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May form an idea of the present state of affairs by perusing the following, which I transcribe from a New York paper dated 6th of this instant April, and mentions that Admirals Rodney, Ross and Digby, on their passage to Gibraltar fell in with 27 sail of Spanish merchantmen and 4 men of war, of which they took 17 sail and their convoy. The rest made their escape. After this, the Admiral attack’d a squadron of Spanish ships, consisting of 10 of seventy and 4 of eighty guns, six of which was taken, one blown up, two ran a shore and two made their escape into Cadiz, the six captured vessels was carried into Gibraltar. The bills of lading belonging to the merchantmen amounted to 5,000,000 of Dollars.
A letter from an officer on board Admiral Arbuthnot’s fleet, dated March 8th lying off Charlestown, says, they were then going over the bar with six ships, and tomorrow they should open a battery of 40 guns against the town.
This day arrived in Albany from the Eastward, an honest and intelligent gentleman, who declares he saw a printed handbill from New York, wherein was mention’d that the British troops took Charlestown on the 27th. I expect the next good opportunity that offers to reacquaint your Excellency with a grand scheme now in agitation by “Hudibras” which if perfected will deserve praise. For other particulars I beg to refer you to Hudibras’s letters sent to Sir John Johnson and other intelligences to Captain Frazer dated last month.
Signed, Hudibras [code name for Secret Service Agent Dr. George Smyth]
Haldimand Collection, Add MSS B182 21842]]>
“The German troops which compose my force, three British Regiments excepted, are in every respect unfit for the service in which I have to employ them: they are inactive, insolent…and so addicted to deserting that I dare not trust them in any of the frontier posts, so that in fact they are more an encumbrance where there is a scarcity of provisions, than an additional strength.”
Though I wonder if he would be complaining so harshly if he only had the three British regiments with which to defend a border stretching from Quebec to the Ohio and beyond.
Source: Library of Congress, Correspondence between Sir Henry Clinton and General Haldimand, Quebec, American War: British War Office Records]]>
Here we have a musketeer and grenadier of the Brunswick Prinz Friedrich Infantry Regiment. The musketeer companies survived the ‘77 campaign intact as the Regiment was assigned garrison duty at Fort Ticonderoga during the summer and fall, however the grenadier company was a part of Breymann’s Grenadier Battalion which was destroyed after the Bennington and Saratoga battles. The rest of the Regiment saw garrison service in Canada until the end of the war in 1783. Historians often neglect the Prinz Friedrich, however as Helga Doblin points out, the Regiment played an important part in the defense of Fort Ticonderoga, and were one of the few intact Regiments left to protect Canada after the Burgoyne disaster. In addition, two officers of the Regiment, Lt. Colonel Prätorius and Ensign Julius Friedrich von Hille left fantastic accounts of the Prinz Friedrich during the war.
The uniforms are the standard German uniforms, however what made the Prinz Friedrich unique was the absence of lapels. The coats were similar in appearance to the Hesse Kassel Garrison Regiments in that they only had collars and cuffs of the Regimental facing color. Most modern illustrations show a somewhat darker yellow than that of the Infantry Regiment von Riedesel. The musketeer is relaxing in garrison duty smoking his pipe.]]>
For the current installment of The Northern Campaign in Miniature, we have representatives of a Musketeer and Grenadier of the Hesse Hanau Infantry Regiment Erbprinz. This is one of my all-time favorite units; just look at those uniforms! They also carried a rather unique regimental flag with the Hesse Hanau coat of arms centered on a pink field….I guess one could argue that they were getting in touch with their feminine side. Often mis-labeled as a Grenadier Battalion, the Erbprinz saw little action in the ‘77 campaign as they were mostly relegated to guarding the baggage. Elements of the Regiment garrisoned posts in Canada throughout the war until the whole Regiment was reconstituted towards the end of the conflict. For these figures, I went with what I call ‘peacock yellow’ small clothes, although I have seen other modern illustrations showing either white or straw colored small clothes. To me, the von Germann painting shows a musketeer in yellow. I also went with silver lace, as indicated on the von Germann painting. However, Brendan Morrissey indicates that white lace was used instead, which I’m starting to feel was probably used. I can’t imagine equipping a whole battalion with coats covered in silver lace.]]>
Born in 1753 to Isaac and Marie von Van Den Velden in the principality of Hesse Kassel, little Wilhelm would eventually grow to serve his Prince and serve the fledgling Provincial government of Canada. Little is known of his early life, but Velden eventually made his way to the city of Frankfurt in the principality of Hesse Hanau. There, he would embark in 1777 on a journey that would take him to the other side of the world and change his life and fortunes forever.
The English Crown recognized soon after the battle of Breed’s Hill (Bunker Hill) in 1775 that they needed additional manpower to quell the rebellion in the American colonies. In early 1777, the English signed a treaty with the Hereditary Prince of Hesse Kassel, Wilhelm IX of Hesse Hanau, that placed the Prince’s Corps of Jagers in the paid service of the English Crown. Hesse Hanau was to provide up to five companies of rifle armed Jagers for service in Canada. On 1 March 1777, at the age of 24, Velden received his commission as 2nd Lieutenant in the Jager Corps. Due to his organizational and language skills, Lt. Colonel Carl Adolph Christoph von Creuzbourg selected the young Lt. Velden as his adjutant.
Lt. Velden had many responsibilities as adjutant. One such responsibility was to negotiate passage through the various city-states and principalities through which the Jager Corps would have to pass to get to the coast at Nijmegen. The negotiations were very important as customs duties, inspections, or worse, denial of passage could have caused serious problems for the Jager Corps. One such issue arose when customs officials for the city of Coblenz stopped the Jager Corps flotilla for a request to search the ships for dutiable items and alleged deserters from Coblenz. Velden used his diplomatic skills to negotiate passage without search at the expense of a lengthy delay.
Upon arrival in Canada in early June of 1777, Creuzbourg entrusted Velden with leading an investigation into an incident of alleged mutiny involving Brunswick Jagers that occurred earlier in May. During this investigation, Velden impressed Creuzbourg. In September of the same year, Creuzbourg requested that the Prince promote Velden to 1st Lieutenant. In a letter to the Prince, Creuzbourg wrote that “…he [Velden] is most worthy of recommendation, the more so since his talents show promise to employ him in the future in different capacities.” However, events would transpire that would indeed be a true test of Velden’s capabilities.
Trans-Atlantic communication in the 18th century was lengthy and unpredictable at best. The problems were magnified in times of war, especially when letters were sent to principalities deep inside ‘Germany’. Whether or not the Prince ever received Creuzbourg’s recommendation will likely never be determined. Velden understood all too well that his Prince may never receive Creuzbourg’s request for a promotion. In July of 1778, Velden began discussions with several merchants in the Quebec area. Many German soldiers sought their riches in Canada after the war, and Velden was no exception so he requested an honorable discharge from Creuzbourg. However, what made the situation with Velden unique was, at least according to his commanding officer, that Velden’s urge to make his riches impeded his work as adjutant. Other officers in the Corps attempted to talk Velden out of his request by arguing that to request an honorable discharge on the grounds that getting rich “…was dishonorable.” However, Velden persisted in his request.
Lt. Velden’s Life Changed forever on 1 June 1779. While waiting for official approval of his discharge request from the Prince, Velden maintained his position as Adjutant. One hot afternoon, Velden assisted Creuzbourg with the changing of the guard in garrison. Velden appeared before the parade wearing stockings and a striped necktie in direct contravention of an order issued earlier prohibiting such items from being worn. Always a stickler for following orders and proper military procedure, Creuzbourg promptly went ballistic. Later, in a letter to the Prince, Creuzbourg wrote that “I [Creuzbourg] dismissed him [Velden] from the parade with the strict orders to change his dress immediately and in the future, to be ashamed to appear before a fully armed troop of soldiers in shoes and socks looking like a dancing master.”
To be called a “dancing master” in front of the men, especially in the 18th century (much less in today’s Army), was like a slap in the face that insulted and disheartened Velden. Later the same night, Velden barged in on Creuzbourg’s private quarters, and in front of dinner guests, demanded that the Colonel apologize for insulting him in front of the men. Creuzbourg promptly placed Velden under house arrest for eight days, and as punishment for his disobedience had him removed from his prestigious post as Adjutant. Within days, Creuzbourg quickly transferred Velden to the company of Captain Count Charles Louis de Wittgenstein where he would serve as a field Lieutenant. Unknown to both men, Velden would lead men in intense combat in one year time.
A portion of Captain Wittgenstein’s Company had for some time been on duty at Carleton Island helping to garrison Fort Haldimand. As part of a rotation, in July of 1780, Lt. Velden was sent to replace Wittgenstein’s command with a section of 50 Jagers drawn from multiple companies. Little did Velden know, plans were already being made for two simultaneous expeditions into the Mohawk Valley set to occur in the Fall of 1780. Lt Colonel Sir John Johnson of the King’s Royal Regiment of New York was slated to lead one of the expeditions set to depart from Carleton Island. Upon his arrival at Fort Haldimand, Velden found himself in command of a section of 25 Jagers to be sent on the raid with Sir John Johnson. At first a “dancing master”, Velden was about to lead Jagers in their deadliest engagement of the American Revolution.
Lt. Velden’s Jager detachment was part of a larger force of just under 1,000 men consisting of British regular infantry, Loyalists, and Indians. This little army was to push into the Mohawk Valley and burn everything it encountered while avoiding major contact with Rebel militia and levies. Velden had his work cut out for him as some of the Hanau Jagers were noted for being unaccustomed to long campaigns in the wilderness. It would be up to Velden to motivate his men as the campaign they were about to embark upon would demand of them not only physical strength, but mental strength as well to operate deep inside enemy territory far from supplies, and against overwhelming odds.
The Raid Was Progressing Well in the brisk October days of 1780. The expedition had met some opposition, fighting battles at Stone Arabia and Schoharie, but it was cutting a wide swath of destruction throughout the Mohawk Valley. Thus far, the Jagers had served well. However, the luck of the expedition would soon run out as Rebel militia and levies soon cornered Johnson as he was attempting to cross the Mohawk River at Klock’s Field on 20 October. Johnson turned on his pursuers with only about 620 men. He anchored his right on the river while he posted British regular companies in his center. Johnson sent Velden with his 25 Jagers and men from Brant’s Volunteers to hold the left flank that was ‘up in the air’. Velden probably dispersed his Jagers among Brant’s men as they moved into position among Klock’s farm buildings and apple orchard.
The Rebel commander sent two Militia regiments against Johnson’s left while hitting his center and right. The Jagers and Brant’s Volunteers were under intense pressure. Smoke from burning buildings nearby and the falling dusk helped to cut the range for the rifles the Jagers carried, and thus negated any advantage they had. Numbers began to tell quickly, and soon the Rebels pushed the Jagers and Brants off of the high ground on Johnson’s left. However, the smoke and dusk eventually worked to Johnson’s advantage as he was able to disengage from the Rebels and cross the Mohawk to leave the Rebels behind.
The Battle of Klock’s Field that smokey evening in October would become the deadliest engagement for the Hesse Hanau Jager Corps. A total of five men were killed in the battle (with an unknown of walking wounded), or 20% of the Jager detachment. Velden survived the battle unharmed and led the remaining Jagers during Johnson’s withdrawal to Canada.
Velden returned to Carleton Island to resume command of the Jager garrison at Fort Haldimand. Unknown to Velden, while on campaign, news arrived to Creuzbourg that the Prince granted his request for an honorable discharge. However, due to fears of a Franco-American invasion of Canada, Governor General Haldimand refused to have the Jager detachment at Carleton Island relieved, and Creuzbourg (perhaps still fuming at Velden), refused to push the issue and send a replacement for Velden. One can only imagine how disheartened Velden must have felt.
The news that Velden was waiting for would eventually arrive in November of 1782. By this time, Velden was on post for almost three years after he first requested his discharge. Lt. Velden turned over command of the Jager detachment at Carleton Island probably to Corporal Einfeld of Major von Francken’s Company, and then proceeded to Quebec City to enter a new chapter in his life.
Upon his discharge, Velden settled in Quebec City and eventually opened a private surveyor’s office in 1783. He also served as a teacher in mathematics and French. In 1793, Velden expanded his surveyor business to include contracts with the Provincial government. He also worked with a private merchantman to open a printing firm that ran a periodical titled The Times that ran until 1795. In 1795, the Provincial Government appointed Velden as Surveyor General where Velden worked to prepare the first topographical map of Lower Canada. Velden even became involved in politics, winning a seat in the House of Assembly from 1800-1804. In 1801, Velden found love and married a Quebec woman named Marie-Suzzane Voyer.
However, Velden’s luck would run out. On 20 June 1809, Wilhelm von Van Den Velden died tragically in a freak carriage accident at the age of 56. Velden’s dream of fortune did come true however, as he left his wife and son with over 56,000 acres of land and substantial wealth and prestige.
Anonymous, Roster of the Hesse Hanau Jager Corps 1779. British Public Library, Q Series V162, MG11
Creuzbourg, Carl Adolph Christoph. Narration of the Hesse Hanau Jager Corps in America. Translated by John C. Zuleger. Morristown National Historical Park, NJ. Series “O”.
————-. Orders of the Field Jager Corps from May 7, 1777 to April 30, 1783. Translated by Virginia Rinaldy. Morristown National Historical Park, NJ. Series “Q”.
Burgoyne, Bruce. Notes From the British Museum. Bowie MD: Heritage Press, 2004.
Watt, Gavin K. The British Campaign of 1777. Bowmanville: Mothersill Printing, 1988.
—————–. The Burning of the Valleys: Daring Raids From Canada. Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1997.
Wilhelmy, Jean Pierre. German Mercenaries in Canada. Quebec: Maison Des Mots, 1985.
Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online, s.v. “Vondenvelden, William” (by John E Hare), http://www.biographi.ca/EN/ShowBioPrintable.asp?BioID=36823 (accessed 3 February 2007).]]>
But the operators of a Mechanicville company, which is seeking to excavate rock from a 51.5-acre parcel located about 1.2 miles northeast of the village of Fort Ann, says its property is free of Revolutionary War remains.
The battle site is historically significant, Parrott says, because it is where Colonial troops delayed British Gen. John Burgoyne’s advance to Saratoga, helping to ensure an American victory at the Battles of Saratoga in the fall of 1777.
“That whole hill is a battle site,” Parrott said. “There was thousands of troops there. We’re not talking about a little group of soldiers … like Roger’s Rangers that went out with 10 or 12 people. We’re talking about Burgoyne’s entire army.”
Please read the entire article at Poststar.com]]>
This figure represents one of my all-time favorite English regiments: His Majesty’s 62nd Regiment of Foot. The 62nd Foot saw heavy service with Hamilton’s Brigade on the Burgoyne expedition, and for all intents and purposes was practically destroyed at the Battle of Freeman’s Farm. Historian John Luzader provides a solid description of this battle and the actions taken by the 62nd Foot in his book aptly named Saratoga.
I found this figure particularly challenging to paint due to the facing colors of the 62nd. Secondary sources list the facings only as ‘buff’ or ‘light-buff’. As my good friend Eric Schnitzer of the re-created 62nd Foot can attest, it was a challenge just getting the right shade of ‘buff’. In this case, I started with Tamiya’s Buff paint, but found it to be far too dark for use as the 62nd facing color. After several more attempts at getting the right color, I finally settled on Vallejo’s ‘Ice Yellow’ which gives the correct balance of Buff/Cream/Yellow. I also used Vallejo ‘Scarlet’ for the coat as I think this gives the coat a proper ‘Brick Red’ color, almost looks faded. The 62nd Foot also had a cap badge as shown here. One more thing to note: the 62nd Foot wrapped a unique rattlesnake skin around their bayonet scabberds after serving in garrison on Mt. Independence opposite Fort Ticonderoga. Apparently there was an abundance of rattlesnakes that The Regiment killed!
For more information please visit the re-created 62nd Foot: http://www.62ndregiment.org/ This unit is probably one of THE best (if not the best) impressions out there and is painstakingly researched.]]>
The Hesse Hanau Jager Uniform
The first installment of the Northern Campaign in Miniature depicts an NCO of the Vacant Company (formerly Kornrumpf’s), Hesse Hanau Jager Corps, Battle of Oriskany 1777. This figure shows the uniform worn by the Corps throughout the war (with modifications to the hat and breeches post-’77 campaign). Information for this uniform was derived from a copy of an eyewitness painting, The Hesse Hanau Jager Corps Orderly Book, and letters written to The Hereditary Prince by Lt. Colonel von Creuzbourg.
He wears a cocked hat that has a green cockade/red roundel and a green plume topped with white. The NCO wears a dark green coat with a slightly brownish hue as the green material turned a dark green/brown color due to inferior dye lots (this same problem beset the Frei Corps later in the war). The facings are red with brass buttons. Notice the green turnbacks unique to the Brunswick and Hanau Jagers. I added white lace around the cuffs to represent an NCO. Information on what insignia the NCO’s wore is sketchy as von Creuzbourg only mentions the stripping of an NCO’s insignia when an NCO was punished in front of the Corps later in the war.
In addition, he wears a green weskit, again with brass buttons. His breeches are buff leather, which were replaced after the campaign. He also wears brown full-lenth gaiters. His equipment consists of a short Jager rifle (historian Jim Kochan owns an original, you can see it in Don Troiani’s latest book on the Revolution). Some of the rifles carried by the Vacant Company during St. Leger’s Stanwix campaign were notoriously poor in quality. His belly box is of brown leather and slung over his shoulder as is his hunting sword as later recommended by von Creuzbourg. This NCO also acquired a British cartridge box, however I have yet to find documentation that this was a regular practice among The Corps.
Please see the Hesse Hanau Jager Corps Uniform Documentation Page for more information.]]>
WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”
NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;– for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our sasety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;– for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;– and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;– to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.
(signed) G. Washington]]>
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