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Re: Queen Anne's War records
Posted by: Felix Unger Date: January 14, 2002 at 15:58:57
In Reply to: Queen Anne's War records by Rebecca Thoms of 24


See my reply of today's date to Robert Belair's posting just below yours. I will bet the General Nicholson who attacked Port Royal, NS in 1710 was the same as yours in Québec in 1711. Maybe the reference in ,y posting to the Litchfield (MA) Vital Records might help you trace your ancestor.

I realize Queen Anne's War was about 70 years before the Revolution, but German military and civilans were coming to America all through the 18th century for the same reason - to get grants of land. Some of the information below would likely apply to the 1701-1710 time period as well. You might want to try connecting with the following for more specific Q.A's.W. info (forgive me if the URL's are out of date):

GERMAN (Hessian) Soldiers - 1775-1783 - HESSIAN WEB PAGE - - The site is interesting and has some good links. Many Hessians stayed on after the war. Some who were captured stayed on and lived among their former captors. Others deserted. Parts of the 13 states at that time were heavily German (PA, parts of MD, VA etc). The temptation to stay with other Germans was great, especially since many of the Hessians were rather unwilling mercenaries (many having been recruited through "press gang" tactics - the real profits going to the prince in whose regiment they served).

George III of Great Britain, in 1775/1776, desperately seeking to retain control of British North America, signed treaties with a number of German states to supply troops to defend the English interest in this part of the world. The significance for the genealogist in North America is that approximately 6,000 soldiers remained on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, some 2,400 in Canada and the remaining 3,600 in the USA. It has been estimated that several tens of thousands -or millions ?- of Canadians and Americans can trace their ancestry back to one of these soldiers. It has been estimated that 1,400 Hessians settled in Québec, and about 1,000 in the Maritime Provinces and Ontario. For those fortunate enough to be able to connect an ancestor to one of the German troops, there is a wealth of information that can be accessed, such as diaries outlining troop movements and regiment lists, which can give the soldier's place of birth, height and wealth, general reference material on the American Revolution, etc.

Many authors have suggested that, if it were not for the presence of the German forces, Canada would not exist as a separate nation today. The German contingent in North America was about as large as the English, and despite the English defeat and loss of the 13 colonies, England did retain control of the northern territory.

The military strength of Britain was inadequate to suppress the American uprising. It therefore turned to its former allies of the Seven Years War for support, several German principalities. In the 18th century, Germany was a patchwork of independent states, each with its own ruler. Many of the heads of these states were related to British Royalty in one fashion or another. George III signed treaties with six German states: Braunschweig (Brunswick), Hesse-Kassel, Hesse-Hanau, Anspach-Bayreuth, Anhalt-Zerbst and Waldeck. As Hesse-Kassel provided the largest contingent of troops, the German forces became known generically as "Hessians".

Hesse-Kassel supplied the largest number of troops by far. Approximately 17,000 soldiers were sent to America, representing about 1 out of 4 able bodied men of military age of the population of that state. The Hesse-Kassel troops were considered superior to those of the other German states. They were well trained on the Prussian system and in good health. The treaty signed between George III and Frederick II, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel, was a lucrative one for the German Prince. He would be paid an estimated £3 MILLION over an eight-year period for the services of his army. It was also the 6th time in 100 years that the Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel had "rented out" his troops. Thus the common soldier could hardly be considered a "mercenary". He received his regular soldier's pay from the Hessian army; the Landgrave received the benefit.

Hesse-Kassel sent 15 Infantry regiments, each consisting of 5 companies. The strength was 650 officers and men. Also sent were 4 Grenadier Battalions, 2 Jager companies and 2 Field Artillery Companies. Regiments were often named after their "Chef", but not always. Thus you will find references to the von Knyphausen Regiment (named after Baron Wilhelm von Knyphausen) or the Mirbach Regiment (named after Major-General von Mirbach). Each regiment, when stationed in Germany, was located in its garrison town. For example, the garrison town of the von Knyphausen regiment was Ziegenhain. This can be important for genealogical research, as the church records for the garrison town could contain information on your ancestor.

The Hesse-Kassel forces spent most of their time in the 13 Colonies. They arrived in New York in August 1776 and departed in August 1783. They participated in every major battle of the war, including the battle of Trenton where many were killed, wounded or captured in the American victory. In September of 1779, the British, fearing an attack on Québec, ordered the von Kynphausen and von Lossberg Regiments to Canada. The fleet was struck by a severe storm and many ships were lost or captured by the Americans. The remainder of the fleet found its way to Québec, although not until June 1780. One part of the von Knyphausen regiment had to spend the winter in Prince Edward Island, and then resumed its voyage to Québec the following spring. The von Lossberg regiment remained in Québec for the remainder of the hostilities, and the von Knyphausen regiment returned to New York in 1781. The Regiment von Seitz was stationed in Halifax from late 1778 until 1783.

Johannes Helmut Merz - - wrote August 14, 1997: I wrote the book "Hessians of Nova Scotia". Anyone having a "Hessian" ancestor, who had settled in Canada after the war, and who needs more information about him, is invited to contact me direct at my e-mail address. The Hanau Regiment from Erbprinz were usually Lutherans.

If you have someone you think was a Hessian Soldier in the Revolutionary War a good place to go is - - I have over 2000 names in my Personal Data Files, and I am willing to share information. But do not forget, sharing information is a two-way affair, so I would like to know what you know too - John Merz. You can also post your query with - - mailing list.

Charlene Woodring - - wrote July 15, 1998, In Reply to: Hessian Deserters posted by Barbara Jarvis on May 12, 1998: My ancestor was a Hessian soldier who failed to return to Prussia. He served with the Von Böse or Erbprinz Regiments, as near as I can determine. He gave up his Germanic name to become John Borders which is why I suspect desertion.

Mine were Groethausen (Gröthausen) Hessian Deserters. There were 2 or 3 brothers. Gröthausen is now spelled Greathouse.

John Helmut Merz - - replied January 1, 1999: Hessian Military files only mention Lieutenant Friedrich Wilhelm von Gröthausen, who was with the Hesse-Kassel Jäger Korps, and according to Hetrina IV he was killed in action Jan 1777. - - post at the AMREV-HESSIANS mail list.

Theophil Daeschler Jaeger (German: Theophil Däschler Jäger), J/2 deserted on April 23, 1783. He was from the Anspach/Bayreuth area of Germany.

Most of the soldiers who settled in Canada or the USA either deserted from the British side, or were allowed to remain behind by their superiors. There are an unknown number of soldiers who returned to Germany, only to return to this side of the Atlantic at some later date, then escaped with their wives and children (emigration was forbidden) and returned to settle in North America. Their desertion is shown in the military records of Hesse-Kassel and other areas of Germany. Soldiers who chose to settle in Canada and the USA were often given land grants, and depending on the jurisdiction, were treated as well as the locals.

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