Creuzbourg's Jäger Corps

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Jäger-Corps von Creuzbourg
Active 1776-1784
Country Flag of Hesse.svg
Hesse-Hanau
Allegiance Union flag 1606 (Kings Colors).svg
The British Crown
Branch Crown Forces
German allied contingent
Type Infantry
Role Jägers
Size Five companies
Engagements Battle of Oriskany

Creuzbourg's Jäger Corps (Jäger-Corps von Creuzbourg) was an independent Jäger battalion raised by the county of Hesse-Hanau and put to the disposition of the British Crown, as part of the German Allied contingent during the American Revolutionary War. The corps fought at the Battle of Oriskany, although mostly serving as garrison of different Canadian posts.

Formation[edit]

The open Hessian landscape contrased starkly with the deep forests and the rapid rivers that the Hessian jägers would meet in North America.

When the American Revolution began, the British Army was too small to overwhelm the rebellious colonies with armed might. Subsequently, United Kingdom entered treaties with a number of German principalities, which provided the British Crown with allied contingents for service in North America in return for monetary subsidies. A mutual aid- and alliance treaty between United Kingdom and Hesse-Hanau was entered in February 1776.[1]

A Jäger corps under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Karl Adolf Christoph von Creutzburg was among the units in the Hesse-Hanau contingent.[2] The Jägers were recruited from state foresters and other professional hunters. They were selected for their marksmanship, and were all volunteers, in contrast with the drafted or pressed soldiers that filled the ranks of the Hesse-Hanau infantry. The pay was higher than for ordinary troops. The British government especially requested Jägers for the American campaign, as they were perceived as better able to endure the North American wilderness. [3]

Operations[edit]

During almost all its movements Creuzbourg's Jäger Corps used the waterways.

The Hesse-Hanau contingent arrived to Canada in the summer of 1777 and became part of General Burgoyne's army that after the Battle of Saratoga became American prisoners of war. Creuzbourg's Jäger Corps, however, escaped defeat and imprisonment, as it was to be a part of Barry St. Leger's western offensive during the Saratoga Campaign. Due to the slowness of wilderness travel, only one of the Corp's companies arrived in time to participate in this campaign. This single company made, however, a significant contribution to the American defeat at the Battle of Oriskany. The remaining companies did not join St. Leger until after the Siege of Fort Stanwix had ended and the Crown forces were retreating northward. [4][5]

During the winter of 1777-1778, Creuzbourg's Jäger Corps was quartered in the area southeast of Montreal. In August 1778 at least one company was based around Terrebonne. The winter of 1779-1780 was spent in cantonment at La Prairie and during the summer of 1781 the corps was part of Québec garrison. The winter of 1781-1782 spent in quarters in Saint-Vallier and Châteauguay; during the summer of 1782 the corps was posted to Île aux Noix and Lacolle, in the Montérégie region.[3]

Disbandment[edit]

The free life of Canada was appealing for many members of Creuzbourg's Jäger Corps.

After the Treaty of Paris 1783 the Hesse-Hanau contingent was repatriated. Nevertheless, almost half of Creuzbourg's Jäger Corps chose to resign and settle in Canada. Their combat experience had been limited, but during long marches they had learned the way of the wilderness with hunting, fishing and snowshoeing, and enjoyed life much more than in Germany.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dietmar Kügler, Die deutschen Truppen im amerikanischen Unabhängigkeitskrieg 1775-1783 (Stuttgart 1980), p. 118-123. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
  2. ^ Hessische Truppen in Amerika: "Creutzburg, von, Karl Adolf Chrp (* ca. 1733)" Retrieved March 22, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Virginia Easley DeMarce, The Settlement of Former German Auxiliary Troops in Canada After the American Revolution (Arlington 1982). Retrieved March 22, 2013.
  4. ^ Gavin K. Watt, Rebellion in the Mohawk Valley (The Dundurn Group, 2002), p. 234, 265.. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
  5. ^ Clifford Neal Smith, German Mercenary Expatriates in the United States and Canada (Heritage House 1973), p. 63. Retrieved March 22, 2013.