Don N. Hagist
©1997, 2003, 2007
Adapted from articles published in the
Journal of the Johannes Schwalm Historical Association,
Vol. 6 No. 1 (1997) and Vol. 7 No. 3 (2003).
The participation of the German regiments that served with the British Army during the American Revolution is widely studied. Almost unknown, however, is the record of service of German nationals within the ranks of the British regular infantry regiments. The number of Germans was small compared to the total number of British troops, but they formed a significant portion of many of the regiments that received them.
In November 1775 Colonel William Faucitt of the British Foot Guards was in Germany overseeing the mustering into British pay of five Hanoverian infantry regiments for service in the Mediterranean area. He was directed by the British ministry to negotiate a contract with Lieutenant Colonel Georg Heinrich Albrecht von Scheither, a Hanoverian officer who had commanded a light corps during the Seven Years War, to enlist 2,000 Germans for service in British infantry regiments. If von Scheither was successful, the British government could, at its option, call for an additional 2,000 recruits.
The need for large numbers of recruits was not due strictly to attrition. When it became apparent that the conflict in America had become an all-out war, the strength of the British regular infantry regiments, or foot regiments, was augmented with eighteen private soldiers being added to the established strength of each of a regiment’s ten companies. The orders for this augmentation were issued in the summer of 1775, but it took time to raise the 180 soldiers required by each regiment in America over and above the normal requirements due to attrition. In addition to increased recruiting efforts, men in regiments that were to remain in Great Britain were asked to volunteer for service in America, and regiments that had already been overseas for a long time were broken up and their private soldiers distributed among other regiments, a procedure known as drafting. The men recruited by von Scheither were another component of the overall increase.
The original plan was to distribute forty or forty-one German recruits to each British regiment serving in America. The distribution was changed, however, in order to allocate the recruits based on the needs of each regiment. Table 1 lists the numbers of German recruits received by several regiments, ranging from only a few men up to about one-third of the strength of a regiment. The 22nd Regiment of Foot was one of a few that received the original allotment of forty German recruits.
Table 1: Numbers of German Recruits Received by Several British Regiments in America, 17761
Regiment Number of
9th 81 10th 76 16th 127 17th 40 20th 53 21st 14 22nd 40 23rd 40 28th 40 33rd 101 34th 138 40th 7 43rd 27 44th 60 46th 7 49th 17 52nd 32 53rd 137 55th 18 57th 7 62nd 106 63rd 7 64th 5
Documents preserved in Britain’s National Archives (formerly the Public Record Office) allow us to trace the service records of the 22nd Regiment’s German recruits. A return entitled “Liste Des Recrués Anglois embarqués á Stade pour Spithead en Irlande ce 14me de Mai 1776”2 records the name, age, place of birth, height, and religion of some 400 of the men recruited by von Scheither, including thirty-seven of the forty assigned to the 22nd Regiment. It also identifies men having prior military service, and indicates whether each man was married and accompanied by his wife and any children.3 Although recruited in the German states, the von Scheither recruits included men from all over Europe.
Table 2 lists profiles those German recruits who joined the 22nd Regiment of Foot, from the embarkation return and from muster rolls described below. The information for one man, Wolfgang Franke, is ambiguous; his name appears to correlate with the German “John Frocking” who served in the 22nd Regiment, but he could also have been the “Wolfgang Fronke” who served in the 38th Regiment.
Table 2: Summary of Information on German Recruits of the 22nd Regiment of Foot
Name Anglicized Name Age in 1776 Place of Birth Height Religion Notes Christopher Amon Discharged, received land grant in Nova Scotia October 1783. Johann Berner John Benner 34 Saxony 6'-1½” Lutheran Prior military service in the German empire. Deserted from Rhode Island 3 June 1777 with Köppler and Reinecke. Arrived in Providence, RI on 7 June. Isodor Beyer 21 Palatinate 5'-11½” Catholic Prior military service in the German empire. Discharged, received land grant in Nova Scotia October 1783. Heinrich Bingschmidt Henry Penikmake 30 Hesse-Darmstadt 5'-11½” Lutheran Married, and brought his wife to America. Discharged, received land grant in Nova Scotia October 1783. Johannes Bormann John Boreman 26 Hesse-Darmstadt 5'-11½” Lutheran Prior military service in Holland. Discharged, received land grant in Nova Scotia October 1783. Mattias Chatinque Nathanael Chalingue 17 Bohemia 5'-9” Catholic Discharged 2 September 1783, and joined 54th Regiment. Served in Canada until he died 26 June 1787. Christian Depner Dipper 17 Hildesheim 5' 8" Lutheran In a military prison for a time in 1779. Deserted 2 December 1779 but was caught, tried and sentenced to receive 1000 lashes. Discharged 24 December 1780, then served in the Royal Garrison Battalion, New York, at least through July 1781. Adam Ditmeyer Dittmyre 18 Ansbach 5' 7" Lutheran Died in New York 6 May 1780. Peter Dulcey Served in the grenadier company from 2 November 1780. Deserted from New York 7 July 1783. Johannes Fahnert John Fahneal 17 Hessen 5' 9" Reformed Died in Rhode Island 30 May 1777. Franz Frölich Francis Fraelich 30 Leinigen 5' 11" Catholic Prior military service in Holland. Discharged 24 December 1782, then served in the Royal Garrison Battalion, Bermuda, through October 1783. Wolfgang Franke John Frocking, Fredrickan 18 Palatinate 5'-9¾" Reformed Discharged 9 September 1783, and joined 17th Regiment. Served in Canada until he deserted 24 October 1787. Valentin Heimel Valentine Hyman 22 Bavaria 5'-8½” Catholic Died in Rhode Island 16 January 1777. Joachim Heuer Hyre 17 Saxony 5'-9” Lutheran Appointed corporal in 1780 and sergeant in 1783. Discharged 2 September 1783, and joined 54th Regiment. Served in Canada as corporal and sergeant until he died 26 May 1789. Georg Hille George Hill 30 Bohemia 5'-10¾” Catholic Married, but his wife was not with him at embarkation from Germany. Discharged 8 July 1783. Arrived in Portsmouth, England 22 August 1783. Friederich von Knorre Frederick Knorr, Kinor 19 Prussia 5'-9” Lutheran Prior military service in Prussia. Discharged 1 June 1783. Christoph Köppler Christopher Copler 33 Mainz 6'-½” Catholic Prior military service in Hannover. Deserted from Rhode Island 3 June 1777, with Berner and Reinecke. Arrived in Providence, RI 7 June. Gottlieb Krug Krieg 26 Saxony 5'-9½” Lutheran Discharged 6 February 1784. Hans Casper Meyer Casper Meyer 22 Hessen 5'-8” Lutheran Discharged 15 October 1783. Christian Nothnagel Northnagle, Ofnagle 19 Austria 5'-8¾” Lutheran Captured at Connecticut Farms, NJ 8 June 1780, and sent to Philadelphia. Died in prison 24 April 1781. Simeon Pflug Simon Pflugh 20 Worms 6'-½” Catholic Captured at Connecticut Farms, NJ, 8 June 1780, and sent to Philadelphia. Died in prison, 24 April 1781. Franciscus Rabunau Francis Robinau 17 France 5'-8½” Catholic Deserted from Rhode Island 14 August 1778. Georg Reibmann George Rieman 18 Austria 5'-8” Lutheran Discharged, received land grant in Nova Scotia October 1783. Christoph Reinecke Christian Reneke 36 Saxony 5'-11” Lutheran Prior military service in Saxony. Deserted from Rhode Island 3 June 1777 with Köppler and Berner. Arrived in Providence, RI 7 June. Hubert Römer Hubertus Reimar 26 Trier 5'-8” Catholic Tried by general court martial, September 1778, for desertion; acquitted. Discharged, received land grant in Nova Scotia October 1783. Appears to have subsequently served in an invalid corps until he received a pension on 5 August 1789. Discharge states that he was a laborer, and was discharged because of rheumatism. Franz Scheppe Frances Shippe 29 Hungary 6'-1½” Catholic Prior military service in Prussia. Discharged 23 February 1779. Anton Scherf Anthony Sheriff 18 Fulda 5'-9¼” Catholic Prior military service in Würzburg. Deserted from Rhode Island 5 July 1778 Sebastian Schindwolf 22 Mainz 5'-8” Catholic Deserted from New York 23 July 1782. Israel Schroder Scrodder 34 Holland 5' 11" Lutheran Prior military service in Prussia; corporal when embarked from Germany in 1776. Served in Light Infantry from 25 December 1777. Deserted in New Jersey 28 June 1778. Leonhard Schwartz John Swartz 30 Ansbach 5'-10¾” Lutheran Died in Rhode Island 14 October 1779. Adam Sell 21 Mainz 5'-8¾” Catholic Deserted from Rhode Island 15 August 1778. Andreas Strüwig Andrew Straweck 22 Goslar 5'-11” Lutheran Prior military service in Prussia. Served in the Light Infantry from 25 Dec 1780. Captured October 1781 at Yorktown, never returned from captivity. Caspar Stütterodt Joseph Studroth, Jasper Hurdod, Stedroit, Studrode 18 Hesse-Darmstadt 5'-10” Lutheran Appointed corporal 26 July 1783. Discharged, received land grant in Nova Scotia October 1783. Philip Thies Phillip Hries 19 Palatinate 5'-10” Lutheran Killed in battle, Rhode Island, 29 August 1778. Georg Wagener George Wagner 37 Saxony 6'-1” Lutheran Prior service in Prussia. Grenadier company from 25 December 1777. Killed in battle, Monmouth, NJ, 28 June 1778. Hinrich Walbrandsteu John Henry Walbrandstru, John Hendrich, John Walbondshue 30 Hildesheim 5'-10” Lutheran Discharged 2 September 1783, and joined 54th Regiment. Was in a military prison in Canada in 1786 and 1787. Discharged 24 September 1791. Friederich Walter Frederick Walter 33 Saxony 6'-0” Lutheran Prior military service in Prussia. Deserted from Rhode Island 18 January 1778. August von Waltzdorf August DeWaltedorf 40 Saxony 6' 2" Lutheran Married, and brought his wife and two children to America. Prior military service in Prussia; sergeant when embarked in Germany in 1776. Appointed sergeant, 12 April 1777. Died 4 May 1778. Albrecht Warnecke Albright Warneck 17 Bremen 5'-10” Lutheran Appointed corporal 27 August 1779, and sergeant 29 December 1780. Translated for German soldiers at a court martial in Rhode Island, 1779. Deserted from New York, 4 June 1783. Gottlieb Ziedler Sudlier 22 Saxony 5'-9¼” Lutheran Captured at Connecticut Farms, NJ, 8 June 1780, and sent to Philadelphia. Repatriated 1783, discharged 16 February 1784.
The heights listed on the return are in “pieds” and “pouces.” There are several different versions of these measurements, but a discharge document for a soldier in the 17th Regiment that lists his height in feet and inches, matches the height listed on the return.4 We assume, then, that all of these measures are in feet and inches. The average height of these Germans is somewhat taller than that of the men of the 22nd Regiment who were inspected in May of 1774.5
Their ages, on the other hand, are consistent with those of British soldiers in the 22nd Regiment. It was quite common for men to be recruited in their late twenties or early thirties, and occasionally even older.
Fourteen men had prior military service. This puts an interesting perspective on the idea of these men being “recruits”; although they were new to the British Army, they were not new to the military, and presumably required less training than others. This, too, is consistent with information we have on recruits raised in the British Isles. Many of the men recruited for the American War had prior military service, sometimes dating back as far as the Seven Years’ War.
Muster rolls for the 22nd Regiment allow us to trace the service of these men for their entire careers in the British army. Although these rolls contain highly anglicized phonetic spellings of the names, they nonetheless also include the dates that the men joined and left the regiment, as well as changes to the companies to which they were assigned.6 Each of the forty German recruits is annotated as having joined the regiment on 16 May 1776, the day that they boarded transport ships in Germany. This is the date that their subsistence—payment for food, clothing, and related costs—was assumed by the regiment.
From Germany, the men sailed to Portsmouth, England, and there waited for the assembly of a convoy that would take them to America.7 They were issued “slop clothing”, inexpensive mass-produced garments; they would not receive uniforms until joining their regiments in America. Then they boarded transports again for the voyage to America, along with other recruits and drafts from Great Britain. An embarkation return dated Portsmouth, England, 1 June 1776, indicates that one German sergeant, one corporal, and twenty-five private men assigned to the 22nd Regiment were to sail on the transport ship Minerva, along with twenty-seven German recruits for the 4th Regiment of Foot.8 The remaining corporal and twelve men designated for the 22nd sailed on the Neptune transport, with eighty-one Germans assigned to the 5th and 23rd Regiments. The convoy, which included other recruits and drafts from Great Britain, arrived in New York around 20 October. Since the 22nd Regiment was in the New York area at this time, the new recruits were able to join their companies immediately even though they were "not yet armed or Clothed," and had been "very sickly during the passage."9 Recruits for regiments that were on campaign outside of the city went into barracks until later in the season.
The 22nd Regiment was typical in composition of the infantry regiments in Howe's army during the New York Campaign of 1776. Experienced soldiers had been transferred into the regiment's two flank companies, the grenadiers and light infantry, so that these companies were at full strength with seasoned soldiers. Men were then transferred among the eight battalion companies so that they were approximately equal in strength. In this way, each battalion company had a similar proportion of experienced and inexperienced soldiers. By the end of October 1776, when all of the new men from various sources had trickled in, the 22nd's eight battalion companies had the composition summarized in Table 3. German recruits made up nearly ten per cent of each company.
Table 3: Distribution of Recruits and Drafts in the Eight Battalion Companies of the 22nd Regiment of Foot, late October 1776
Company Total Strength German Recruits British Recruits British Drafts Colonel’s 56 4 (7%) 14 (25%) 5 (9%) Lt. Col. Campbell’s 57 6 (10%) 14 (25%) 2 (3%) Major French’s 56 5 (9%) 14 (25%) 4 (7%) Capt. Hillman’s 56 5 (9%) 15 (26%) 2 (3%) Capt. McDonald’s 54 5 (9%) 15 (27%) 5 (9%) Capt. Timpson’s 53 4 (8%) 14 (26%) 6 (11%) Capt. Brabazon’s 54 6 (11%) 12 (22%) 5 (9%) Capt. Handfield’s 57 5 (9%) 15 (26%) 4 (7%) Total 443 40 (9%) 113 (25%) 33 (7%)
We do not know to what extent, if any, language was a problem in integrating the new recruits with their regiment. It would seem logical to keep all of the German soldiers together, under the command of their own non-commissioned officers; in actual practice, however, the recruits were distributed evenly among the companies, which was the typical manner of incorporating any body of recruits into the regiment.10 Since British regiments regularly assimilated recruits from Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, they probably had experience in dealing with non-English-speaking recruits. In fact, it was not unusual to have a few Europeans serving in a British regiment; when the von Scheither men joined, the 22nd Regiment already had two native Germans who had been in the regiment for at least twelve years.11 We would expect that the German recruits, intermingled as they were with the British soldiers and commanded primarily by British officers and NCOs, would learn English quickly, but one of them required an interpreter when testifying at a court martial in September 1778, after two years with the regiment.12 On the other hand, another German recruit, Albrecht Warnecke, translated the testimony of German soldiers into English at a court martial in 1779.13
One of the German soldiers, August von Waltzdorf, was listed as a sergeant when he was recruited. In keeping with the von Scheither agreement, he was made a sergeant in the 22nd Regiment as soon as a vacancy was available; his appointment was dated 12 April 1777. We have no information to indicate whether von Waltzdorf spoke English. If he did not, his position of authority must have been difficult to hold.
Over time, the German recruits became completely integrated into the British regimental system, at least as far as their service and advancement was concerned. Their service records give no evidence whatsoever of discrimination or limited opportunities. Albrecht Warnecke, Joachim Heuer, Caspar Stütterodt, and Johann Fredrickan became corporals, and Heuer later became a sergeant. With only three corporals and three sergeants in each company, this represents an excellent proportion of advancement among the original forty men.14
Additionally, typical proportions of the men were transferred to the regiment’s specialized flank companies after they had had some experience in the regiment. Georg Wagener was assigned to the grenadier company in December 1777, as was Peter Dulcey in November 1780. Israel Schroder and Andreas Strüwig were sent to the light infantry, the former in December 1777 and the latter in December 1780. At least three of these four men had prior military service (and we do not know about Dulcey), this being consistent with the requirement that flank company soldiers be experienced, capable men.
German soldiers bore their share of the suffering. In the Battle of Monmouth, on 28 June 1778, eight men of the 22nd Regiment’s grenadier company were killed, Georg Wagener among them. The regiment's eight battalion companies suffered eleven killed in the Battle of Rhode Island on 29 August of the same year, including Philip Thies. Franz Scheppe may have been wounded in that battle as he was in the hospital two months later and was discharged in February 1779, usually an indication that the man's health was no longer adequate to serve as a soldier. The eighteen men of Captain Edward Handfield's company captured at Springfield, New Jersey in June 1780, included Gottlieb Ziedler, Simeon Pflug and Christian Nothnagel. The latter two died in captivity,15 and Ziedler was repatriated to New York in May 1783.
In addition to those captured at Springfield, five other men died for reasons that are not described in the pay lists; most likely their lives were taken by illness. Valentin Heimel and Johannes Fahnert died in Rhode Island in the first half of 1777. Sergeant August von Waltzdorf died there on 4 May 1778, as did Leonhard Schwartz on 14 Oct 1779, just eleven days before the British evacuated the place. Adam Ditmeyer died in New York in May 1780.
Desertion took more of the German soldiers from the regiment than did death from all causes. In total, eleven of them absconded and two others were captured attempting it. Israel Schroder deserted from the light company in New Jersey on 28 June 1778, the day of the Battle of Monmouth.16 Andreas Strüwig deserted while in captivity after the 22nd’s light company was surrendered with Cornwallis’ army at Yorktown; perhaps he was enticed by opportunities in America. Sebastian Schindwolf left the regiment in July 1782, while it was in the vicinity of New York City. Peter Dulcey of the grenadier company did the same in June 1783, along with six other men of his company. Roughly a third of the men who deserted from the 22nd Regiment during the war - 30 of 103 - deserted in 1783, after it was apparent that the British Army would leave America.17 The army seems to have tolerated these desertions, perhaps anticipating that the strength of the regiments was soon to be reduced anyway.
Seven of the German deserters "went off" from the garrison of Rhode Island, where the regiment stayed for nearly three years. The name Rhode Island was used for the largest island in Narragansett Bay, part of the present day state of Rhode Island, which includes the town of Newport. Histories of the American Revolution often ignore the three-year occupation of this island, considering only the abortive American siege of it in August 1778. The British soldiers garrisoned there, however, were on a front line where American soldiers waged a constant petit-guerre. Hostile parties came on to the island almost every night, sometimes to gather intelligence, sometimes to loot, sometimes to attempt to capture sentinels, and often simply to harass the garrison. They also provided opportunities for British soldiers to desert, and twenty-six men of the 22nd Regiment successfully made their way to the mainland in the course of the occupation, while a few others were captured attempting to do so.
In June 1777, the 22nd Regiment was encamped on Windmill Hill, today called Butt's Hill, at the northern end of the island. This hill overlooks two parts of the island that are close to the mainland, and the troops encamped there manned a series of small redoubts and guard posts near the shore. On the night of 2-3 June, Christoph Reinecke, Johann Berner, and Christoph Köppler deserted, probably by making their way in front of one of the posts in the dark of night. They were the only British deserters that night, and Berner and Köppler served in the same company, so it is likely that they went off together, although no details of their departure are known at this time. This particular night was cloudy,18 and since American boats probed near the shore and frequently landed scouting parties in the darkness, it was an easy matter to join with one of them and slip away to the mainland. On 7 June, the Providence Gazette reported that "…four Soldiers (3 of them foreigners) one Marine and 3 seamen, have deserted from the Enemy at Rhode Island, and arrived here." On the nights of 10, 12 and 13 June, American troops attacked posts manned by the 22nd and 54th Regiments, killing one man of the former and two of the latter. A British officer suspected that the Americans "were certainly conducted by some persons who were perfectly well acquainted with the ground and the situation of the post."19 We can only speculate whether one of the German deserters was involved in the American raids.
During the winter of 1777-1778, the regiments in the Rhode Island garrison were quartered in Newport, with one regiment each month stationed at the cold northern posts. January 1778 was the 22nd Regiment's turn on this station, and three soldiers took advantage of the close proximity to the mainland to abscond from the service. Friederich Walter deserted alone on the night of 18-19 January, perhaps following the example of two British soldiers a week earlier. By July 1778, the garrison was encamped again, distributed around the island; on the first of the month, the 22nd Regiment again held the northern posts. Once again, one of the German recruits, Anton Scherf, made his way off the island. While we have no specific information on his desertion, he most likely used the same method that several of his comrades, both British and German, had used during the course of the previous year.
The following month presented an entirely new kind of opportunity for soldiers with a mind to illicitly leave the service. An American army, supported by a large French naval force, attempted to dispossess the British of the island. To better defend the place, the British withdrew their forces from the northern part of the island into works that they had erected around Newport. The Americans occupied the northern part of the island, and built works to oppose those of the British. For three weeks the armies faced each other, improving their works, cannonading, reconnoitering, and anxiously awaiting the outcome of an imminent engagement between French and British naval forces. During this time, many deserters from each army managed to cross the lines, including Franciscus Rabunau and Adam Sell on successive nights. Whether they were motivated by a desire to settle in America, a fear that they would lose the impending battle, or other reasons, is unknown. In the end, it was the weather that decided the affair—a hurricane scattered and damaged the fleets, and the American army withdrew at the end of the month, unable to attempt an assault without naval support.
More interesting than those who deserted successfully are the two German soldiers of the 22nd Regiment who were arrested and charged with desertion. Transcripts of their court martial trials survive and provide some details on the individual soldiers and their situations. The first of these two men, Hubert Römer, was tried on 14 September 1778 for attempting to desert on the night of 13-14 August while the regiment was serving on the lines facing the besieging American army. Since two other soldiers of the regiment had deserted that night, the charges were perhaps well founded. It is interesting that Römer's testimony was interpreted by Sergant Cling of the 54th Regiment, another von Scheither recruit. One witness testified:
John William Brown, Grenadier in the Anspach Regiment of Voit, being duly sworn deposes, (the same being interpreted to the Court) that being Sentry on the outside of the Abattees, about ten o'clock one night, he heard a noise in front of him, on which he Challenged, but receiving no reply fired, when the prisoner called out to him, and the other Soldier who was posted with him and desired them not to fire again, as he was coming in to them, that he then came up to them and said, he had lost his way, and appeared to be in liquor, but desired them to take him to the Regiment.20
Römer had managed to get in front of the abatis, a type of fortification consisting of felled trees with sharpened limbs placed in front of earthworks or other fortifications. In the mean time, his absence from the 22nd Regiment's encampment was noticed, and an inspection by his sergeant revealed that three of his shirts and two pair of stockings were missing. In his defense, Römer testified that he was indeed "in Liquor when he went from his Tent, and had no design to Desert the Regiment." The fact that Römer was obviously drunk when he was taken, and offered no resistance, were favorable circumstances in persuading the court that he was genuinely lost, rather than attempting to abscond. On the other hand, soldiers attempting to desert often took extra clothing with them, and so the missing shirts and stockings were incriminating. It is unusual that no testimony was given about where the clothing was ultimately found. The court found Römer innocent, a surprising verdict considering that soldiers who were absent for any reason were often convicted of desertion. Perhaps the fact that Römer had always previously behaved himself well influenced the court.
On 2 December 1779, the regiment was encamped on Long Island. Christian Depner was a member of the rear guard, a group of soldiers posted at the rear of an encampment. Sometime around 10:00 A.M., it was noticed that he was missing. Another soldier was put on guard in his place, and it was readily determined that Depner had not taken his arms and accoutrements with him, which a deserting soldier might do in order to sell them. Four days later Depner was brought back to the encampment by soldiers of the regiment’s grenadier company, but he was not brought to trial for desertion until 11 March 1780. Depner testified that he had gotten drunk and wandered off, and did not return because he was afraid of punishment. These were common alibis, and did not draw sympathy from the court; Depner was found guilty and sentenced to receive “one thousand lashes on his bare back, with Cats of nine Tails.”21 It is not known whether the full sentence was carried out, but Depner was discharged from the service on 24 December 1780, suggesting that he was no longer healthy enough for active service. We can only wonder whether his discharge was a direct result of his punishment.
Depner’s discharge from the 22nd Regiment did not mark the end of his military service. He was put into a corps called the Royal Garrison Battalion, formed of soldiers who were no longer fit for campaiging but who could still offer service in forts and garrisons. He served in this capacity on Long Island in 1780 and 1781, but does not appear on any roll after 14 July 1781. On that roll he is annotated as being “prisoner in New York”, indicating that he was under arrest for another crime. His ultimate fate is unknown.22
Franz Frölich was also sent to the Royal Garrison Battalion after his discharge in 1782. Detachments of the battalion served in New York, Charleston and Halifax, as well as in New Providence and Bermuda. Frölich was assigned to Captain William Brown's company, which embarked at New York aboard the Bromley transport on 31 December and sailed for Bermuda the next day. He was still present for duty there when the last surviving rolls for the company were prepared in October 1783. His ultimate fate is unknown.23
At the end of the war, the established strength of British regiments in America was reduced. Substantial numbers of men were discharged and allowed to settle in Canada, while others returned to Europe. Fourteen German soldiers of the 22nd Regiment were discharged before the unit departed from America at the end of October 1783, and the remaining three were discharged between December 1783 and the first two months of 1784.24 This was not, however, the end of military service for some of the German recruits.
Although there was a general reduction in the size of the British army, regiments that were to remain on service in Canada were brought up to full strength. (The newly established strength of a regiment, however, was reduced from its wartime level.) Many British soldiers who were discharged in America immediately re-enlisted into regiments that were sent to Canada. At least sixty-nine men from the 22nd Regiment did so, including four of the original von Scheither recruits. Wolfgang Franke joined the 17th Regiment, which was bound for Halifax, Nova Scotia. He deserted from there on 24 October 1787.25 Mattias Chatinque, Joachim Heuer and Hinrich Walbrandsteu joined the 54th Regiment, which also went to Nova Scotia. Chatinque and Heuer died in the service on 26 June 1787 and 26 May 1789, respectively, the latter having served as a sergeant in the 54th. After having been imprisoned for an unknown offense in 1786 and 1787, Walbrandsteu was discharged on 24 September 1791.26
In general, British army veterans had an excellent chance of receiving compensation for their service in the form of either a land grant or a pension. Seventy-five men of the 22nd Regiment are known to have taken land grants in Nova Scotia after their discharge in late 1783. Christopher Amon, Isodor Beyer, Hinrich Bingschmidt, Johannes Bormann, Georg Reibmann, Hubert Römer, and Caspar Stütterodt were among hundreds of British soldiers who landed in Shelburne, Nova Scotia and settled in various places over the next few years.
Hubert Römer to Prince Edward Island in 1785, where he received a grant of 100 acres on the Pinette River.20 His name is alternatively cited as “Herbert Ryan” and “Hubertus Rymer.” Römer’s attempt at working his land must have gone poorly since, on 24 July 1789, he was given a new discharge from the 22nd Regiment at Dover Castle in England, receiving an out pension from Chelsea Hospital on 5 August.28 Out pensions were granted to men whose military service had rendered them unable to earn a living. Apparently, Römer had traveled from Nova Scotia to England, made his way to Dover to obtain a new copy of his discharge, and then went to London to present his case to the pension board. The reason for his discharge is given as “rheumatism.” Instead of signing his name on the document, he marked it with an X.
At this writing, this is all that is known of the forty German recruits who wore the red coats of the 22nd Regiment of Foot during the American Revolution. It is possible that a few others saw additional service in the British army, while some of the deserters and discharged men may have settled in America. Some, of course, must have returned to Germany, having made their own small contributions to the service of a foreign nation in a foreign war.
1. WO 4/98 p. 439-440, The National Archives, Kew. All other WO series documents cited are from The National Archives.
2. WO 43/405.
3. Soldiers’ wives and children often accompanied British regiments on foreign service. See the author’s article on this subject.
4. Discharge of Peter Fetherham, WO 121/61/14.
5. The 1774 inspection return for the 22nd Regiment of Foot is in WO 27/27. Among other data, it gives the heights and ages of the soldiers. No inspection returns are known to exist for the years that the regiment was in America, 1775 through 1783.
6. Returns for the 22nd Regiment of Foot, WO 12/3871. Fortunately, the von Scheither recruits are clearly annotated as "German Recruits" on these documents.
7. WO 4/88 p. 439-440.
8. Embarkation Return of 402 German Recruits. PRO 30/55 p. 200. Microfilm in The David Library of the American Revolution, Washington Crossing, PA.
9. Entry of 22 October 1776. Frederick MacKenzie, Diary of Frederick Mackenzie (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1930), I, 84 (hereafter cited as Mackenzie).
10. Not all British regiments distributed their German recruits in this manner. The 17th Regiment of Foot put all of the German recruits into a single company, that commanded by the lieutenant colonel. Orderly book of the 17th Regiment of Foot, 11 Oct – 28 Dec 1776. New-York Historical Society.
11. Anthony File was from Frankfurt, and was discharged from the 22nd Regiment in 1778 with twenty-two years of service. James Barkman, from an unspecified location in Germany, was discharged in 1783 after twenty years of service. Both men had been in the 22nd Regiment since before 1773, and both received pensions. WO 120/ 12, WO 121/145/172.
12. WO 71/87 p. 241-243.
13. WO 71/90 p. 26-24.
14. There is evidence that things did not go smoothly in all regiments. On 6 May 1777, in response to frequent desertion, the German recruits of the 17th, 40th, 46th and 55th Regiments were ordered to be locked up together at 8:00 P.M. and not released until reveille, that rolls be called every hour during the day, and that their spare clothing be held by their non-commissioned officers. They were also forbidden to visit the Waldeck Regiment, which was serving in the vicinity. These regiments were in New Jersey at the time. British Orderly Book, 40th Regiment of Foot, George Washington Papers, series 6B, vol. 1, reel 117.
15. The dates of death or desertion of men who were in captivity are probably not exact, but instead reflect the date that their regiment learned of their fate. We expect, then, that Nothnagel and Pflug died some time after their capture on 8 June 1780 and before 24 April 1781, when their deaths are recorded.
16. He probably deserted during the night of 27-28 June, but may have deserted during the actual fighting. It was not unusual for captured men to be reported as deserters until it was known for certain that they were prisoners of war, but we have no such confirmation for Schroder.
17. An additional thirteen men are listed as deserters because they did not return from captivity. All of these men are recorded as having deserted on 30 June 1783, even though their actual fate was unknown.
18. "Journal of the HMS Orpheus, Captain Charles Hudson," entry of 2 June 1777, William J. Morgan, ed., Naval Documents of the American Revolution, v. 9. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1986), p. 11-12.
19. Entry of 11 June 1777. Mackenzie, I, 139.
20. WO 71/87 p. 241-243. All subsequent information on Römer’s trial is from this document. Comparisons with other trials are based on extensive study of the court martial proceedings held in WO 71.
21. WO 71/91 p. 239-242.
22. Muster Roll of a Detachment of the Garrison Battalion. RG 8, C Series Vol. 1873 p. 5, National Archives of Canada.
23. Muster rolls, Royal Garrison Battalion, WO 12/10722.
24. The discharge dates given in WO 12 are the dates through which men were paid, not the dates that they actually left the regiment. It was common for men to receive a few weeks’ pay to subsist them on their travel to wherever they were going to settle. For example, men who took land grant in Canada sailed from New York at the end of September, but were paid through 24 October, so the latter is the discharge date reported in WO 12.
25. Muster rolls, 17th Regiment, WO 12/3407.
26. Muster rolls, 54th Regiment, WO 12/6399.
27. Ward Chipman Papers, MG 23, D1, series 1, v. 24, p. 154-156, National Archives of Canada. Muster Roll of Disbanded Officers, Discharged & Disbanded Soldiers with their respective families that are settled and preparing to settle in the Island of Saint John. www.islandregister.com/spring1785.html.
28. WO 121/6/311.