Hessian Soldiers of the American Revolution
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Hessian soldiers in the American Revolution



The Germanic States in 1775

History of the Germanic States




"The map of Germany in the 1600 -1700's presents the most extraordinary patchwork. Across the northern part of the country, from its eastern to its western side, but not in an unbroken line, stretch the territories of the King of Prussia. The Austrian hereditary dominions, in a comparatively compact mass, occupy the southeastern corner. Beyond the boundaries of these two great powers, all is confusion. Electorates, duchies, bishoprics, the dominions of margraves, landgraves, princes, and free cities are inextricably jumbled together. There were nearly three hundred sovereignties in Germany, besides over fourteen hundred estates of Imperial Knights, holding immediately of the empire, and having many rights of sovereignty. Some of these three hundred states were not larger than townships in New England, many of them not larger than American counties. Nor was each of them compact in itself, for one dominion was often composed of several detached parcels of territory. Yet every little princedom had to maintain its petty prince, with his court and his army. The princes were practically despotic. The remnants of what had once been constitutional assemblies still existed in many places, but they represented at best but a small part of the population" 


The History of our Hessian families comes out of the history of these principalities.  


"The cities and towns were governed by privileged classes. In the country some little freedom remained with the peasants of some neighborhoods as to the management of their village affairs, but in general the peasantry were not much better off than serfs, and subject to the tyranny of a horde of officials, who intermeddled in every important action of their lives. Trade was hampered by tolls and duties, for every little state had its own financial system. Commerce and manufactures were impeded by monopolies. In certain places sumptuary laws regulated the dress or the food of the people."


"Before the last quarter of the 17th century some improvement had taken place in the political condition of Germany. Frederick the Great of Prussia and Joseph II of Austria were, in their different ways, enlightened princes, and their example had stimulated many of the better sovereigns to exert themselves in some measure for the good of their people. The influence of the Liberal movement in France was also felt. But the idea of political freedom had hardly taken shape in the most cultivated of German minds. The good or evil disposition of the prince was no more under the control of the ordinary subject than the state of the weather. The doctrine of passive obedience was in fashion, though not entirely uncontested. If, as one writer on politics explained, it was the duty of the subject to submit in case his prince should take his life in mere wantonness, it was to be hoped that another writer was equally correct in saying that "in princely houses all virtues are hereditary." (Biedermann, vol. i. pp. 161, 163, n.) "




(This is an excellent site and should be read by all who are interested in the Hessian soldier.. my opinion nelda)


From our member:





The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation (German: Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation, Latin Sacrum Romanum Imperium Nationis Germanicae, see names and designations of the empire) was a political conglomeration of lands in Central Europe in the Middle Ages and the early modern period. Emerging from the eastern part of the Frankish realm after its division in the Treaty of Verdun (843), it lasted almost a millennium until its dissolution in 1806. By the 18th century, it still consisted of the larger part of modern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Belgium, and Luxembourg, as well as large parts of modern Poland and small parts of the Netherlands. Previously, it had included all of the Netherlands and Switzerland, and parts of modern France and Italy (see: Maps below). In the 18th century, when the Empire was already in decline, Voltaire ridiculed its nomenclature by saying that the Holy Roman Empire was "neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire".


  • It was never a nation state. Despite the German ethnicity of most of its rulers and subjects, from the very beginning many ethnicities constituted the Holy Roman Empire. Many of its most important noble families and appointed officials came from outside the German-speaking communities. At the height of the empire it contained most of the territory of today's Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Czech Republic and Slovenia, as well as eastern France, northern Italy and western Poland. Its languages thus comprised not only German and its many dialects and derivatives, but many Slavic languages and the languages which became modern French, Dutch and Italian. Furthermore, its division into territories ruled by numerous secular and ecclesiastical princes, prelates, counts, imperial knights, and free cities made it, in the early modern period at least, far less cohesive than the emerging modern states around it.
  • However, during most of its time it was more than a mere confederation. The concept of the Reich not only included the government of a specific territory, but had strong Christian religious connotations (hence the holy prefix). Until 1508, German Kings were not considered Emperors of the Reich until the Pope had formally crowned them as such.

The Reich can thus best be described as a cross between a state and a religious confederation


The North German Confederation (in German, Norddeutscher Bund), came into existence in 1867, following the dissolution of the German Confederation. Formed by 22 states of northern Germany, it was effectively a transitional grouping, lasting only until the founding of the German Empire in 1871. However, it cemented Prussian control over northern Germany, and emanated that same control via the Zollverein (Customs Union) into southern Germany. Notably, the Confederation excluded both Austria and Bavaria.

The Confederation came into being after Prussia defeated Austria in the Austro-Prussian War. Otto von Bismarck created the constitution, which came into force on 1 July, 1867, with the King of Prussia, Wilhelm I, as its President, and Bismarck as Chancellor. The states were represented in the Bundesrat (Federal Council) with 43 seats (of which Prussia held 17), while the people elected the Norddeutscher Reichstag (North German Diet).

Following Prussia's defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian War of 1871, Bavaria, Württemberg, and Baden (together with parts of the Grand Duchy of Hesse which had not originally joined the Confederation), now grouped together with the various states of the Confederation to form the German Empire, with Wilhelm I taking the new title of German Emperor.

from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_German_Confederation 


Also check this site out:

Germany for Dummies




The Territories of the Empire
Die Territorien des Reiches

1789 A.D. (n.Chr.)


Caption for 1789 map
Legende zur Karte von 1789




The Map and Caption are from a wonderful site

Baden-Württemberg,State of Germany

Please visit the site.




Time line

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_German_history 



Nothing listed between these years...



Since 2000





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Why they were called Hessians

Individual Names of Hessians

Terms  and  Definitions

The Germanic States

Families and Camp Followers

Reunions and Celebrations

Articles about the American Revolution

Documents concerning 

how prisoners were to be 

treated and converted.

Chronology of U.S. Historical Documents

Hessian DNA Web Sites

Articles about Hessians  in history

Germany GenWeb Project

Battles Hessian Units were involved in


and the soldiers listed in them


mailing list

Jails,  Prisons and Prison Camps

German &  American Parish Registers

German Genealogy WIKI 

Information on Transport Ships

Towns and places

  named after a Hessian soldier


mailing list

Journals and Diaries

Ages of young soldiers

"OUR" Mailing list archives


How to find towns in Germany


The Bayreuther Zeitung Newspaper
No. 58, 23 March, 1802.

Ansbach Regiment

Marie Rasnick Fetzer

Bob Brooks

Ansbach - Bayreuth Troops

Jochen Seidel

External Hessian Websites



TERM PDF as used by John Merz is not an Adobe electronic file, it is Personal Data File for an individual soldier.



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Last updated: March 27, 2006 .


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