Monday, 8 March 2010

Hessen-Kassel Regiments

In the previous posting it was mentioned that regiments hired out to the Maritime Powers were sometimes formed as ad-hoc formations by drafting companies from various existing regiments.

This is, to some extend, seen with the regiments that Landgraf Karl from Hessen-Kassel hired to the Dutch Republic in 1688. (Yes, this time not a real British topic.) Studying these regiments, and trying to present a brief and correct lineage, is made a little complicated by the mixture of influences and conflicting information.

During the Nine Years' War Hessen-Kassel hired, as part of a larger contingent, a regiment of cavalry to the Dutch Republic. According to Het Staatsche Leger this was the Regiment Nassau-Weilburg (formed 1686), whereas other sources indicate this was the Leibregiment zu Pferd (formed 1684).

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, and came to the author's notice thanks for Uwe-Peter Böhm:
First, the regiments earmarked for the Netherlands were to be established from men drawn from existing regiments. Because the Landgraf did not want to give away his entire Leibregiment a "composite" regiment was to be formed by taking a company from each regiment of horse.
Secondly, Nassau-Weilburg seems to have been the chosen regimental commander for the regiment of horse that was to go into Dutch pay.
Thirdly, the (original) Nassau-Weilburg regiment was formed from part of the Leibregiment in 1686, creating a link to the Leibregiment.

When the regiments were marching towards the Netherlands in 1688, they were not raised to full strength already. Combined with other troubles the Landgraf had, apart from the treaty with the Dutch he had Imperial obligations on the middle-Rhine, filling the ranks was probably done in any way possible, by taking men from many regiments. This makes it difficult to identify the regiment properly.

More to follow!

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