Most Illustrious Hereditary Prince


Letters to Their Prince from Members of Hesse-Hanau Military Contingent in the Service of England During the American Revolution

Letters (1776–1783) from twenty-six men, most of them officers of the Hesse-Hanau Hereditary Prince Regiment, have been translated from the German into English by Mr. Burgoyne. The prince of the title was the Count of Hanau. He ruled over Hesse-Hanau on the Rhine River and sent a total of 2,257 men to support the English war effort in North America. (He would later become Wilhelm IX, Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel, upon the death of his father.) Most of these letters serve as reports on the troops’ activities and situations such as food supply problems, deserters and their punishments, illnesses, recommendations for commendation of exemplary service, deaths, the conditions at encampment locations, pay issues, and the like. Interesting for the direct information they contain, the letters also serve as a window into the correspondence conventions of the time; the letters are addressed to the Most Illustrious Hereditary Prince, Gracious Sovereign and Lord; are signed by each “Most humble servant;” and the writers generally “lay themselves at Your Highness’ feet” in an effort to remain in their prince’s good graces, especially if they must convey unwelcome news.

Mr. Burgoyne is a recipient of the Benjamin Franklin Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Revolution Roundtable of Philadelphia.

Bruce E. Burgoyne

2003, 5½x8½, paper, index, 196 pp.

ISBN: 9780788423758