Prinz Ysenburg Infantry

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Hesse-Kassel Army >> Prinz Ysenburg Infantry

Origin and History

The regiment was raised in 1687 as the Prinz Carl von Hessen Regiment of Foot for the defence of Venice against the Turks and sent into Greece in the subsequent campaign.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment fought in a variety of campaigns, participating in the battles at Blenheim and Francavilla.

From 1746 to 1756, the regiment was loaned to Great-Britain and stationed in Scotland taking part to the campaign of 1746. The Hessian contingent did not fight at Culloden but took up position to the south to cut off any path of retreat for the Jacobites.

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

  • since 1748: Prinz Johann Casimir von Ysenburg (killed in action at the Battle of Bergen on April 13 1759)
  • from April 1759: Colonel von Bischhausen
  • from1762 to 1764: Major-General von Wilke

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

  • since 1754: Colonel Urff
  • from 1759: Colonel von Bischhausen
  • from 1760 to 1765: Colonel von Donop

During the American War of Independence, in 1776, the regiment was sent over to North America. It fought at Fort Washington, Brandywine and Germantown.

In 1789, the regiment was amalgamated with the Infanterieregiment No. 3.

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 for 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. On July 26, during the French invasion of Hanover, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hastenbeck where it fought in the first line of the centre.

In May 1758, while the French assembled an army for an offensive in Hesse, the regiment was part of Prince von Ysenburg's detachment sent from Westphalia to Marburg to organise the defence of Hesse. On July 23, the regiment fought in the Combat of Sandershausen where the Prince Ysenburg was forced to draw his converged grenadiers, Kanitz, and this regiment from his centre to reinforce a crumbling left flank; leaving only the Hessian militia in the centre. On October 10, the regiment took part in the Battle of Lutterberg where it fought in the first line of the centre, suffering very heavy casualties.

During the first half of 1759, the regiment formed part of the Allied army of Ferdinand of Brunswick. It was attached to Gilsa's Brigade in the first line of the infantry centre. On April 13, it took part in the Battle of Bergen where it formed part of the second column under the Prince von Ysenburg that led the assaults on the village of Bergen. Prince Ysenburg, the chief of the regiment, was killed leading one of these assaults up a steep slope against abattis around the village. The attacks went in without artillery support; the artillery was still in the rear of the baggage train. French reserves poured into the village, blunted these repeated attacks. After several attempts to storm the village, the Hanoverian and Hessian troops withdrew. In June, the regiment was part of Imhoff's Corps operating in Hesse. On August 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Minden where it was deployed in the second line of the 6th column under Major-General von Bischausen. On November 30, the regiment took part in the attack on Fulda where the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick surprised the Württemberger Contingent in the service of France. It was attached to Bevern's column. On December 9, it was part of the Allied force sent as reinforcement to the Prussians in Saxony.

On July 10 1760, the regiment was part of Lieutenant-General von Gilsa's Reserve at the Combat of Corbach. This reserve did not take part in the engagement.

On February 15 1761, the regiment took part in the Combat of Langensalza. From February 19 to March 28, it was at the siege of Kassel. On July 15 and 16, it took part in the Battle of Vellinghausen.

During the campaign of 1762, on June 24, the regiment took part in the Battle of Wilhelmsthal. On July 23, it fought at the Combat of Lutterberg.

Uniform

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

It seems that, like the uniforms of the Hanoverian army, those of the Hessen-Kassel got simpler during the war. At the beginning of the conflict, there still were white lace around lapels and cuffs and the new uniform issued in 1760 had no such laces.

Pre-1760 Uniform

Privates

Uniform - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with straw pompoms and a small yellow button
Grenadier Prussian style mitre with a straw sack, yellow lace, straw base. The brass plate and base decorated in the centre with the God Mars holding the silver Hessian coat of arms supported by lions. Below the letters “LWL” on a blue field with stand of arms behind a flaming grenade.
Neck stock red
Coat dark blue with 2 yellow buttons and 2 white buttonholes under the lapels and yellow buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks
Collar none
Shoulder Straps straw fastened with a yellow button
Lapels straw laced white, each with 6 yellow buttons grouped 2 by 2
Pockets horizontal, each with 2 yellow buttons
Cuffs straw laced white with 2 yellow buttons on the sleeve above each cuff
Turnbacks red fastened with a yellow button
Waistcoat straw
Breeches white
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 blue and yellow diagonal stripes.

Post-1760 Uniform

Privates

Uniform - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with straw pompoms and a small yellow button
Grenadier Prussian style mitre with a straw sack, yellow lace, straw base. The brass plate and base decorated in the centre with the God Mars holding the silver Hessian coat of arms supported by lions. Below the cipher “FL” on a blue field with stand of arms behind a flaming grenade.
Neck stock black
Coat dark blue with 2 yellow buttons and 2 yellow buttonholes under the lapels and 1 yellow buttonhole at the small of the back
Collar straw
Shoulder Straps straw fastened with a yellow button
Lapels straw, each with 6 yellow buttons grouped 2 by 2
Pockets horizontal, each with 2 yellow buttons
Cuffs straw with 2 yellow buttons and 2 yellow buttonholes on the sleeve above each cuff
Turnbacks red fastened with a yellow button
Waistcoat straw
Breeches white
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.

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 straw.

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

Colonel Colour - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Regimental 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

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

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

Mulder, Luke: Some Notes on Landgraf Friedrich II of Hessen-Kassel Re-Organization of 1760, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. XI No. 2

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.