American Revolution Strength Returns for 1777 in the New York Public Library Digital Collection.

August 23, 2016

1st NH Return

While doing a bit of Google-Fu on the Internet, I found that there were several strength returns for American units in the 1777 Northern Campaign among the New York Public Library’s Digital Collection. I have never seen most of these referenced in a secondary source, so they were quite a find. Here are the ones that I could find:

John Ashley’s (1st Berkshire Massachusetts) Militia Regiment (July 1777): (This is a very rare militia unit strength return)

1st New Hampshire Regiment (July 1777):

3rd New Hampshire Regiment (July 1777):

Nixon’s (Massachusetts) Regiment (July 1777):

Brewer’s (Massachusetts) Regiment (July 1777):

Marshall’s (Massachusetts) Regiment (July 1777):

Alden’s (Massachusetts) Regiment (July 1777):

Bailey’s (Massachusetts) Regiment (July 1777):

Learned’s Brigade (July 1777):

(the first regiment is van Schaick’s 1st New York Regiment – the writing is not very clear, but the comments below make it clear as to which unit it is as van Schaick had been sent to Tyron County to raise the militia.)

Schuyler army-level return (July 1777):

Gates army-level return (October 1777):

American Casualties at First Saratoga (September 1777):


Research on Brunswick and Hesse-Hanau forces with Burgoyne in 1777

February 15, 2015

While doing other research (for a dissertation) in London, I did a bit of side research on the American Revolution; primarily I looked for orders of battle and other related material. I realized that I have a lot of this sitting on my computer, and that it might be interesting and useful to others, so I have decided to post some of the material on my blog. The first document I will publish includes order of battle material for the Brunswick and Hesse-Hanau forces that were with Burgoyne’s army in 1777.

Click here for the file: Research on Brunswick and Hesse-Hanau forces with Burgoyne in 1777

von Barner Battalion and Bennington and Casualties

May 12, 2014

I posted this on The Miniatures Page, but I suspect it will be easier for other people to find if I also post it here as well.

von Barner’s Battalion, Casualties during the 1777 campaign.

The battalion started with 483 total fit (July 1 return). On July 21 they received a further 65 reinforcements, giving them a total of 548 men. Additionally the battalion had 81 men “on command”, that is detached in Canada as a cadre. Thus by June 21, the battalion had on its musters at least 629 men. By September 1, the battalion had 283 total fit with a further 13 sick present and 159 in Canada. The 78 additional men in Canada were probably sick and wounded evacuated there. On September 1, we can account for 455 men. So what happened to the other 174 men?

Most of these men were lost at Bennington. The 59 men who marched with Baum lost a total of 57 men; 2 men escaped and later rejoined their battalion. The other 57 were killed or captured (including many wounded). The elements of Barner’s Battalion that marched with Breymann started with 288 men. They lost 102 men (1 killed, 35 wounded, and 66 missing). Thus the total lost for the Barner Battalion at Bennington was up to 159 men with 124 men clearly lost (the wounded with Breymann excluded). That accounts for all but 50 of the men the battalion lost between July 1 and September 1. The other 50 were probably casualties of smaller engagements or died of disease.

However, the strength of 283 men fit and present and 13 sick and present (total of 296) with Burgyone on September 1 shows that the Barner Battalion was not fully destroyed at Bennington. Also of the 548 men of the battalion who went into New York in July, only 347 were present at the battle. Up to 201 (minus casualties between July 1 and August 15) were present with Burgoyne’s main body. Given that each company numbered around 100 men; I suspect that at least one company did not go on raid on Bennington and probably remained with the rest of the Brunswick troops under Riedesel. As to the rest of the jaegers, Breymann does report that the jaeger company was with him, but some detachment of them many have remained with Burgoyne as clearly the entire Barner Battalion was not with Breymann or Baum.

As to Lieutenant Hagemann, who was a casualty at Bennington and thus some think he commanded a company of jaegers with Baum, Breymann sent him on August 15 with a message to inform Baum of Breymann’s location. Breymann reported that he received a reply from Baum on the morning of the 16th. So that means (at least to me) that Hagemann was with Breymann’s force rather than commanding a company or detachment with Baum’s force.

There is a lot of information about this in the Riedesel Journal which can be found online; search Riedesel Journal in Google books and you will find it.

Notes on the Brunswick Troops at Bennington

May 12, 2014

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.

Bennington Order of Battle (August 16, 1777)

May 11, 2014

Click on the link below for my order of battle for the Battle of Bennington (August 16, 1777). I tried to paste the text here but alas the WordPress blog won’t let me put in the proper indentions. I’ve used about 30 sources to complete this order of battle, but I somehow forgot to write all of them down!

Bennington Aug 1777

(Note I revised the above order of battle on May 12 based on feedback I got from The Miniatures Page)