Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Regiment Erbprinz von Hessen-Hanau

It is rather intriguing that there were two Hessian regiments with the name "Erbprinz" (hereditary prince). One regiment is from the landgraviate of Hessen-Cassel. The ruler of that state was Landgraf Friedrich II. The other regiment was from Hessen-Hanau which was ruled by his son Graf Wilhelm who succeeded him as Wilhelm IX of Hessen-Cassel in 1785. Both rulers supplied troops for the British Crown, Hessen-Hanau only one regiment of infantry, a company of artillery, a corps of jaegers and - a bit later - a "Freicorps". The infantry regiment was named "Regiment Erbprinz von Hessen-Hanau". This is my regiment. It consisted of five companies of musketiers, and one flank company of grenadiers. The artillery company manned the regimental guns.
We know quite well what the musketiers looked like. A captain of the regiment, Hauptmann Friedrich Konstantin von Germann painted a number of watercolours when in captivity, leaving us also a portrait of a musketier of his own regiment. He should have known what they looked like, shouldn't he?
Musketier of Regiment Erbprinz von Hessen-Hanau
Like the uniforms of the soldiers of his father Frederick, the uniforms of William's little army followed the Prussian model, as can be seen. The main difference is that his men wore halfgaiters reaching up to the knee, not full gaiters.
On the Perry website you can find a substantial article on "German Troops in the Saratoga Campaign" by Brendan Morrissey. There the uniform is described in detail.
One problem remains to be solved though, and that is the question of the grenadier caps. Let's begin with the terms used to describe them:
Hesse-Cassel grenadiers - though following the Prussian example - had metal headbands of the same colour as the front plate. The Prussian caps had textile headbands. This can be studied at the website of the Deutsches Historisches Museum Berlin (http://www.dhm.de/datenbank/dhm.php?seite=6&fld_3=Grenadierm%C3%BCtze&exakt_fld_6=3&suchen=Suchen)
Hesse-Hanau grenadiers caps followed the Prussian pattern more closely, so their headbands were of textile material, probably of the same colour as as the backing.
It is not easy to find correct representations of the regimental colours. Morrissey gives a correct description, after which I produced my models.

Leibfahne of the regiment
Regimentsfahne of the regiment
The grenadier company consists of 6 figures because this company was a bit stronger than those of the musketiers. The splendid uniforms offered some intriguing painting.
The whole Infanterie Regiment Erbprinz von Hessen-Hanau

The drummers
Regimental Artillery

Artillerie-Kompanie von Pausch

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