tv Friederike Baer Hessians CSPAN November 8, 2022 5:15am-6:35am EST
welcome, everyone. my name is, philip mead. i'm the chief historian and curator of this museum of the american revolution. so pleased to see you all tonight for fredricka bears. presentation on the hessians. scott stephenson. sends his regrets he had intended be here tonight hosting but was unavailable. he though he may be watching from zoom so if you're out there, scott. hello i wanted to call your attention tonight to important object that we actually have in this room. this is a fragment of a hessian miter cap from the fusileers on
nip of hersey castle. it was discovered, among other fragments of these in the delaware river in, the early 20th century, and some research by craig nanos and others has pretty well establish that it was lost when a troop transport went under in may of human march of 1778 in the delaware river, and no one drowned all of the soldiers on board survived. but obviously a bunch of their things stayed in the river. they were dredged up, are on display. other pieces of that same material are on display in the corps galleries. so tonight we have the privilege of welcoming fredricka bear, who is associate professor of history and division, head for arts and humanities at pennsylvania state university, abington. her research focuses on the
experience of german speaking people in north from the revolutionary period to the late 19th century. her publications prior to tonight include the monograph the trial of frederick avril language patriotism and citizenship ship in philadelphia's german community. 1792 1830, which was winner of the st paul's biglerville for the best book and lutheran church history. and tonight, she is launching her book hessians german soldiers in the american revolutionary war, which is, i think, destined be a indispensable book for scholars and general students of the american revolution. and it plumbs an extraordinary number, previously unexamined sources. and it gives a view of a community in this conflict.
we've really only understood through a glass darkly to speak, but with a precision and clarity and humanity that actually is is going be very hard to beat as the definitive treatment for, i think, a very, very time. so thank you very much, dr. baer. professor baer, for those contributions who are eager to hear your your comments. first, i wanted to also from trust, which supported these read the revolution programs both the email publications that many of you get but also these evenings. i wanted to introduce representing haverford for a few. rebecca farnsworth, who is their president and institution
portfolio manager. so rebecca, thank you very much for joining us here here. and for. hello, everyone. thank you. fellow aforementioned. my name is becky farnsworth and am delighted to be here representing the haverford trust company. haverford is an investment management firm located in radnor. we've $13 billion in assets under management. at haverford i'm an institutional portfolio manager which effectively means that i'm responsible for managing assets and serving as a trusted advisor to a number of our firm's nonprofit clients. i think we all feel very fortunate. live in a region that has such deep philanthropic roots and haverford has been committed to serving our nonprofit community since firm's inception over 40 years ago. and the greatest joy of my job is building deep strategic partnerships. our nonprofit clients and amazing organizations like the
museum, the american revolution, who do such important work strengthening the fabric of our and haverford has been a longtime partner, the museum and it's very much a pleasure our organization to once sponsor the incredible read the revolution speaker series here at the museum. and you know as the concluding speaker of this year's presentation program, we're all very much looking forward to hearing from baer. so i'll just welcome all of thank you very much for being here this evening. those in person and on zoom and i'll turn it back over to fill to get things started. thank you. thank you. but without further ado, professor sherif, you join me up here and. give us your wisdom.
thank you you. okay. i never thought i would be giving a lecture at the museum of the american revolution. and i'm just so happy to be here today. so good evening. whether you're joining us here in person or on zoom, wherever you are, thank you for being here. thank you. to spilled. the entire team spent a wonderful experience working with you all to get this organized and thanks of course also to the have for trust for us for supporting the speaker's views. i've been had the pleasure of attending quite a few of them and they just really great experiences and. i hope this one will be a great experience for you as well. made click through the first slide. so i would like to say a few general words about who they were or these thousands troops
whom we called hessians, how they ended up in north america. and then i will give a few snapshots, lots of the experiences over the course of the war. so i want to start with a brief introduction in the 1770s and 1780s, as many as 40,000 germans soldiers were hired to defend british imperial interests. four continents in, europe. in india and south africa and of in america. the vast majority of them, at least 30,000, saw service in america. in august 1776, in a german periodical, the deutscher chronicle, the german chronicle noted optimistically that, quote, soon the english would have to thank the germans a second time for the conquest of america. the editor was to william pitt's famous to germany's role in the seven years. for a decade earlier a war that
had resulted in france ceding a large of its territorial possessions in north america along several caribbean islands to britain. earlier that 1776 britain's prime lord north had predicted the higher of the german auxiliaries would bring the war which he a speedy resolution quote the further a fusion of blood. neither of these predictions course, as we know now, came true. the steady supply of germans actually helped keep the war going for seven more years. so before i continue, me emphasize that by the late 1770s, early 1780s, one third of the british regular armies strength in north america consisted of german auxiliaries. this was not an insignificant presence. moreover between the summer of
1776, when the first contingent set foot on american soil in 1783, when the british army evacuated, the newly founded united states members of the german corps spent extended of time in location as dispersed and varied as quebec, nova scotia, in the north and west, florida and cuba in the south. across this vast terrain. they participated in all major campaigns and numerous less skirmishes and military encounters. some never saw battle. they spent their entire time in north america, somewhere in garrison. thousands died of were killed in battle or were captured by the enemy over the course of the war. a growing number also deserted. i put up this map here from west point military academy, which has a great collection of maps like this. just remind you of the sort of the major. the red are the british.
as i mentioned, the germans took part in all of them. i should point out. they did not take part in ones in the great lake regions. they also did not go into east florida. they did, however, take part a couple of campaigns that actually are not highlighted here, namely the occupation of rhode island, and also sailing all the way to pensacola and then fighting against the spanish and the number of forts along the mississippi river. there were also troops up, as i mentioned, in nova scotia, which was not indicate it here on this map. so how did they end up in america in spring of 75, 17, 75? britain faced the challenging task of raising substantial military force that could be dispatched to america quickly. for various reasons. i don't want to into detail. the king determined that he would not be able to raise sufficient number of troops at home or within other parts of
the empire, including north america. after his failure to hire a 20,000 russians. the king turned to several german states for support. french intelligence actually suggests that efforts to hire hessian troops may have commenced as early. fall 1774 before the war even started at that time. this is a reminder what is sometimes called the trade soldiers was an acceptable form of revenue. rulers used the income from hiring military units to support their lifestyle, pay off territorial debt and to fund projects that were designed benefit their territories. generally such as construction of villages, hospitals, schools or spas. moreover, subsidy treaties should also be seen as political measures that allowed the rulers of smaller territories within, the holy roman empire, to
maintain a certain degree of power and influence and in some cases preserve dynastic interests and gain protection from foreign powers. all of the major european powers, such as france, russia, prussia and the united provinces of the netherlands included foreign troops into their military forces. in fact, in the 18th century, the typical europe army was a multinational force. eventually, of course, we know six german territories, all within the holy roman empire. of course, there was no germany at the time. the holy roman empire consisted of hundreds small territories and larger territories. six of them ultimately agreed to enter into subsidy treaties to hire out auxiliary troops, exchange for substantial payments. has some castle and peasant hanover tried combined on the map of the red small territorial baltic branch like world war ii from bitter bay of unsurpassed
and depths. so it's a little bit difficult to see, but in any case, there are six territories they rented out troops ranging from maybe around 1200, ultimately total of 1200 from the territory of baltic to as many as 19 or 20,000 soldiers hired by, has and castle. the very first treaties was signed in late 75. the first troops began their journey to america in february 76. i should also point out that these soldiers, not mercenaries. they are usually referred to as mercenaries. but there were mercenaries. mercenaries, soldiers who fight in a foreign or a foreign war for personal profit. these are considered auxiliaries. these are military units that were hired out by their respective rulers to assist britain in its efforts to put down the american rebellion rebellion. although the subsidy treaties
varied somewhat, they agreed on the weapons. they agreed on the basics. very quickly, the troops would serve on the same terms as the british soldiers. they could serve in europe and north america. this was very important to the rulers. britain paid annual subsidies to the rulers during the time they were in british service and usually for a couple of years afterwards. of course, no one knew how long the war would last. britain would all to pay for transport to and from. america. it would cover individual pay provisions, replacement, medical care and so on. as you can probably imagine, keeping track of all of this was quite challenging and got even more complicated and confusing over the course of the war. for those of you who like spreadsheets, this is one from 1783. this is a actually trying to tell up expenses and income what was still owed to the braunschweig troops that were in
canada at the time. it's on the eve of the evacuation and their return to europe and there are lots of records like these in the archives and you have people even it's hard for us to figure out what's going. we have people there too who complain constantly like you know, sorting out the finances, who gets paid for what? who is owed? what money? who is. is it a british bank in london or in germany or in america. it's very confusing. i do also want point out that expenses such as rations and uniforms were commonly deducted from the soldiers pay. so soldiers themselves were for covering some of these expenses. the german units would be commanded their own officers and subject to their own military law. they're almost always alongside british troops with very exceptions. the overall was also always a british officer because the
majority of these troops were supplied by the territories of his son castle and his son hano. the labeled hessian has been used the 1770s to describe all german troops in british service in north america regardless of place of origin. and for this reason i'm, using the term in the title of my book. however, in the book itself and also today i use german when to the troops collectively and hessian. when discussion has some units or individuals belonging the hessian corps after the subsidy treaties, the subsidy troops and affiliated civilians never describe themselves as hessian and as there were actually from or belong to a hessian military unit. the troops were accompanied hundreds of civilian employees and other camp followers, including medical personnel chaplains, servants, laborers to the army, to also a significant
number of women, including single women and also wives of soldiers who served in a range of essential roles, such as, for example, laundress who were employed in field hospitals. there was also great number of children. so who were these six deliveries? well, none of the german rulers simply rented out the armies. the potential long term and even permanent loss of large numbers of young men would not only hurt the economy, not only had territory economically, but it would also, of course, potentially make it vulnerable to foreign threats in general. the regiments hired out of britain consisted of a combination of experienced soldiers and new recruits. some whom had probably never a gun before leaving for the war in america. for example, the third baltic regiment that i mentioned
earlier consisted of roughly 670 men, typically at full strength. it consisted around 200 men who were taken from two regiments at the time that were in dutch service at the time. the other, but twice that number had to be specially recruited for service in america. so britain may have expect to get a trained and experienced military force, but this was only partially the case. it was fairly easy to fill the rank. the war them with an opportunity to advance careers. all of the territory received large numbers of requests. so applications essentially from as well as ambitious soldiers and veterans asking for appointments in the american corps. the territories used above variety of conscription schemes to raise the troops, such as enrollment lists for or requiring destroy to raise a
certain number of men regardless of the of scheme they employed. the territories were essentially looking for the same of men to fill up regiments. they had to be ideally physically and mentally fit to withstand demands of military in america. this should be at least around five feet, four inches tall. ideally they were single and if married without. all of these requirements, i should mention, were relaxed over the course, the war, and as became increasingly difficult to fill to make up for the further losses. all of the territories used various exemptions that were designed exclude certain men from military service. for example, only some us sons that expected inherit property. property owners, laborers and essential industries such as mining. these men were not supposed to
and service abroad. generally, recruiters were supposed to enlist foreigners by, which they meant non-natives to the territory where they were recruiting or native men deemed expendable. and that means essentially men whose departure for america was regarded as having little or no economic disadvantages for the territory. or was absence may have even been seen as beneficial for the local community? for example, in february 1776, an official from braunschweig asked the duke for permission to the poor man who was serving time prison for stealing wood from ducal forests. that same month, a woman on the catherine quitter begged the duke to enlist her son in law, whom she described as quote, a disgusting, godless, end of quote. she pleaded them to, quote, free from this evil men. and we have quite a few petitions like this in german
archives. drunkenness, laziness you know, those kind of things. it's sometimes sometimes in-laws are like, can you please take them and send them to america? ideally, course, the men volunteered, but thick files in german document cases of young men who refused to report for mustering potential recruits who escaped into territories. recruits who deserted or mutinied and families who pleaded with their ruler to exempt husbands and sons for a variety of reasons. just because a man was deemed expanded by the territory, of course, not mean that he was deemed expendable by families. so a lot of even poor families, when the husband or son was gone, these families suffered even more economically. and so the poor families are very much affected by this. as you probably imagine, the main objections when we read these petitions from parents example or wives to exempt their husbands. the main objection appears to
have been the prospect serving in a foreign war. on the distant continent against the enemy that had done them no harm. military service itself was not. the problem is sending these men to america where many of course assumed they would never come back. although britain had hired german auxiliaries on multiple occasions since the century, since the 17th century, really they had never served of europe. so this was new. it is difficult to determine. many men were forced into service. the definition of forced might include difficult economic circumstances. example problems with relatives. trouble with the law in addition to coercive tactics such as or offers of food and alcohol. parental and peer pressure. appeals to the men's sense of patriotism and love for. their ruler also played important in compelling subjects to enlist.
many were undoubtedly in be know this impoverished rural folk who were forced go by the circumstances by the authorities. the german poet johann von goethe to be called an 1821 that in 1775 and i quote america used to be the eldorado of people who found themselves in a difficult. however, there were also many reasons why a man from the holy roman empire may have volunteered for service america. i'm showing you here recruiting certificate for man in braunschweig. from braunschweig who signed up. johann henwick. he was a rock maple by trade protestant, some by year. the basic information from this certificate i know why he signed up. maybe was the bounty. i want to point out that he received $5, which by time at the time was quite generous.
to put this into perspective, a servant's monthly at the time were maybe two in one and one and a half tallow. so five tallow is a pretty good amount cash that he would get just for signing up. also want to point out the dates. 1782. this is a good reminder that britain recruited actively recruited germans. well into that, you know, 1782. even into 1783. so conventional histories of the revolutionary war are often more or less over with yorktown. but, you know, focus on the germans reminds us, well, the war is not yorktown, at least not from the british perspective. so we have shipments, shipments of recruits that go to america in as as the fall of 1782. so recruits maybe went willingly
to or they volunteered for an opportunity to improve the economic situation. some probably went to gain free passage to america maybe their plan to emigrate. and it kind of was a free ride. some hope advance their military careers, start the american landing people or were in search of adventure 22 year old recruits stefan pup from unspecified recorded in his journal that many of the recruits around him were and i quote filled grief and sorrow while i and those in my way of thinking were enjoying the prospect leaving our mother country for the new world. a few of these recruits, people that signed up were actually explorers and scientists who recruited who recorded their observations. the american land and the people and letters and journals they studied fossils collect, the cultural objects and natural.
my two examples here is on the list on the left, a very popular it's called flutes august flutes was an editor has called this prefix lawyer or correspondence exchange of letters. he actually published a whole series of letters that she solicited from offices in the americas like me, letters that i can publish during the war. and here's an example of series from canada. on the right is a publication by david david sheff. he was a scientist who was actually getting ready go to india when he was presented with the opportunity to accompany the un's bio troops to america as a regimental surgeon. he signed up. not only that, he decided to remain in america for two additional years after conclusion of the war to study the land of the people he was disappointed that he'd only seen little york as he called new
york little rhode island and the narrowest district of philadelphia. so wanted to go out. and that's what he did after 1783. he eventually published a travel narrative. he penned several letters that were published in during the war and numerous works on natural history topics and he is an example these individuals did so privately they were interested in this studying this strange land but they're also often date per their rulers in editors request. good question in the case of schluter in 1779, for example general wisdom from napoleon the commander of the hessian troops directed all hessian regiments on behalf of the land off the rule of hessian to collect what he called rarities such as native american clothing and equipment. and he ordered the quartermaster to maintain journals that detailed he put it each and
every event pertaining to their regiments. it received in the archives and castle indicates that napoleon himself brought from america a sugar and a pouch with crystals as a gift for the famous naturalist gilbert foster, who was a professor. the collegium collegium in castle at the time. so in all this kind accounts published, circulated amongst friends or published during and after the the helped broaden the knowledge north america among germans, europeans to some extent. these soldiers really acted like almost like cautious foreign. and they wrote these things that were published throughout the war in various german territories. so in my book, i talk a little bit about the logistics of getting these troops to america. i'm going to not go into great detail here. i just want to mention of
course, that there were taken to ports in the germany or the netherlands. there were mustard there in the british service. that's really when their role in british service officially started. they boarded vessels that took them from england and then from there to america. german records described the ocean crossing as a very frightened experience. this is new to germany's modern seafaring country. release of for them that may be been on riverboats but ocean crossing for them was a new experience and. it was generally pretty scary. so the sighting of land often signified and relief diary. some journals describe crossing in great detail. the braunschweig surgeon julius three disbursements as he put it, his own diary kept thinking of columbus as his vessel was sailing to what the canadian coast? an early summer of 76. he felt as though the german troops were discovering new
world. that's how he put it. and to them would say it was a new world. indeed. louis is a vitamin. the sister of the physician christian frederick michaelis, who served in the hasim corps as a physician was that visit noted later that the journey to america at the time was almost adventurous. is going to the moon. in fact, when the first contingents of german were venturing across the atlantic in the spring of 76, the average german probably did not know much about the western hemisphere, especially north america, and they knew even less about the war. they were about enter. in addition, important to note as well, the vast majority of the german troops had knowledge of english when they set out for america and. many struggled to acquire even a basic of it. after their arrival, the german troops thus had to get used to
fighting in an unfamiliar terrain along soldiers and other commanders and against an enemy that not necessarily understand major leopold baumeister of the honaker captured the sense of frustrate nation and the very first entry of his journal he wrote it was twice the work to fight a war with an incomprehensible friend and rebellious. the first transport carrying german troops arrived in the summer of 1776. actually first once arrived in canada and then shortly thereafter troops arrived in new york. what were the impression of this land? well, many germans recorded detailed descriptions of the new york regions. their view of what the initial saw as representing all of america was very favorable.
the americans appeared to be enjoying very high standard of living. an ordinary long island. one observer mentioned, appeared to be living as well as an aristocrat and hasn't indeed one officer noted if one put an american farmhouse next to the house of a noble family, it anderson, it would be challenging to. tell the difference. one reason for prosperity was the richness of the land itself. the germans, the landscape including farmland and as exceptionally abundant and fertile. and they chose this image here a map because we have to remember of course that new york the staten island island this is a rural there forests this is green this is not built up the way it is today. so obviously, when these troops arrived they saw country and what they described as rolling hills, lush forests, springs. there was an abundance wheat,
corn, other grains there were many orchards, chestnuts, peaches, cherries, apples, pears, plums, apricots and other fruit. the livestock was well nourished. the farms neatly kept. long island was described as the garden of all of north america. the german impression of new york city was very positive, as they admired its streets, beautiful church, this stately college. sadly, this prosperity seemed to have corrupted the inhabitants. indeed, the view of the land was so the view of the land was so that many of german observers speculated that the reason for the rebellion could not possibly be oppression by the mother country as the were claiming from their perspective, the colonies had little reason to complain if anything, many had
become lazy and decadent. one of the tenants, shenkman, remarked in a letter to castle that the white of new jersey lived quote like pigs they drank and aid meals a day the women spent the time waiting for tea decorating homes. the evident abundance of goods also encouraged the americans to be wasteful with what the germans to the germans were valuable resources such as firewood, for example most germans could not fathom by such a prosperous people would take up arms against a benevolent under whose watch they had done so well. the germans concluded that the rebellion must have been the work of a few conspirators of selfish and sinister intentions who were deluding the american people into believing that there were struggling for liberty from oppression. a few evil men, committeemen,
one observer called them, were conspire to make themselves masters of people under the pretense of fighting for. from the perspective of the germans, the white was able to enjoy such a high standard living in part because they depended on the labor of black people. german records from the period used the term morgen or morgen in trances as morse when referring to black women and children. in fact, one hassen chaplin wrote if there was a people in america that was longing for liberty, as he put it, it would these quote, poor blacks, the evident wealth of the new york region contrasted with the desolation that the rebels had brought to their own country. without the british oversight and protection so seemed the
nation's prosperity was rapidly declining. when the first german troops landed north america, the war, of course, had been going on for more than one year. they were shocked by the extent of destruction that had been done by civil to civilian properties in the new york region. they found entire villages abandoned homes, plundered cattle killed fields burned. not surprised ingly. the population that was hardest were the people who were or were suspected to be loyal to the crown. the american treatment of the civilian population helped create an image of the americans as an in an undisciplined and unprincipled people. this experience the way also helps explain why the german troops initially saw themselves as the liberators rather than occupiers, and they were confused just when the people did not treat them accordingly.
but what became known as the great fire new york in september 17, shortly after arrival of the british and has some troops reinforced the germans views of the americans as vengeful fanatics. the fire consumed as many as a quarter. the city's building the hessians were convinced that it had said by the rebels and their guard at this event powerful evidence for the irrational determination to destroy their own country rather than letting it thrive under british rule. the has an officer in leo's view to hold was shocked that quote evil and disobeyed and rebels were deliberately what he described as their blessed land and habitations. another officer wrote the evil sentiments of this nation are indescribable as he surveyed the destruction of new york. they were destroying the nicest regions in the entire world over
next few years the view of a fanatical enemy was reinforced over and over again as gern troops are burnt and pillaged. homes, fields and forests. other regions including maryland and pennsylvania. the carolinas, virginia and georgia. ultimately, this experience combined military setbacks also raised doubts in the minds of german soldiers whether this enemy could be crushed. given this stubborn determination to defeat britain, they were obviously willing to sacrifice everything in defense of their cause. and as time went on. there was no indication that this resistance was diminishing initially, the germans did not much respect for the americans as a worthy enemy. of course, again many of the german soldiers themselves, young men who had been recruited, specific for the war in america. they wer not necessarily more
experienced in warfare than their american counterparts. certainly most of them had never participated in the battle before. however, from perspective of someone belonging to a higher hierarchical and army that stressed the neat and orderly appearance of all its members from private to general, the americans not even look like soldiers. here's an example of a hessian regiment regiment from napoleon. for example, german soldiers, either clean shaven or there were neatly groomed mustache, as you can see on this image, many of the americans, in contrast, were unshaven, thus giving them the appearance of one has called the spitz bouba or rather than soldiers. shortly after his arrival on long island, a hessian was embarrassed write. he wrote in a letter to cassel
that he did not a razor. he was embarrassed that at times he had, quote, a beard like a rebel. moreover, the hessian troops. well, uniform, at least during the early phase of the found that many american were dressed in quote torn racks different colors or the miserable outfits typically worn by poor farmers. for the most part, they found that americans soldiers were also undesirable. lind and lacked loyalties. there were cowards who ran at the first sight of the enemy. from the germans perspective, washington's retreats retreats. in other words, his refusal to meet the british in a large scale battle were not based on strategic decisions. rather, they were due to the spinelessness of his soldiers. some officers contemptuously compared the war to a hunt, according to chaplain becker of the herschel corps.
the hessians were charging the quote countless as gypsies. as he described the american troops at the battle of harlem heights in the fall of 1776, the american colonel, joseph reed, was enraged when british intelligence, quote, sounded the bugle in a most manner. as is usual after fox chase. one exception to this unflattering view of the american military, the riflemen. but even these troops were regarded with ambivalence by most germans feared and respect that these sharpshooters. their effectiveness as soldiers was limited in part by the time it took them to reload their weapons. in addition, they only really posed a threat in surroundings such woods where they could hide behind trees like hunters, the strategy or their strategy of ambushing an unsuspecting enemy may have been in effect, death.
but it was also seen as dishonorable. in 1777, a private wrote to his parents in hessen that the americans were not like regular soldiers at all, but rather quote, more like robbers and, thieves, and that the hide and hedges and bushes and shoots are well when are able to hit every time. i should mention some of you probably know this. the german to the rifleman were the yaga hunters recruited from hunters and game keepers in germany. they turned out to be particularly effective in the american. so general then at least in the first couple of campaigns and the beginning of the war, the hessians, the americans as an inexperienced, undisciplined and poorly equipped. they were chasing most of the time, as one officer put it. it was that they were fighting against a nation that was unfamiliar as he put it, with real warfare.
it took the germans a while to abandon preconceived notions about the proper appearance and behavior of an army. these germans, these thousands of germans and civilians that went with the yoke through their resources created a huge volume of records, public and private diaries letters, journals, notes, official records, master rolls, etc., etc. . and my study is based largely on this archival material. so i would like to spend the rest of the time to show you a couple of representative of these kinds sources and share stories surrounding them as a way to highlight a few of the experiences of these troops. i want to start with a private letter that was written by a lieutenant, a braunschweig
lieutenant. his name is augusta roy, who was in canada in may of 1781. the here on the left, he wrote this letter to his sister in braunschweig. when you sit down to write this letter, he had been in america for five long years. on the right here is, in detail, from a map, the st lawrence river, roughly from quebec to montreal. that's where the german troops that were in canada, some for the entire war, some never saw a battle. that's pretty much where they were encamped due to war himself was in this place that i circled, buried. so this is where he is. he's writing this letter. his initial impressions of the land of canada. really? really. quebec had been quite positive. in fact, he described canada in another record as a kind of simple world a wilderness mostly
untouched by, what he called civilization. he felt at one point as he was seeing, quote, nature in her first childhood. but by 1781, his view had become favorable. it is clear that he is a lonely and, i should say that feelings of loneliness, homesickness are a recurrent in these kind of records. life in canada in particular is harsh. he feels isolated. he doesn't even really know what's going on in the rest of the continent, especially during the winter. he misses his siblings. the last letter from concordia had arrived in canada two years earlier about time draw. he was one of at least 5000 german troops that were stationed in canada far than british troops that were there at the time, although they were in a loyal province, they were
quite suspicious of the local sentiments and they tended feel like an occupying force. the fact that most the inhabitants were french speaking and catholic may have contributed to their sense of alienation. deroy actually, in the letter he writes this, he doubts that the americans would play another attack on canada after the disastrous attempt in the winter of 75, 76. but he can't be sure. by the time he writes a letter, of course france had entered the war. that's a real threat. he knows too, that the americans at some point were just thinking about maybe we should go and make another attempt on. so i'm pointing this out because i think we study the war. we study events of the past. there's a to sort of, you know, of course, what happened. we know the americans never attacked. in fact, we know that of these troops ever participated in the battle in canada. but they don't know that.
so they had to remain on high alert. they were worried that an invasion might, in fact come. despite persistent that you hear in many letters out of canada about the claim and the sense of isolation, the loneliness of the germans troops again. some spent years there like detroit gradually got used to life in this northernmost province. when it came for them to leave canada in the of 1783 as many as 700 german soldiers belonged to the branch. four were granted permission to remain there. so by thousands of german troops were stationed in canada, largely in active a significant number of germans, prisoners of war. and that takes to the next record. captivity was a common experience. members of the german auxiliary
troops. many spent considerable periods in of time in captivity and most in locations from to virginia. the record that i'm showing here is an embarkation list lists the troops belonging to hessian regiments hessian regiments most of whom been captured at trenton in the fall of 1776. now this record is from 1779. these troops had been released and they are now on several vessels from new york to canada over the course of the war. a total of at least 6000 germans were captured five occasions alone. many more were captured. about 6000 to we know they were captured in these five moments. trenton, 1776, of course, more than a thousand were taken. then benning in 1777.
saratoga in 1777. yorktown in 1781. and then two of these vessels. what happened is that the vessels departed almost immediately sailed into a massive storm. troop movements by boat, by the way, is something that the british more or less had to rely. and it was a major disadvantage. so if they wanted to whether they wanted to go to philadelphia or to canada or florida or the southern colonies, they did this on boats going along the coast. well, what does that mean? well, first of all, it means that it confined sometimes thousands of troops of west on vessels to vessels for extended periods of time, making them unavailable for kind of defensive or offensive actions. ocean journeys also took a toll
on the soldiers, who often at the destination, tired, hungry and sick on every voyage. moreover, were lost to disease or accident. in addition, the ships carrying were easy prey, especially if they were separated from the fleet which happened quite frequently on more than one occasion. the british lost transports to american and also later french capers. and the most spectacular of this kind involving german troops is this event. so these troops, these transports leaving new york to canada. there are six vessels, three of them, i want to point out. one is the adamant, the unfortunately was lost in the storm. there was in the in the diaries and letters from members of the corps frequently expressions of hope that maybe they had been blown ashore. were maybe they're in europe. who knows? they were rescued.
well, that ultimately turned out that the atonement had. at least 200 individuals on board men, women and children perished. other vessels were a series easily damaged in the storm amongst them, the marly and the triton. and i'm you this nice drawing here from under me a whole diary and sort of a before and after picture of the triton. he was on that ship. beautiful. it had been taken prisoner. trent trenton. he's now free, wanted to go to canada. and this is what happens. there were taken, captured by americans and returned to captivity. i actually want to show you this, too. i couldn't resist from yohannes. weber's diary, who was also taking a trip, was, of course, featured in the exhibit in the museum. this is yohannes depiction of the battle of trenton case. i just want to explain that the he has a lot of drawings in the
fire and it's kind of nice. so two and a half years after this event, these individuals returned to captivity. i also want to point out this embarkation list, which we have, we don't have a lot records of this, but we have enough to indicate that there were women and children. you can see women and children are listed. there are three eight women total and 24 children total on these vessels. so an interestan interesting document for that. for that reason alone, i think. so when they were captured, as we told actually writes in his diary i mean, this is the best of the spatially drifting like on the ocean, you know, and they're like oh, god, they're keep us. thank god. there's a we can it now and kind of saved their. and he does say in his diary he writes, we were happy. but of these miserable ships and on god's earth, if america was god's earth.
so while this is all happening during time period, as you most of you probably know, the british had already launched their campaign into the southern colonies, the rebellious colonies between 1778 and 1781, british transport departed from new york for the south, the carolinas, georgia virginia on several occasions, each of them in included germans. thousands germans served in the south, hundreds of them occupied savannah on charts. and for example, well after the defeated yorktown. my next document takes us a little bit further south. it takes us to west florida. on the left is a printed pamphlet. we have several printed records of the journey from new york to pensacola, west, florida, west florida.
is there was east and west florida at the time had remained loyal to britain as well. so it's another like canada, another loyal province. those troops sailed down in late 1778. stop over on jamaica and then arrived in pensacola. the regiment that participated in this is the united the entire warlike regiment. they had been on staten and camp. there were, you know, the there were identified as you go with some british troops, maybe another 600 or so under british general. of course, you go to west florida just to defend it from spanish aggression because the spanish wanted west florida back. the waldeck regiment in total consisted of approximate only 770 individuals, including 35 women and 15 children. those are the people that boarded those transport when they went down south. it was the only regiment that
was sent as far and the only one that part against the spanish. it turned out to be a devastating mission when the small fleet of transports through the waters of the gulf of mexico, new year's day, 1779. the author of this pamphlet, his name is henrik helgren. could hardly believe it. three years previously, he wrote. in 1776 he had celebrated doyle's new year's and flanders europe. exactly one year later, in 77, he had found themselves in winter quarters on another continent in new jersey, having a grand time a few days after that. unfortunately, he was captured by the americans when 77 turned into 78. he was terribly ill. still a prisoner of. and here he was now january 1st,
1779, after another year had gone by. he healthy. he was free, and he was sailing toward pensacola as he wrote, who would have believed years that i would be wondering around this part of world and what a world it was in january, the troops arrived in pensacola, a town numbering no more than, maybe 200 or so buildings, much. it had been destroyed by a hurricane a few months earlier, though small. it was the seat of the provincial government and an important trading post that boasted the best port in the gulf. the spanish called it the arrogant guardian of the gulf of mexico that offered the enish, quote, the best refuge they have for their ships. and the key to, these seas, spain was eager to get it back within weeks of arriving, pensacola, the germans were
wandering what they wereoing in this remote part of the world. it was nothing but a as this said, inhabited what they described as savages determined. germans used at the time is voodoo native americans. why were they being sacrificed when could be use of and somewhere else in north? why britain care about what they called the siberia of america which is an ironic for florida. the regiment suffered terribly from disease. many men deserted eventually or were captured. only a handful actually died in combat, which was common during the war. overall, greatest killer is disease. in the meantime spanish forces were moving in against british outposts along the mississippi north of new orleans determined
men troops were dispatched from pensacola assist in the defense. however, the spanish took one british fort after another virtually unstoppable. in may 1781, pensacola surrendered to spanish forces. and west florida was lost. by that time, disease, desertion and. captivity had reduced the waldeck regiment to about approximately 250 soldiers. remember, they had more than 770. the hesitant officer johann, about a year ago was in south carolina at the time, learned about their fate. a lot shortly after that, an entry in his diary captured, the sense of grief about the loss of so many of his compatriots in what seemed to him to be among the remotest places of the world, as he it. how harold german bones are
scattered around in this war. the prisoners that been captured before the surrender of pensacola were first held in new orleans, being taken to mexico, and then to havana, cuba. many died of disease there. others. many of them. probably went into spanish service. some undoubtedly settled in cuba, florida or louisiana. the troops that had surrendered in pensacola were sent to new york under the treaty with spain on spanish vessels. the last person on one of the embarkation lists was identified as a black woman. like the other women with a valid because she remained unnamed. most likely she was employed by the regiment as an individual or an individual officer as a servant. however, the records not reveal anything about her other than that she was black and that she was free.
and this brings me to final records. on the left, you see braunschweig, garrison church records dated 17th 87. it documents baptism of five black drummers who the german troops to germany at the conclusion of the war. the baptisms were spans led by officers that were veterans. the war including general out of is who commanded the branch corps in north america. the register notes that the baptism and confirmation attracted an unusually large crowd. the record also notes that four of the five men were born america and one was born in africa. for the duration of the war, german military units america actively recruited men as musicians, laborers, servants. and then instances also
privates, black men and women also the regiment in less formal roles, including personal servants, laborers and cooks. on the right here, see a master role of a hano artillery company in is in brooklyn at the time in 1781. note this is an unusual document because usually it's hard to identify black members the corps. in this particular case, they are clearly identified in the record as black. we have your one servant and three drummers. the commander of this particular company was squire boyce. he wrote a journal and he's an interesting guy. he was survived war. he was part the conventional army and later released and was asked by the hano hereditary princess ruler to send an account of the troops in america. and he was extremely frustrated. you know, after saratoga when
many of these troops were captured, he had had no idea where they were in north america. he actually called what we know is the conventional army. he called it the confusion army. so confused. and i mean here you have like 14 people. that's it. i mean, company. i mean, it's tiny. so anyway, what he did, though, is in the summer, right around the time that this was completed, he wrote a letter to ruling hano the really excited about announce that almost all of the haitian regiments had hired black men for various including especially and laborers. in a letter to his ruler he described special uniforms that he had designed for these black tumblers. this is not a hanover regiment, but it's representative of the ways that these black drummers were dressed. the way he it, he planned it all out. would wear red hats.
hats decorated with white and blue bands. intertwined feathers, silver buttons. their clothes were bright red with silver braids. there were red and white pants and short linen coats. this was entirely consistent with contempt dreary european use of blacks in european military units. poised to believe that the addition of black musicians outfitted in exotic uniforms added, considerable pastiche to the piano company's. it is challenging to determine whether blacks ended up with regiments as voluntary recruits, whereas plunder the army routinely seized enslaved during foraging expeditions. and we have written evidence that black children were to germany during the often as gifts. moreover some of them eventually deserted, or they were returned to individuals who claimed them as their property.
nevertheless, whether they were attached to german military units voluntarily or involuntarily, whether informal, informal roles from the beginning of the german course present in america black women, men and children were a familiar presence in their encampments. and at least 200 of them, i think, more than needed. be more research done on this at least 200 of them traveled with the german to germany when the british evacuated the new nation. in 1783. so how does all of this broaden our understanding of the american revolutionary war? i suggest that an examination of this rich body of german authored records offers fresh perspective of the american land. the people, the war, as seen in experi by these participants and outsiders. it forces us to move the themes and geographic regions that have
traditionally been emphasized in narratives of the conflict. we focus on the germans experiences, for example, poles in regions geographic regions that tend to be treated as peripheral to the war, such as canada and bassetlaw. it offers a fresh. and i think, insightful perspective of the american land, the people, customs and manners. it also provides us with new interpretations of the american and british military and civilian leadership, including the suspect of motives of, the american rebels. it provides finally impressions and assessments of the americans generally and, of course, of the war, a war that was unlike other military conflict. they had known in europe. in the words of one hessian officer, it was, quote, a war that went against all humanity.
thank. thank you. we'd be happy to take questions from the room. just raise your hand. there's. i'll walk over. just hold on a second. thank you. i'm just curious. i know that i'm spock and. right. we're only joined fairly soon before the american revolution. did guys, did they consider themselves, like, from different states or something? did they just consider that they had one prince and they were his guys? yeah. i mean, i think they they're usually considered to belong
together, so to speak. but were there are two separate regiments. so to what extent like the natives of biotin those bands probably saw themselves as being of one territory? i'm not sure, but the in the in the and when they referred to and where we see records relating them they're usually considered be together thank you. as is our tradition, we will give house the final question. so i'm going to offer that to dr. philip mead. thank you. you talked a lot about the anxieties that the princes in the land groves had about sending their troops, america, out of europe, but also the temptations of the income. what were the say middle and long term effects of these choices for the principalities. was destabilizing was it
enhancing of their income their development. was it was this depopulation burden a significant problem. what what what does this us about german history. that's a good question. i think. i mean, i think it was a big moneymaker. and so but it is complicated. so the subsidy payments did help projects. most territories that were, i would say, benefited the territory generally. a great example of this spars and hano that were the subsidy payments is a huge construction project essentially that employed a lot of locals and then becomes a tourist destination basically. so the economic impact long term longer term were favorable. some of these territories were able to pay down debts and sort of pull back from the virtual bankruptcy.
now, there were also i mean war is good for business. i mean that when you see this wreckage and you see how many businesses or merchants supplied these troops, i mean, is this a amount of stuff that they need? so we have the people, we have the weapons and the uniforms, the prayer books and the paper or that they write on and the food and of that kind of stuff. and there is a huge number of businesses involved. they're all profiting, essentially. now, when you go more the rural areas of the country where the men actually were recruited from there you see an increase, i would say, of a poverty and real suffering. and that's something in the archives we see we have a there's a lot of files of peop of local officials essentially, you know, writing to the rulers like i have all these famines. this woman has five children and the man is in america and this
woman relies on her son who going to take over the business. and he's in america and they're impoverished. so in that regard, there certainly regions in these territories that were that were really hurt by sending so many young men abroad. so i would say it's mixed. and the one final point and some of you might know this, i'm sure, but the subsidy treaties were controversial. i mean, you know, just because this has been practiced for 100 years or so. again, it's new that they're going to another continent and the british particularly is very upset about this. for them, it's on top of that. is civil war. i mean, they're sent to america to fight against british subjects. so this is the first time that we have serious criticism of this kind arrangement in britain and also continental europe. there's some very well known philosophers mirabeau, voltaire,
the king of prussia. they're all critical of doing this kind of stuff. it is it's hard to reconcile with sort of this emerging emerging sense of of of nationalism. to send your subjects fighting the fight in the foreign war, german side our troops for a few more decades. other countries. but by the second decade or so of the 19th century, it's basically over. it doesn't happen anymore. just a quick follow up to that. does it change? there's so much common about what is liberty in? these documents, it seems to me, and that's sort of striking from american historiography, which has long looked at, as you point out in the book, these troops as the sort of symbols of, the opposite of that. and i wondered, did these that get published throughout germany change the trajectory of the enlightenment in germany of of
liberty conversation of, you know, i mean, is there is there a different response to what's coming in the french revolution that might be explained by this big question. sorry, the big question, yeah. it seems to trajectory in like i would say that when you read journals or you the famous poets from the time they're all sympathetic to the american for the most part they're sympathetic to the american cause. they're like, you know, they like the idea of liberty. and these are the fighting for the liberty. you know, they also admired britain, which in comparison to germany, you had, for example, freedom of the and other liberties that most german states did not have. so there's sympathy in that sense. i would say that the entry of the troops complicates this. so you have for example, i referenced early on the deutsche according to german chronicle, the editor was a big fan of the
american revolutionary movement until the germans were hired to put it down. at that point is like, what should i hope wish for that the americans defeat these germans soldiers or should i hope for my fellow germans to win? so it's really presents a little bit of a dilemma for them. but i would say the general view, at least if you consider that we've representative the written journals, is sympathetic. the cause of liberty. thank you so much, professor baer. it's a terrific book. i hope you all get a chance. read it. thank you. thank you for.
and so we'll go i'm going to i'm going to we won't go in program order. we're actually going to go and in chronological order of the elections that they're going to be highlighting and then do that. about 50 minutes or so. and then open it up for discussion and conversation and questions. so so let me i'm going to go forth and i'm going to introduce everyone at the top. and then we will they will go in turn. so i'm going to introduce folks in the in the order in which they are going to speak. so first, we are going to have lindsey stravinsky, who is a senior fellow at center for presidential history at southern methodist methodist university. she is a historian of the presidency, political culture and the government, especially the president's cabinet. her first book, the cabinet, george washington and the creation of an american institution, was published by the belknap press. harvard university press in 2020, and it is now out in paperback. her next book, an honest man the inimitable presidency of john
adams, is under contract and will be published in fall 2024. i like that. thank you. yes right. just in time for another election. and she will be talking the transitions after the elections of 1796. in 1800. second up is ted widmer. ted is a historian, writer, librarian and musician who, currently is a professor in the macaulay or honors college at cuny. he also served as a white house speech writer and historical advisor to bill clinton and was an advisor to hillary clinton. she served as secretary of state. he has taught at harvard washington college. he has served as director and librarian of the john carter brown library at brown university and director of the cooley center, the library of congress. his book is lincoln on the verge 13 days to washington. he is a 2022 recipient of the guggenheim fellowship. congratulations, ted. that's leslie dunne. and we'll be talking about the transition after the election of
1860. so you can tell we're choosing the good ones. rachel sheldon is associate professor of history and director of the richard civil war era center at penn state university. she specializes in the long 19th century and writes and teaches about slavery and abolition the civil war, the u.s., south and political and constitutional history. she is the author of washington brotherhood politics, social life and the coming of the civil war, published by umc press 2013, which received honorable mention for the wiley silver prize for the best first book on the american civil war. she is also coeditor with garry gallagher of a political nation directions at mid-nineteenth century american political history, published uva press in 2012. her current project, the political supreme court, examines the political world. the us supreme court. the u.s. supreme court justices from the early 19th century to the 1890s. and rachel will be taking on 1876.
joshua sellers is associate professor of law at the sandra day o'connor school of law at arizona state university. he holds a j.d. and a ph.d. in political from the university of chicago, where he also served as an article's editor for the university of chicago law review. he previously taught at the university of oklahoma college of law and was a postdoctoral fellow in law and politics at syracuse university's maxwell school. before entering teaching, he was a law to judge rosemary burkett of the u.s. court of appeals for the 11th circuit analytic nation associate at and block llp in washington, d.c. his principal areas of research teaching are election law legislation and regulation. constitutional law. civil procedure. his scholarship been published in the penn law review and law review. vanderbilt law review. stanford law review, among others. joshua will be talking about hanging chads and tim russert's whiteboard. yes, you got it. election and transition of 2000. and last but hardly least. david marshaka
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