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"Hessians advance, Battle for Long Island" Topic


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Garde de Paris15 Jun 2019 3:20 a.m. PST

"Revolution in America" confidential letter & Journals 1776-1784 of Adjutant General Major Bauermeister of the Hessian Forces. Rutgers University Press, 1957.

In his letter dated September 2, 1776, Bauermeister tell us "10:00 O'clock (AM) 24 August, a landing was effected on Long Island. Each battalion had eight or nine transports, the frigates keeping to the outside of them. The Scottish Highlanders, landing without opposition, were the first. This regiment and the English grenadiers were under the command of Brigadier General Erskine. They were followed by
the Hessian grenadiers and jagers under Colonel von Donop, and lastly by the English infantry and General Howe and his staff.

(at Flatbush) There at 6:00 PM the Hessian jagers met for the first time with the much-feared riflemen, who were setting fire to five of the loyalist houses. Nine riflemen and one jager were killed…. They withdrew to the woods which separate the Flabush country from ?Natt? Island or the Brookly County.

These woods, three English miles long and one English mile wide, are thickly-grown with large trees and full of gullies and ravines, which make it impossible for even three men to walk abreast, not to mention a platoon. Hence we were compelled to follow the example of the English, that is, to form columns two men abreast and rather far apart, as if lined up for someone to run the gauntlet."

He mentions that the jager had two field pieces, and later on the book calls them amusettes.

GdeP

historygamer15 Jun 2019 2:40 p.m. PST

Nice post. Shows some Hessian flexibility. The amusettes are oversized muskets, sometimes also referred to as wall guns. Personally, I'm not sure they had much tactical value. English amusettes were developed to protect the flanks of deployed artillery guns. I am not aware they were used much, if at all, by the English forces.

Garde de Paris15 Jun 2019 3:53 p.m. PST

I seem to remember the Croats of the 7YW using amusettes, firing 1 pound ball. Also, the French tried to furnish each infantry battalion with a single Swedish light 4-pounder but sometimes had to use 1 pounder amusettes.

GdeP

nugrim16 Jun 2019 6:15 a.m. PST

And the battle report is?

FlyXwire23 Jun 2019 4:05 p.m. PST

"These woods, three English miles long and one English mile wide, are thickly-grown with large trees and full of gullies and ravines, which make it impossible for even three men to walk abreast, not to mention a platoon. Hence we were compelled to follow the example of the English, that is, to form columns two men abreast and rather far apart, as if lined up for someone to run the gauntlet."

And those damn American woods just messed up those proper formations every time!

FlyXwire24 Jun 2019 4:15 a.m. PST

GdeP, I just order a copy of this book for myself.

And thanks for the heads-up!

(hope there's more gems like above to be found within its pages)

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP24 Jun 2019 1:40 p.m. PST

Norwegian army used amusettes as late as the napoleonic wars. Norwegian terrain being much the same as eastern America of the 18th century.

42flanker10 Jul 2019 2:58 a.m. PST

A little belatedly but it is worth saying that, in most contexts of this the period, 'amusette' tends to signify a small calibre field piece, 1 or 1.5 pdr, on a wheeled carriage with the trail formed from a pair of shafts which either allow the gun to be drawn like a barrow by men on foot or enable it to be harnessed to directly to a horse backed into the shafts.

Ewald's battle sketches indicate a piece with a trail and the text of his journals supports this. There are drawings of these weapons in the Hessian archives at Marburg. Hessian light troops were recorded using 1-pdr amusettes in 1762 during the 7 Years War (Rudolf Witzel)

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The Danes adopted amusettes designed by a Hessian in Danish service and there are numerous drawings and models, and one surviving example, in Danish and Swedish museums, all showing light field pieces as described ('limon lavett'). The Hanoverians also used them briefly but found the design did not deliver the convenience it promised on paper.

The Norwegians, who found this design of gun suited to their terrain were still using some form of amusette in the 1820s. A piece captured in 1808 by the Swedes from the Norwegians (then under Denmark) survives in the museum at Stockholm.

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Marechale de Saxe, who seems to have adopted the term 'amusette' for military usage, did depict a large calibre musket with a stock but that was but one of his posthumously published 'Reveries.'

In 1740 Capitaine Cuisinier did demonstrate a carriage with shaft-trails(affut limonière) as an alternative to the 4 pdr Suedoise battalion gun in French service, but I am not sure what employment it saw.

The 'wall gun' type of heavy musket firing through a mantlet mounted on limber wheels, as far as I know, only appears in drawings by Congreve that date to the end of the AWI, and only demonstrated a proposal to provide additional covering fire to artillery pieces in certain circumstances; in any case, an artillery proposal, not a light infantry support weapon.

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