A Hessian Officer's Diary of the American Revolution Translated From An Anonymous Ansbach-Bayreuth Diary and The Prechtel Diary


This volume contains translations of two versions of the Revolutionary War diary of Johann Ernst Prechtel: the first from the "original" document, and the second from an author-revised later version. Both are included here "to provide an easily comparable contrast between entries made spontaneously and those rewritten, eliminated, or expanded, when the author meant the contents to be read by other individuals." Probably a career soldier, Prechtel was a first sergeant and later a lieutenant in the Ansbach Regiment of the Ansbach-Bayreuth contingent of Germans known as "Hessians" whom England hired to suppress uprisings in the revolution-minded American colonies. His diary, with entries dating from 1777 to 1783, offers valuable descriptions of his experiences and tremendous insight into the war, the military and its procedures, and the places Prechtel toured in America.

The diary is a straightforward and clear record of this soldier's day-to-day life as he traveled up and down the East Coast with fellow officers, moving from New York to Philadelphia to Rhode Island, as well as through Virginia, Maryland, and more. Of particular interest are the lists of officers, promotions and punishments, and times and places of deaths and desertions which Prechtel carefully logged. Also included are period maps and illustrations. Containing a goldmine of information and an unparalleled portrait of the life and times of "A Hessian Officer," this text is not one to be ignored. Mr. Burgoyne is a recipient of the Benjamin Franklin Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Revolution Roundtable of Philadelphia.

Bruce E. Burgoyne

(1994), 2008, 5½x8½, index, 346 pp.

ISBN: 9780788401077