The following information is presented from two primary sources regarding the Hesse Hanau Jager Corps. Taken together with the von Germann painting of a Jager, we can start to gain an accurate picture of the uniform worn by this Corps. In addition, the following information provides some insight into the equipment and rations carried by the men. Each quote is provided with a page number for easy reference.
Creuzbourg, Carl Adolph Christoph von, Reports of the Hesse Hanau Jager Corps 1777-1783, Translated by John C. Zuleger. Letter “Q” of the Lidgerwood Collection.
Creuzbourg, Carl Adolph Christoph von, Order Book of the Hesse Hanau Feld Jäger Corps May 7, 1777 to April 30, 1783, Translated by Virginia Rinaldy. Leter “HZ-4″ of the Lidgerwood Collection.
Documentation uniforms- Orders of the Feld Jäger Corps May 7, 1777 to April 30, 1783
Pg. 2- Portsmouth May 7, 1777:
The repair of shoes and other pieces of small equipment is recommended and, in addition to this, 23 pairs of shoes and hose will be allotted to each company and herby transmitted.
Pg 3- Portsmouth May 7, 1777
The rifle barrels outwardly may be tarnished, but inwardly must be as polished as glass.
Pg. 5- Portsmouth May 7, 1777
…an oboe player is to be selected who can announce the orderly to me at all times. He is to have also his rifle with him.
Pg. 10- Cape Sante, July 21 1777
During the march, no Jaeger is to proceed wearing only shoes and stockings; he must wear either trousers pulled over the shoes, or gaitered. Above all, the men must be provided with long trousers.
Pg. 16- Trois Riveieres, July 25, 1777
A Jaeger received daily: 1 ½ pounds bread, 1/3 pound pork, ¼ pound dried peas, 2 half ounces butter and 4 half ounces oatmeal.
Pg. 17- Berthier, July 30, 1777
It is probably that hanging the hunting sword over the men’s shoulders is much more convenient and comfortable than carrying it at the side. The company heads will see to it that this is done throughout and not only here and there.
Pg. 20- La Chenay, August 6, 1777
During embarkation in the morning, the captain will consult the Canadians, give a signal on the tuba, and all posts will withdraw.
Pg. 22- La Callathec, August 24, 1777
The companies are to be told not to dispose of old shoes, since these can be used in the water.
Pg. 28- Carillon, October 1, 1777
Tomorrow morning, the three companies will be under arms at five-thirty, ready to leave camp immediately. Knapsacks, blankets, and kettles will be carried. One man from each tent will remain behind to guard the baggage.
Pg. 29- Carillon, October 3, 1777
The remainder of the entire corps is to remain dressed during the night, so that at the first signal from the tuba, the men can immediately assemble on the parade with heavy and light weapons, and await further notice.
Pg. 36.- Carrilon, November 6, 1777
Axes will likewise be given to each company; for those two men of the company may be dispatched to the Fort to report this to Sergeant Staube.
Pg. 37. Carillon, November 8, 1777
In a thick fog, all boats must be directed by the tuba, which will be sounded from the Lieutenant Colonel’s boat. No tuba will be blown by any of the companies except when a boat meets with an accident.
Pg. 43- La Valterie, November 23 1777
In each company an investigation must be made as to whether the rifles, rifle bags, blankets, and other equipment they have belong to them, ore to another company.
Pg. 44- L’assumption, November 27, 1777
The companies are to make as search for woolen cloth, from which winter breeches may be made for the corps. The company commanders will see to it that uniform color and design are used mean-while, the men are to be advised, that they are to make nothing for themselves. If they do, they will be turned up and little by little taken care of.
Men on watch are to wear no blouse but only full dress. Woolen blouses may be worn off duty.
Pg. 46- L’Assumption, November 30, 1777
Next Thursday, December 4, an under officer will visit each company to distribute shirts, linen, and stockings. The under officer will report to Sergeant Stauber and make an accurate list of what the company holds in the way of small equipment.
Pg. 57- Terrebonne, May 14, 1778
If some under officers and Jaegers need greencloth, it can be obtained by the ell from Sergeant Stauberand. The French ell costs 5/3 15 eols. Deerskin breeches may be obtained for 12/3, 6 eols a pair. The green cloth is to be provided for each under officer by certificate and the money for it will be deducted for two months.
Pg. 59-60- Terrebone, June 3 1778
The Jaegers are careless with their muskets and other field equipment, and loose these in wanton fashion. (Cartridge boxes!!!)
Pg. 64- Terrebone, October 14 1778
I am awaiting a report from each company telling me how near completion the winter breeches are. Breeches for the entire corps must be completed by the 24th.
The men can wear Canadian shoes all winter.
Pg. 68- L’Assumption, April 20 1779
Beginning May 1, linen breeches and hats will be worn and plumes will be fastened in the hats. The black breeches and fur caps must be in good condition and carefully preserved by each company.
Pg. 70- L’Assumption, May 20 1779
If a company assembles in closed ranks, all officers are to appear in uniform, that is, in winter clothing with brown gaiters, as the Jaegers call them, with green vests and the usual coats, formal que, black neckerchiefs, and black caps, the crown of which is either crimson or green. In summer when the men are wearing linen breeches, the officers will wear the usual (? Sateen?) vest and breeches, made like Jaegers, and hats with green cockades and plumes. On cold days, I will allow the officers of the various companies to wear green uniforms vests at their own discretion. But all company officers must agree to this. In future when the corps assembles on the parade, the kind of vests to be worn will be decided. For July, all uniforms will be of standard, make, as are these, which were prescribed by His Serene Highness.
Pg. 72- L’Assumption, September 4 1779
Each officer will bring his tuba player with him and also the fur caps. Bullets must fit each rifle and for this reason the bullet molds must not be forgotten.
As little baggage as possible will be taken. Whoever has blankets and cots should take them.
Pg. 78- L’Assumption, September 4, 1779
Since the Jaeger’s equipment is still good and can be used this winter, the blanket coats can be deducted from the men’s beer money at the same time. The new equipment, hats, rifles, and cockades are not to be used before April 1st 1780, so they remain in good condition longer and so the Jaegers will not be put to further expense to have new coats made.
These men who have already had their blanket coats made will receive all their beer money in cash. The captain will inspect the blanket coats as soon as possible and report how many each company has and how many they need.
The total number of rifles, cartridge pouches, sword straps, hunting swords, rifle belts, and gun caps necessary to each company, is to be reported also, with an account of where the lack originated. This will be done only after the recruits have joined the companies.
Pg. 87- SUPPLIES!!!
Pg. 88- Longeuille, November 28 1779
A tin or coffee kettle must not be worn nor hung on the hunting sword. However, if the kettle should be there, it must be hidden.
Canadians shoes (snowshoes) may be worn during the winter. White kerchiefs are to be worn at all inspections.
Pg. 89- Longeuille, November 28 1779
The coming December 11, all overcoats are to be finished so I can inspect them. The breeches may take longer. The linen breeches are to be repaired and stored by the company. If a Jaeger lacks these, the captain is to have a pair made for him deducting the necessary amount from his beer money, and store these away.
Pg. 96- Longeuille, April 6, 1780
The new command will take all linen breeches and old hats with it. The hats will be worn from time to time and the new equipment will not be disbursed until so ordered.
Pg. 97- Longeuville, April 13 1780
The coming 20th, the men are to wear hats, taking off their caps and storing them with the company; likewise, the brown undercoats of the under officers and Jaegers. A coat for the watch that can be worn in the rain will be sent each company. The company is to care for these and is responsible for them.
Pg. 98- Longeuville, April 24 1780
The men will use old equipment and each man will receive 25 shots. They must be fully provided by the 26th. Shoes, winter, and linen breeches, as well as blankets, are to be taken with them, but not the brown coats. The men must travel as lightly as possible.
Pg. 100- Longeuville, June 1 1780
The company heads and commanders will see to it that the men still wearing their old, as well as their new hats, have the same cut to a round shape so they can be worn on the command each time.
Pg. 104- Longeuville, June 7 1780
Should patrols be formed, the Lieutenant (Kraft) is to urge that the command furnish the men with savages shoes (moccasins)
Pg. 110- Point Levi, June 21, 1780
A tuba will be given each company, which in turn will be given the under officer so he will be able to signal.
Pg. 117- Point Levi, June 29 1780
Henceforth, all rifles are to be inspected with wooden ramrods. The men mounting the watch are to ring their rifles to the color sergeant who will inspect them with a cleaning rod and report it to the captain.
Pg. 122- Point Levi, August 21 1780
The Lieutenant Colonel is informed that nearly all under officers have done away with the major part of their old equipment. They are strictly ordered to retain these and employ them for personal use in preference to the now.
Pg. 126- Point Levi, August 30 1780
Tomorrow morning at eight o’clock, one under officer and one man per tent are to go into the woods to procure cedar twigs for the men to lie on.
Pg. 127- Point Levi, September 12, 1780
Lieutenants Young and Schaffaliski will arrive at the command of Captain Castendyk tomorrow the 13th. Two under officers and 20 men will be released for this and each officer is to take his tuba with him. This command is to take five-days provisions with it and 20 ball cartridges. The men can wear short coats and round hats.
Pg. 131- Point Levi, October 2 1780
Severe penalty will be enacted for leaving either rifles or cartridge pouches in a hut. The rifles belong in the gun sheaths and the cartridge pouches in the tents; the company tents must always remain pitched because of this.
Pg. 132- Point Levi, October 25 1780
Tomorrow at half past nine, the corps will proceed forward, the officers, under officers, and Jaegers dressed as they wish to be since they are marching in to the woods. Each man is to be given three ball cartridges. The more detailed procedure of manoevres will be given to the captains orally and following drill, pay will be distributed.
Pg 134- Point Levi, November 11 1780
If the night trumpet is sounded, it is for the color sergeant. If the marching trumpet is sounded, it is for the picket.
Pg. 137- St. Thomas January 20, 1780
Each company has been sent 25 pairs of snowshoes; company commanders will submit to me a receipt for these the day of the first report. Snowshoes can be given out immediately to some under officers and Jaegers, so the men can drill with them daily for two weeks. Following this I will watch them march with them. Old men will be excused from this.
Pg. 140- April 30 1781
May 1st, brown overcoats and caps will be collected from the under officers, as well as from the men, and caps given them.
Pg. 141- St. Thomas, May 21 1781
No Canadian shoes (moccasins) are to be worn during the summer.
Pg. 163- Wolf’s Cove, September 8 1781
The signal for departure will be given on the tuba at exactly four-thirty, whereupon all boats may range themselves in order.
Pg. 172- Pointe Au Fer, October 13 1781
The men must have their weapons, munitions, and light equipment in such order that they can prepare to march at the first signal on the tuba.
Pg. 173- Pointe Au Fer, October 14 1781
Should the men go out, a tuba signal will be sounded through the entire camp. While the General is in camp, neither overcoat nor grey breeches will be worn.
Pg. 175- Carillon, November 9 1781
Tonight at 12 we march; at six all baggage must be put aboard the boats, since they will set out to the English and be put under their supervision. Once and for all three men per company are to be assigned to the boat watch for as long as we are traveling. Tonight when the tuba signal is given, companies will fall in and march to the boats quietly. As soon as Colonel St. Leger’s signal, which is two musket shots, is given, all will proceed to the ship and, upon a repeated signal on the tuba, all are to set out immediately.
Pg. 177-78, La Prairie, November 17 1781
In so far as possible, the companies must try hard to see that the men will be cleanly and neatly dressed the 26th, since Major General von Riedesel may come to inspect the corps. Equipment must be repaired, for which the green and crimson cloth received from the companies is to be used. Canadian shoes and moccasins may be worn from now on. Fur caps and long breeches must be provided for the men…
Pg. 180- La Prairie, February 18 1782
In future reports, it will be noted whether companies are provided with complete armaments, consisting of rifles, cartridges, hunting swords and sword straps. In case anything is lost, the way it was lost is to be reported.
Pg. 184- La Prairie, April 15 1782
Henceforth, companies are to note on the monthly lists how long their beer money will last. The 26th of this month, helmets can replace fur caps and the latter packed away.
Pg. 185- La Prairie, May 6 1782
No moccasins or Canadians shoes are to be worn with white breeches. The men however, should have one or two pairs of shoes in reserve in case they go on an expedition or have to travel anywhere through water.
Uniform Documentation-Narration of the Hesse Hanau Jäger Corps in America
Pg 14.- Spithead May 3 1777
We purchased and presented all the necessary tools to our company’s shoemakers, who are now working industriously, so diligently that we all be able to march out well shod immediately upon our arrival in Canada.
Pg. 27- Maskinonge July 28 1777
Thirty one-horse carts were employed in the transportation of the cartridge pouches, kettles, and all other light baggage and provisions for six days.
Pg. 28- Maskinonge July 28 1777
The men’s flasks were empty, but mutton was found rolled up in their blankets which the Jagers received at Portsmouth and which they have carried since.
Pg. 40-41- Ft. Ticonderoga October 5 1777
General conditions in the corps are not very good. The uniforms are in rags… the colors have faded to brown with not a shade of green noticeable. The leather trousers have become stiff and cracked because they were constantly worn by the men in the river, and were then exposed to the sunheat. My corps cannot boast of 20 pairs of shoes which can be worn in public. And for these reasons, we were greatly benefited by the linen overalls. I would humbly suggest that, in the future, no trousers be included with the shipments of equipment, but instead I propose that the men be allotted a yearly increase of five or six shillings sterling, with which money they would have to buy their own trousers for winter as well as summer wear. The increase in prices is drastic. Summer trousers cannot be bought by the men for less than seven shillings, and prices of trousers for winter use would probably be from ten to eleven shillings. The many thickets and dense forest that make passage difficult have been the cause of the loss of many hats. The corps is shy about 14 hats even though I had bought quite a number of them wherever possible. For this reason I propose that the present style be supplanted by a very small hat with the brim bent up in the back and the sides and front of the brim cut off close to the crown which would be better than the present shape. This style of hat would require neither cockade nor cord, but solely a button with a white woolen string which would hold up the brim in the back; and, instead of the green and white plume, it could carry colors to distinguish one company from the other. Under the present system a Jager or a Dragoon cannot be distinguished from one another, neither can their companies be distinguished by their plumes. I believe that either entirely white, entirely yellow, entirely red, and entirely green plumes should be given to a company of Jagers, and none to the Dragoons for whose hats all plumes thus far have been lost or torn off anyway. The coats have become too small for most of the men, having been shrunk considerably from exposure to rain.
Pg. 48- St. Antoine February 1 1778
I ordered overalls of grey sateen to be made for the entire corps, and these were made to fit the shoes like gaiters. They had horn buttons along the leg up to the knee and from there they started to bulge out up to the waist line to a band, on to which, if necessary, an undershirt could be buttoned. This time, the men have paid for those breeches with their own money, but in the future, I would earnestly propose that the eight shillings trouser-money as proposed to Your Highness previously may be granted to them, especially since all leather breeches have been completely spoiled by water.
Pg. 56- Terrebone September 7 1778
Since no new equipment will be received this year and since the cloth used for the uniforms had been of very poor quality, more than 200 men of the Jager corps had new uniforms made for themselves. This was possible for them to do this year for we were hardly ever on the march and a number of them have earned some money besides their wages. The eight pieces of green and the one piece of carmine cloth which were sent to me I will keep in reserve until this winter when I expect to use them up for necessary repairs.
…supplying the corps in America with a pair of heavy linen overalls for the summer, and gray ones, made of cloth instead of the leather breeches which were included in the previous equipments for winter wear. The Captain took along samples of the new style trousers [Captain meaning captain of the ship which was taking this letter back to the Prince, Kreutzbourg wanted the prince to see first hand what his men were wearing]. For the rest of the time, one pair of trousers not being sufficient for two years, I will make arrangements for the men to buy their own.
Pgs. 69-70- Terrebonne September 15 1778
Von Schoell’s Detachment appeared with a force of 114 men; all men were dressed in white linen trousers since the black winter trousers are not ready. Your Serene Highness undoubtedly would not approve of such long black trousers for wear in Europe. However, in this country, they are very useful to the men. This black cloth was given as a present to the men who served in the campaign of 1777. This black cloth for sergeants was given by General Carleton to recruits, staff employees, and servants so that all are dressed alike when in formation. For the officers and sergeants I ordered very dark brown garments and the recruits had to pay the sergeants for the black cloth.
Pg. 73- Terrebonne October 1 1778
I ordered fur caps for the entire corps made of the pelt of the American lynx to be worn during the winter duty. The crown is made of green cloth and has a cockade of feathers on the left side; my company’s feathers are white; Captain von Francken’s, white and black, striped lengthwise; Captain Count von Wittgenstein’s, white with a black border at the bottom; and Captain Castendyk’s, black on top and white on the bottom. The effect is very fine if a company is assembled. The caps are made so that the Jagers can turn down the sides and in that way protect the entire head and neck as well as part of the shoulders. During the present cold weather these caps served to very good advantage.
Pg 74- However, I issued the order to rip off their [corporals] insignias on their collars and sleeves and had them driven from the corps.
Pg. 79- Assomption June 1 1779
A short time ago Lieutenant van den Velden, at the head of the guard post, appeared in shoes and socks and a striped necktie, knotted in the French style.
Pg. 85- Location? September 24 1779
…100 Jagers which marched to Carleton Island on the 10th of this moth, not only new tents from the government, but also new kettles, bottles, tent covers, axes, hatchets, as well as a pair of new shoes and long woolen trousers for each man.
Pg. 89- Longeuill December 28 1779
The General however has managed to overcome this in another way by giving every man in the army black cloth for overcoats and brown cloth for long trousers, a pair of shoes, a pair of soles, and a pair of woolen gloves. I ordered the overcoats for the Jagers to be supplied with green collars and trimmings in the same colors making a very good appearance and this distinguishes the corps from all other troops. For the others I ordered only simple brown kittels.
Pg. 96. Point Levi July 1 1780
I ordered the latter [Hugget] to give a detailed explanation regarding his remarks and what reason he had to be ashamed of wearing the uniform furnished to us by Your Serene Highness.
Pg. 124 Quebec July 14 1782
…and would request a new supply of uniforms and such cloth for repairs. After uniforms have been worn for three years and will continue to be worn, a great amount of repairs are unavoidable. It is impossible to buy the necessary supplies for the repairs in this country because everything is terribly high priced and this would be very detrimental to our cash account.
Pg. 128 La Prairie September 10 1782
If it is necessary for the uniform of the corps to be worn for more than three years, then I would respectfully ask if the cloth necessary for repairs should be purchased here in this country or if we should expect to receive materials every year with the equipment from Hanau. The men only have very ragged apparel, and I cannot understand how they will be able to survive this winter if no new equipment arrives for them. They have been using their present equipment since 1779 and because of expeditions, commands, and scouting parties they have been badly ruined. Blankets were issued to the corps in 1777 at Portsmouth but, ever since then, the men had to carry them around their bodies on every march, and they used them as beds in winder quarters. Consequently, hardly more than ten usable blankets can be found in possession of the corps. At different times I have made requisitions to the General for new blankets, but I was always informed that Your Serene Highness had to supply them since the King would not give blankets to any foreign regiment.
Pg. 132 La Prairie October 12 1782
Thanks to providence and Your Highness it will no longer be necessary for the poor Jagers to suffer from cold since the uniforms and other apparel fortunately arrived in time.
Pg. 136 La Prairie November 6 1782
Further, I have not received a detailed list of the equipment which was sent to me. No shoes were contained therein as was formerly custom, and the above created a great additional expenditure for the men. Leggings were omitted also, but green pantaloons were included though they are useless in this land. Your Serene Highness will undoubtedly recall that when the corps was formed the men were promised shoes and stockings for their yearly equipment and new leather breeches in their equipment every second year. These leather pantaloons are as useless here as the ones made of green cloth. Shoes, however, are very essential commodities, so much so that I am compelled to ask Your Serene Highness to have them sent here for the corps this coming new year. Your Highness will be able to reduce the cost of shoes and stockings by curtailing the equipment and withholding leather or cloth breeches and leggings.
Pg. 139 La Prairie July 12 1783
I have tried to sell the guns to General Haldimand but he refused them.