Fusilier Hesse-Cassel Erbprinz - 1776

A Fusilier of the Hesse-Cassel Erbprinz Regiment enjoys a pipe while on watch in New York City, 1776.
He is called a "Fusilier" because he carries a "Fusil", which was a light, flintlock musket.  This German gentleman is a member of the Hesse-Cassel Erbprinz Regiment, sold by their Prince in Germany to King George III, who was an old German himself.

The arrival of German “Mercenaries” under British Command spread considerable alarm in 1776. When hostilities broke out in 1775 the British turned to a source which they had used before, the German states. Britain had previously used German troops against the Jacobite uprising in Scotland of 1745.

King George III was not only King of England, but also the ruler of the German State of Hanover. Treaties had been drawn up with the rulers of Hesse-Cassel, Hesse-Hanau, Brunswick, Waldeck, Ansbach-Beyreuth & Anhalt Zerbst for the use of their troops.

On 20 July 1776 a fleet of 64 ships departed England reaching New York on 18 October.

The basic German Regiment was made up of a Musketeer Battalion with 1 Grenadier Company, although the Brunswick & Hesse-Hanau Regiments had Light Companies as well.

Unique amongst the German organization was the corps of Jaegers or Hunters. These were originally raised from amongst hunters and game wardens of the German Forests and armed with heavy, short rifles instead of muskets. Jaegers generally wore green coats.  The British thought they would be of advantage in the American forests, however it turned out that many unqualified peasants were put into Jaeger uniforms.

The Germans modified the organization of their Regiments in an effort to adapt to the English system, Grenadiers which had been distributed among the Musketeer & Fusilier battalions were formed into independent units.

The Hesse-Cassel “Hessian Corps” was organized into 2 Divisions and 4 Brigades under Lt Gen. Phillip von Heister who had served with distinction in the 7 Years War.

The German soldiers sent to America came home experienced Veterans and these troops were considered among the best soldiers in the German Armies during the subsequent Wars of the French Revolution.

A good thumbnail sketch of one of the lads:  http://members.tripod.com/~Silvie/Schilling.html

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