Notes on the Brunswick Troops at Bennington

I was asked on The Miniatures Page about where the jaegers were at the Battle of Bennington. It seems that 20 were detached to Baum’s force along with the Grenadier and Chasseur (detachments from line regiments) detachment. I have updated the Bennington order of battle (see other post) to reflect that. Here is Breymann’s Report that details the inclusion of 20 jaegers with Baum:


At eight o clock on the morning of the 15th of August, I received orders from his excellency, General Burgoyne, by his adjutant Captain Clark, to start at once with the corps, consisting of the company of jagers, a battalion of chasseurs and grenadiers and two cannon, and reinforce the corps of Lieutenant Colonel Baum. I started, therefore, at 9 o clock ; and there not being any teams, I had two ammunition boxes placed upon the artillery wagons. Each soldier carried with him forty cartridges. The crossing of the Battenkill consumed considerable time, for the men had all to wade through the water. The great number of hills, the bottomless roads, and a severe and continuous rain, made the march so tedious that I could scarcely make one-half of an English mile an hour. The cannons and the ammunition wagons had to be drawn up hill one after the other. All this, of course, impeded our march very much ; and I was unable to hasten it notwithstanding all of my endeavors. The carts loaded with ammunition upset, and it caused considerable trouble to right them.

To this, also, was added another difficulty. The guide, whom we had, lost the way and could not find it again. At last, Major Earner found a man who put us back on the right path.

All these unexpected mishaps prevented me from marching on the enemy on the 15th, as far as Cambridge, and, I, therefore, found myself obliged to encamp seven miles this side of that place.

Before reaching that place, however, I wrote to Lieutenant Colonel Baum notifying him of my arrival, and sent Lieutenant Hagcmann with the dispatch. Lieutenant Colonel Baum received this note at eleven o clock at night ; and I received his answer on the following morning.

Early on the morning of the 16th, I set out, but the artillery horses being very weak, in consequence of their not having been fed, the march progressed very slowly.

Major Earner was obliged to go ahead with the advance guard in order to procure horses and carts. These reached us before noon, and we at once made use of them. The march was then continued with as much haste as possible beyond Cambridge, where I was forced to halt half an hour to collect the columns.

Toward two in the afternoon, Colonel Skeene sent two men to me with the request that I would detach one officer and twenty men to occupy the mill at St. Coyk, as the rebels showed signs of advancing on it. Instead of sending these men as he desired, I dispatched Captain Gleisenberg ahead with the advance guard, consisting of sixty grenadiers and chasseurs and twenty jagers. I followed as quickly as possible with the rest. Some of the ammunition carts again broke down on the road.

I reached the mill at St. Coyk at half-past four o clock in the afternoon, and found the advance guard, which had been sent on ahead, in that place undisturbed. I candidly confess, that I did not hear a cannon or a musket shot either while on the march or in the mill.

Colonel Skeene was also at the mill. He informed me that the corps of Colonel Baum as only two miles distant. I supposed, therefore, that I could not do better than to hasten to meet it. Colonel Skeene was of the same opinion, and we both marched over the bridge in order to reach the camp of Baum, being as yet unaware that his fate was already sealed. If Colonel Skeene was acquainted with that fact at this time, then I cannot imagine what could have induced him to keep it from me; for, in such a case, I certainly would not have risked an engagement.

I was scarcely 600 paces from the bridge when I noticed through the woods a considerable number of armed men (some of whom wore blouses and some jackets), hastening toward an eminence on my left flank. I called Colonel Skeene s attention to it, and received from him the reply, that these men were royalists. But upon his riding up toward them and calling to them, the matter was soon explained, for instead of returning an answer, they fired upon us. I, thereupon ordered the battalion Barner to move toward the height, while the jagers and grenadiers advanced on the right. The engagement now commenced, and lasted until nearly eight o clock.

The cannon were posted on a road where there was a log house. This we fired upon as it was occupied by the rebels. This drove them out, and we then repulsed them on all sides, and this too, not withstanding they received reinforcements.

The troops did their duty, and I know of no one who doubts this fact After our ammunition was all expended, and the artillery in consequence ceased firing, nothing was more natural than to suppose that the enemy would be encouraged to renew his attack. Under this supposition I hastened, with a number of men, to the cannon in order to take them away. By this movement most of my men were severely wounded. The horses either were dead or in a condition which prevented them moving from the spot. In order, therefore, not to risk anything (as I was unable to return the enemy s fire, my ammunition being exhausted), I retreated on the approach of darkness, destroyed the bridge, had as many of the wounded as possible brought thither that they might not be captured, and, after a lapse of half an hour in company with Colonel Skeene, pursued my march and reached Cambridge toward twelve o clock at night. Here, after taking precautionary measures, I remained during that night, and marched thence at daybreak of the 17th of August to the camp.

This is all that I am able to report concerning the affair of the 16th of August. The loss of the two cannon pains me most. I did my best to save them, but the above named circumstances and the want of ammunition rendered it impossible to retake them from under the fire of the enemy s muskets, although I would willingly have done it even at the loss of my life.

Your most obedient,

In camp at Saratoga, August 20, 1777. BREYMANN.


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