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" Hessian Generals in the AWI" Topic

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869 hits since 11 Jun 2018
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Terry3711 Jun 2018 9:34 a.m. PST

Following my question about General Mirbach, I have an additional question. Seems that after Trenton, when the remnants of regiments Rall, Knyphausen and Lossberg were combined to for a single battalion it was first commanded under von Woellwarth. However, I can not find anything about von Woellwarth and since I am doing this combined battalion and not knowing which regiment Woellwarth came from I don't know how to paint him.

Does anyone know what regiment Woellwarth came from, as I would expect him to be wearing the uniform of that regiment. My source for him commanding the battalion at Brandywine comes form Lefferts.

Thank you,


Fireymonkeyboy11 Jun 2018 9:35 a.m. PST

Hi all,

I'm slowly building up my SYW armies, and next on the block are either Russia or Austria. This got me thinking, that while I'm reasonably familiar with the "northern" conflicts of the century, both the Austrians and the Russians were involved in a running fight with the Ottomans throughout the period – and I know almost nothing about those conflicts.

Can anyone point me towards a good, english-language intro to this theatre in the period, please? Accessible and comprehensive would be a plus.

RittervonBek11 Jun 2018 9:39 a.m. PST

Russia's Military Road to the West by Christopher Duffy.

Camcleod13 Jun 2018 9:18 a.m. PST

A quick search says that Woellwarth's Regt. was the former Rall Regt.


and about half way down – Infanterieregiment No. 14:

Terry3713 Jun 2018 9:39 a.m. PST

Thanks Camcleod! The info confirms that Woellwarth took over the Rall regiment, but where was he before he did that. I ask because did he wear he uniform of his previous regiment or did he wear the uniform of the Rall regiment.

I want to be sure when I paint him that I have him in he correct uniform.

Thanks again,


seneffe14 Jun 2018 1:32 p.m. PST

He was an officer of the original Rall Regt apparently.


Hope that helps.

Terry3714 Jun 2018 8:14 p.m. PST

Seneffe, That is exactly what I was looking for!!! Thank you VERY much!


nevinsrip15 Jun 2018 1:53 p.m. PST

@ seneffe – Interesting link. I am not sure how Woellwarth could have been an officer in the Rall Regiment, when he and Rall were both full colonels; it is possible that he might have been a junior officer in that unit in previous times, but I would have thought that he must have been in another regiment when promoted to "full bird". I suspect the author of the book that you link to may be confused by his later command of the survivors. The fact that someone of Woellwarth's rank was bringing replacements over to America suggests he was destined for another command, possibly a staff post, and was diverted after Rall's death. I have a lot of books on German troops in the AWI, including all the classics, such as Atwood, Lowell, Rosengarten and Baurmeister's Journal, and cannot find any reference to which regiment he was from, prior to landing in N America.
Possibly I am over-thinking this, but my suspicion is that I am not."

Terry3715 Jun 2018 7:39 p.m. PST

Hmmmm, Nevinsrip, that is something to consider???

OK, if we aren't able to determine what regiment he was from, what regiment/uniform would you all suggest for him then? This may be the route I have to go!


Winston Smith15 Jun 2018 7:59 p.m. PST

Jeez. Put him in Rall and get over it! RED!!!
He's not going to command Rall and wear the uniform of Brunswick Dragoons!

seneffe17 Jun 2018 12:24 p.m. PST

Happy to be of any assistance Terry.

Nevinsrip- I don't really know much about the AWI but I've had an interest in Germanic armies of the 18th Century for getting on for forty years now and I've picked up a few insights along the way about how they were organised.

I've no interest in or prior knowledge of the linked source so it might be completely inaccurate for all I know, but I think there are a few factors which also make it perfectly plausible.

Reading the source- it doesn't actually spell out what rank Woellwarth was before assuming command of the new combined unit, so that might explain something.

More broadly, while Colonels and Lt Colonels existed in all Germanic armies (still often called Obrist/Obristleutnant at this period rather than the more modern Oberst) and were indeed officially quite distinct ranks, they were often referenced together rather indiscriminately and that can make the actual rank of a particular officer harder to determine from original documents.

The most important point though is that an officer's army and regimental rank could be different in German (and some other European) armies in this era. A given regiment could have several more Colonels, Lt Cols and Majors on its books than it had places for in the regimental hierarchy on parade or in the field. One could be Major or Lt Col in the 'Regt von So and So' but could simultaneously hold army rank of full Colonel as something useful like Commandant of a fortress or armoury superintendent, or sometimes less usefully as part of the ruler's 'military household' (not always really staff posts in the modern sense).

In the case of Hessen Kassel and its very elaborate and expensive court- there was an inflated number of such household posts- ADCs to the Elector, Adjutants, Flugel Adjudtants, etc etc. All of these folk had a parent regiment of which they were still formally members, and they were often still titular captains of companies in their old unit.

I won't get into the arcane complexities of regimental Chefs of various ranks, but even with a Chef who like Rall was only a Colonel in the army himself- the existence of another Colonel on his roll of officers would not be so unusual.

In short, there are plenty of ways a German regiment of the c18th could have two full Colonels on its books at the same time, although it's also perfectly possible in this case that Woellwarth was a more junior officer of the Rall Regt and received promotion on or after arrival in the colonies. But I don't think there is anything particular in his circumstances to cast doubt on the source's statement that he was from the Rall regiment.

Terry3717 Jun 2018 1:28 p.m. PST

Seneffe, THANK YOU for the additional insight, as that certainly makes good sense to me. Very helpful!

Winston, I appreciate your input, but do disagree with you. From all of my years of research, at least in the Germanic armies of the time, a general would typically wear the uniform of his personal regiment or the one he was attached to. So I could indeed see a General or brigade commander wearing a uniform that was not as of any of the regiments in his brigade. I do agree that this probably seems a real nit to many gamers, and if I did him in what-ever uniform nobody would have issue …. except me, and that is who I always try to keep happy. So if the information is out there I will strive to find it. If not after a reasonable time, then I'll make my best educated guess and be happy with that.


Terry3727 Jun 2018 10:25 a.m. PST

I finally received my copy of "The German Allied Troops in the North American War of Independence 1776-1783" by Max Von Eelking, first published in 1863 in Hanover, and find it very interesting in what it says about the command of the combined companies of the three Hessian Trenton Regiments. It does not seem to comply with my several other sources indicating v. Woellwarth????

"….the Hessian battalion, made up of the remains of Rall's brigade, after its defeat at Trenton, and was under Lieut.-Col. Kochenhausen – and later under Lieut.-Col. v. Schick and Col. v. Loos- and was attached first to Donop's and then Stirn's brigade."

This books also has a listing of officers and dates in hte back, but at the same time states that records for the years 1776-1777 are almost non-existent. So there is really no more I've found about the uniform of the officer who commanded this composite battalion after Trenton.

If anyone has any data about where Lieut.-Col. Kochenhausen, Lieut.-Col. v. Schick or Col. v. Loos came from then that should give a uniform to go with, as I would expect they would still be wearing that uniform.


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