Datterode soldiers in America


“Sold Hesse” they called those soldiers, who by Hessen’s Count Friedrich II., due to a subsidy treaty, jointly fought with England against the Americans during the American Revolutionary (1776-1783) War. See: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soldatenhandel_unter_Landgraf_Friedrich_II._von_Hessen-Kassel andhttp://www.kriegsreisende.de/absolutismus/hessen.htm)

In contrast to the presentation on this subject in the movie “The winter which was a summer”, the “real Hesse” came almost exclusively from northern Hessen2 and did not speak the Franfurt dialect.. The recruitment methods, which are shown in the aforementioned movie, show Prussian methods and are not consistent with those used in Northern Hessen. In order to  recruit, the country was divided into “Cantons”. In these the relevant competent government was allowed to enlist recruits. If there was an insufficient number of young men available in one Canton, the Count and “The War College” could induce the recruitement in another Canton. Prior to this legislation it happened that the recruiters were hired by reprehensible and illegal methods to collect a high premium. The so-recruited soldiers were distinguished by the fact that they often deserted or defected to the Americans. The recruiters were instructed to recruit many Non-Hessians, because if they would have recruited the 20 000 soldiers only of Hessen, whome the Count had to deliver according to the contract, a considerable blood-letting for the small Hessen would have happened. The names in the registration lists of these troops explain that there were a large amount of “mecenaries”, who came not only from German states, but from all over Europe.

Accepted were only men 16 to 30 years of age who were healthy and strong. They had to at least be “5 shoes, 6 inches” tall (Prussian measurement  - about 1.60 m). The younger ones could be 2 inches smaller if it was expected that they would grow. Excluded from the enlistings were only the sons who were apprentices, students, fellows who led the operation of a widow, as well as miners, boilermakers, farm heirs, industrious salt drivers and servants, and officials in dominant households.

What did the Count do with the remuneration that he received for the soldiers? The same thing other princes and counts did. He invested in creating beautiful buildings and facilities for his capitol city. Generations to come would still marvel at Kassel. Some of the money he used for social services. England paid a total of 21 million “Reichstaler” (Empire Credits) to Hessen. Hencewith not only the debt was repaid, but also reserves were formed, making it possible that only low taxes were levied. This changed in 1866 when the Prussians arrived.

In reviewing enrolment lists there is the conspicuousness that in many cases men from poor families were prefered. Often we find several sons of laborers, herders and miners volunteered for America. This is also true for a large number of non-inheriting peasants' sons. We assume that these soldiers acted more or less adventurous rather than out of the bare existence question. Many of these men secretly hoped to acquire freedom and also land in order to lead a better life as a farmer through the transfer to America.. This was known very early in Hessen, as promised by the U.S. Congress defectors, according to their rank they would get full citizenship and a reward in form of land. This has effected the number of defectors and also the fact, that brothers, relatives and friends had gone over the same day. Many of these men got wealth and prosperity in America and later brought their families over there.

The following are the names of soldiers from Datterode, as the so-called “Sold Hessians” in the American Revolutionary War (1776-1783) set up alongside the British against the Americans fighting for independence from England. Almost all of them received their military training in the Regiment “Kronprinz” (Crown Prince), which was then stationed in Eschwege. The road to America started by walking to Witzenhausen, from there it continued  by sailboat across the Atlantic.


Beck, Johann Georg; linewever; *26.08.1757, +07.03.1839; 
married on 27.06.1784 to Anna Elisabeth Köhler

with the Regiment von Bünau3, recruited October 1778, 1783 still mentioned


Bornhaus, Andreas; *22.01.1752

with the Regiment Erbprinz4, 1775 on holiday, January 1776 defected to the Americans


Bornhaus, Christoph; *14.10.1757

with the Regiment Erbprinz, in May 1783 been captured and defected to the Americans 5


Bornhaus, Johann Eobald; Schreiner; *28.10.1751, +07.01.1831, married on 12.06.1796 to Dorothea Elisabeth Eitzeroth

1783 with the Regiment von Bünau,
1785 with the Regiment Erbprinz mentioned


Bornhaus, Georg; *28.05.1749

1775 with the Regiment Erbprinz named; in May 1783 been captured and defected to the Americans


Bornhaus, Jacob; *17.06.1753

1775 with the Regiment Erbprinz, in June 1777 died in America from disease or accident


Bornhaus, Jacob; *10.05.1759

with the Regiment Erbprinz, in May 1783 been captured and defected to the Americans


Ebel, Johann Georg; *06.03.1754

with the Regiment Erbprinz, in October 1781 defected to the Americans


Eisenträger, Johann Conrad; *08.03.1751

with the Regiment von Bünau 1775 named, in November 1776 died after beeing wounded


Eitzeroth, Johann Conrad; *20.08.1754

with the Regiment Prinz Carl August6 1781 and 1783 named, in October 1783 died from disease or accident


Fischer, Jacob; *15.01.1757, married on 25.02.1785 inLangenhain to Anna Elisabeth Appel

1785 with theRegiment Prinz Friedrich (Erbprinz) mentioned; unsure if been in America


Funck, Johann Caspar; *18.12.1747

Grenadier with the Bataillon von Minnigerode7, in June 1778 deserted


Funck, Johann Henrich; *28.03.1756

with the Regiment Erbprinz, in May 1783 been captured and defected to the Americans


Jacob, Johann Peter; *28.11.1754 

with the Regiment Erbprinz, in May 1783 captured by the Americans and defected to these


Karges, Johann Paul; *04.01.1753 

with the Regiment Erbprinz, 1775 on vacation, killed in action in August 1776


Köhler, Reinhard; *06.02.1739

Grenadier with the Bataillon von Linsingen8, 1776 and 1783 named


Lange, Johann Peter; Leineweber und Gerichtsschöffe; *19.12.1752, +01.12.1801, cop. 04.02.1787 mit Anna Catharina Wand 

as Grenadier with the Bataillon von Minnigerode 1775 and 1783 mentioned


Meingut, Johannes; *about 1730, konf. 1745 Datterode, Familie sonst in Datterode nicht bekannt

Sergeant, 1775 with the Regiment von Knyphausen9, 1785 von Donop10, in February 1777 captured by the Americans, but obviously been released


Mosebach, Johann Eobald; Leineweber und Tagelöhner; *18.09.1754, married on 22.08.1785 to Ottilia Hose

1783 named as Grenadier with the Bataillon von Minnigerode


Müller, Andreas; carpenter; *21.05.1756, +16.06.1807, married on 19.03.1797 to Elisabeth Fischer

with the Regiment Erbprinz, 1775 on vacation, 1785 mentioned: unsure if he was in America


Müller, Johann Valentin; *23.09.1745, +14.01.1819 in Langenhain, married on 08.08.1784 in Langenhain to Justina Elisabeth Wencke

1775 and 1783 named as Grenadier with the Bataillon von Minnigerode


Pfister, Johann Eobald; *01.02.1753

with the Regiment Erbprinz, 1775 on vacation, in December 1776 died in America from disease or accident


Rathgeber, Martin; *about 1749, konf. 1763 Datterode

1775 named with the Regiment Erbprinz


Rehbein, Justus; *about 1755

recruited  Januar 1781 by Regiment Rall11, in October 1783 as Tambour on vacation, place of origin also namedVatterode (!)


Schmidt, Johann Conrad; lineweaver and laborer; *10.08.1752, +27.12.1832, married on 26.03.1786 to Maria Catharina Fey

with the Regiment Erbprinz, 1775 on vacation


Schneider, Christoph; date of birth unknown

with the Regiment von Bünau, in October 1776 died on the crossing


Schreiber, Johann Christoph; *03.01.1754

with the Regiment Erbprinz, in May 1783 been captured and defected to the Americans


Schreiber, Johann Eobald; farmer and lineweaver; *11.07.1751, +05.04.1796, married 1. on 23.02.1773 to Catharina Elisabeth Schmidt, married 2. on 04.08.1782 to Anna Maria Beck

with the Regiment Erbprinz, 1775 on vacation


Stück, Johann Nicolaus; laborer; *03.12.1736, +11.01.1807, married on16.05.1785 to Anna Martha Bilgram

with the Grenadier-Bataillon von Linsingen, 1776 Corporal, in June 1782 promoted to Capitain d’Armes, mentioned as such in 1783


Vogelgesang, Paul; lineweaver and laborer; *about 1753, +22.11.1806, married on 12.12.1784 to Anna Catharina Munck

1775 and 1783 named with the Regiment von Bünau


Vogler, Johann Caspar; *12.08.1736

1774 and 1775 named as Gunner and Private with the Regiment von Knyphausen, in September 1776 died in America from disease or accident


Vogler, Johann Henrich; *21.05.1752

with the Regiment Erbprinz, 1775 on vacation, in May 1773 been captured and defected to the Americans

Of these 32 young men Datterode one died on the crossing, only 31 were actually in America. Only two of them fell in battle, four died from disease or accidents. Ten young men - that is one third - have preferred not to return to their old home and tried their luck in the new world: They ran over to the Americans, in part, after they were captured. One prisoner was then released. Of these 31 young soldiers 15 returned back home.

The following eight Datterode soldiers are indeed included in the lists, but could not have been in Americ because of their age or for other reasons:


Bachmann, Johann Henrich; dayguardian; *31.05.1755, +01.12.1828, married on 22.02.1784 to Catharina Elisabeth Fey

1785 mentioned with the Regiment Prinz Friedrich (Erbprinz), obviously not been to in America


Bachmann, Johann Martin; laborer; *24.09.1751, +before 1796, married on 27.02.1780 to Dorothea Elisabeth Eitzeroth

1775 mentioned with the Regiment Erbprinz; looking to the marriage date, he could not have been in America


Baum, Johann Eobald; *23.07.1767

1785 named with the Regiment Prinz Friedrich (Erbprinz), certainly not been in America


Ebel, Andreas; lineweaver and courtjuror; *29.08.1765, +20.05.1816, married on 17.10.1795 to Catharina Elisabeth Bornhaus

January 1785 listed in Regiment Prinz Friedrich (Erbprinz) and certainly not in America


Hose, Johann Henrich; cowherd and laborer; 14.02.1763, +09.05.1808, married on 05.03.1789 to Martha Elisabeth Methe from Röhrda

1783 with the Regiment Prinz Friedrich (Erbprinz), was not in America


Lotz, Johann Christoph; dayguardian und slatmaker; *13.05.1764, +09.01.1844, married on 22.02.1787 to Barbara Juliane Knauf

1785 with the Regiment Prinz Friedrich (Erbprinz), was not in America


Müller, Jakob; *about 1765

1785 with the Regiment Prinz Friedrich (Erbprinz), was not in America


Munck, Johannes; Leineweber; *13.11.1763, +21.02.1837, cop. 06.01.1788 mit Anna Martha Elisabeth Schreiber

1785 with the Regiment Prinz Friedrich (Erbprinz), was not in America


1 Karl Gier, Karl Kollmann and Herbert Lamprecht in  „850 Jahre Datterode“, Der Festausschuss Datterode, Verlag Friedrich Gajewski, 1991; expanded to provide additional information by Heimatverein Datterode e. V.

2 see http://www.vondonop.org/hkUniformss.html

3 Uniforms and history see http://www.vondonop.org/Uniformsbunau.html and http://www.srcalifornia.com/Uniformss/p50.htm

4 Uniforms and Locations see http://www.vondonop.org/Uniformserbprinz.html

5 see Die Barnhouselinde and www.progenealogists.com/barnhouse/

6 Uniforms and locations see http://www.vondonop.org/Uniformsprinzcarl.html

7 Uniforms and Locations see http://www.vondonop.org/Uniformsminnigerode.html

8 Uniforms and Locations see http://www.vondonop.org/Uniformslinsing.html

9 Uniforms and Locations see http://www.vondonop.org/Uniformsknyphausen.html

10 Uniforms and Locations see http://www.vondonop.orggl./Uniformsdonop.html

11 Uniforms and Geschichte see http://www.srcalifornia.com/Uniformss/s4.htm /Uniformss/s4.htm

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