Pockets horizontal pockets laced with a white braid striped red, with 3 pewter buttons and 3 white buttonholes striped red
Cuffs red in the Prussian style laced with a white braid striped red, with 3 pewter buttons and 3 white buttonholes striped red on each sleeve
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat pale yellow
Breeches white (or pale yellow)
Gaiters black for campaigning and during winter, white for parades and during summer
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black with a brass plate
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Footgear black


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

Officers

Officers wore a white stock and, as a sign of their commissioned rank, a gorget, in button colour, and sash. The sash was of silver silk shot with red flecks .

NCO's carried the Prussian style partizan.

The standard staff was black.

Musicians

By the Seven Years War the convention of wearing reversed colours had disappeared. Drummers now wore the same dark blue coat with white and red livery lace placed along the coat seams in seven inverted chevrons along the sleeves and around the 'swallows nests' on the shoulder. Very much a copy of the Prussian style.

Drum barrels were of polished brass and were decorated with the Hessian lion surrounded by a laurel wreath with a crown above. The Hessian lion was striped red and white with a red tongue on a royal blue background. The drum cords were white and, for this regiment, the rim was a pattern of alternating red and yellow diagonal stripes with a thin black stripe between the red and yellow.

1760 Uniform

In 1760, the uniforms of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Garde were similar.

Privates

Uniform - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
as per the Mundierungsreglements 1761

from the State Archive of Hesse, Marburg, piece 4 h 4203
completed by other sources when necessary
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced with a white zigzag braid, grey cockade fastened with a small white button, red pompons (most likely no pompom at all)
Grenadier Prussian style mitre probably with a red sack (unknown prior to 1776 when it was red), silver lace, red base. All silver plate and base contained the Hessian lion with four red stripes below the monogram “FL”. However, it is not described in the 1761 Mundierungsreglements.
Neckstock black
Coat blue with 2 white buttons and 2 white button loops with white tassels at the waist on each side under the lapels and 2 white button loops with white tassels in the small of the back (one on each side)
Collar red
Shoulder Straps red with a white aiguillette (right shoulder only)
Lapels red with 6 white buttons and 6 white button loops with white tassels on each lapel
Pockets horizontal pockets with 3 white buttons
Cuffs red round and slit cuffs, each with 2 white buttons and 2 white button loops with white tassels on the sleeve above each cuff
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat yellow
Breeches yellow
Gaiters black for campaigning and during winter, white for parades and during summer
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black with a metal plate
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Footgear black


NCOs

(Silver) band lace instead of the white laces of the troopers.

Officers

Officers had no lapels, (silver) bow lace, but not as rich as with the 1st Garde. Their tricorne had a broad zigzag lace without Lahne (sic - read Lohe? - flamed?). No plume on the tricorne. Black stocks and cockade with the pig-tail.

Musicians

The Tambours also receive lapels just like the privates (i.e. none before?). The lace on the sleeves was a band lace of mixed white/red just like 1st Garde, but not as rich.

Colours

To the present day, a definitive reconstruction of the Hesse-Cassel colours during the Seven Years' War is non-existant. All existing publications are mostly speculative. The Hessian Garde most likely had two identical white flags with the Hessian national coat of arms.

Here follows a tentative reconstruction of these flags used till 1767. The flag poles were yellow.

Colonel Colour - Source: Frédéric Aubert

References

Bleckwenn, Hans: Europa kämpft in Flandern... Die Morier-Bilder in Windsor Castle, Teil IV: Hessen-Kassel 1748, in: Zeitschrift für Heereskunde, XXX Jg. (1960), Nr. 207, S. 122-125 and Nr. 208, S. 166-168

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

Großer Generalstab, Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II (Publisher). Die Kriege Friedrichs des Großen. Dritter Teil: Der Siebenjährige Krieg 1756–1763. Band 5 Hastenbeck und Roßbach, Berlin 1903

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

Manley, S.: Uniforms of the Danish and German States armies 1739-1748, Potsdam Publications

Mohr, Kurt: Einiges über die Hessen-Kasselsche Infanterie 1760, in: Artikel für KA7-Sammler aus alten "Zinnfigur" Heften (1924-1944), KLIO-Arbeitsgruppe 7jähriger Krieg, Manuskript, Köln 1980, S. 106-107

Noeske, Rolf: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, 1. Ergänzung Hessen-Kassel, KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg e.V., Magstadt 1989

Ortenburg, Georg: Das Militär der Landgrafschaft Hessen-Kassel zwischen 1783 und 1789, Herausgegeben im Auftrag der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Heereskunde e.V., Potsdam 1999

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

Renouard, Carl: "Geschichte des Krieges in Hannover, Hessen und Westfalen von 1757 bis 1763", 3 Bände, Cassel, 1863-64

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

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

Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Infanterie des Landgrafentums Hessen-Kassel während des Siebenjährigen Krieges, in: Artikel für KA7-Sammler aus alten "Zinnfigur" Heften (1924-1944), KLIO-Arbeitsgruppe 7jähriger Krieg, Manuskript, Köln 1980, S. 104-106

Trenkle, Karl: Nix wie weg ... die Hesse komme - Hessen-Kasseler Uniformen 1730 - 1789, Marburg 2000

Witzel, Rudolf: Hessen Kassels Regimenter in der Allierten Armee 1762, bearb. u. hrsg. von Ingo Kroll, Norderstedt 2007

Zahn, Michael: Stammliste und Gefechtskalender der Regimenter der Landgrafschaft Hessen-Kassel im Siebenjährigen Krieg (1756-1763) - Teil 1: Infanterie, Metzingen, 2009

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