Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The Storming of Frankfurt by the Hessians in 1792


Owing to scarce existing sources written in the English language about the German interpretations of the Campaigns of 1792 in the French Revolutionary Wars, these translated works from Maximilian Joseph Carl von Ditfurth’s “Die Erstürmung von Frankfurt durch die Hessen am 2. Dezember 1792.” and Georg Ludwig Kriegk’s “Cüstine und die Erstürmung Frankfurt's am Main durch die Hessen im Jahre 1792,”offers a detailed and informative account on the storming of Frankfurt am Main while under the occupation of the forces of the French General Custine. This a high interest book for those interested in historical accounts written about those military conflicts and offers a feel of intimate and true record of the exploits of these patriotic warriors.

Available for purchase on Amazon.com

(Color Paperback)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1074341457

(Black & White Paperback)

(Kindle)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07T45ZGCS

Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Kurhessische Leibgarde Regiment


This translated and edited work of Maximilian von Ditfurth “Das Kurhessische Leibgarde-Regiment. Eine geschichtliche Skizze,” deals with the origins a of the old Hessian Guard Regiment, from whose units the Kurhessische Leibgarde-Regiment was finally formed, as it existed in 1866 before the annexation of the Kurstaates. It also unfolds to the reader in a captivating and striking manner, in individual vignettes, from various epochs of war, in numerous battles and combats, to the impressive weapons of the Hessian guard regiments in European and non-European theaters of war.

Available for purchase on Amazon.com
(Kindle)




The Hessian Light Troops in the Campaign of 1793 on the Upper Rhine


Owing to scarce existing sources written in the English language about the German interpretations of the Rhine Campaigns of the French Revolutionary Wars, this translated work from August von Baumbach‘s “Die Hessischen Leichten Truppen im Feldzug von 1793 am Oberrhein: nach Tagebüchern und andern Quellen” offers a detailed and informative account of several elite Hessian fighting units; the Hussar Regiment, the Jäger Corps, and the Light Infantry Battalion Lenz. This is a high interest book for those interested in historical accounts written in diary form and offers a feel of intimate and true record of the exploits of these highly distinguished cavalrymen.

Available for purchase on Amazon.com

(Color Paperback)

(Black & White Paperback)
https://www.amazon.com/Hessian-Light-Troops-Campaign-Upper/dp/107131503X

(Kindle)
https://www.amazon.com/Hessian-Light-Troops-Campaign-Upper-ebook/dp/B07RZMGW5W


Saturday, June 1, 2019

Memories from the Campaigns of 1792 and 1793


Friedrich Wilhelm von Loßberg

Zeitschrift für Kunst, Wissenschaft, und Geschichte des Krieges
(Journal of Art, Science, and History of the War)
Volumes 66-73



(Excerpt from Vol. 71)

     The removal of Mainz gave the war a completely different form, by forcing the allied army, returned from France, to take the offensive again immediately, in order to throw the enemy back on the left bank of the Rhine, as we only then besieged Mainz, which, in the happiest case, was no longer feasible in the current year.

     But before I share, as we came at last, and what a glorious portion the Hessians, especially the Guards Grenadier Regiment, took part in the events, a few more words about how it was possible for such a significant fortress as Mainz to do so could quickly fall into enemy hands, how little Custine has used this unexpected stroke of luck, and why we moved so heavily to become masters of the right bank of the Rhine, with the exception of Cassel - the bridgehead of Mainz.

     The fact that the Prussians and we, having only the conquest of Paris in mind, penetrated as far as St. Menehould and Clermont without proper flank cover in Brabant and on the Upper Rhine, also meant that a French army arrived in Mainz without significant resistance , could proceed.  Meanwhile, under Prince Esterházy, 12,000 to 15,000 Austrians in the Breisgau region and about 4,000 emigres on the right, as well as 7,000 Austrians under General Erbach, stood between the Saar and the Moselle Rivers; in between, however, were only 3,000 men under the Mainz Colonel Winkelmann in the city of Speier, issued in neutral territory to cover the same magazine.

     But this neutrality was not disputed by the French General Custine, who was at Landau with 18,000 men. Informed by the weakness of the Winkelmann corps, the latter advanced, with the approval of the French Directory, for Winkelmann to retreat to the Rhine, and compelled this corps to capitulate on the left bank, opposite the village of Rheinhausen:  not to serve against France within a year. After completing this task, Custine returned back to Landau on the mere rumor that an Austrian corps was advancing against him. 

     Winkelmann had bravely defended himself in Speier, which brought about both the capture of his corps as well as the loss of the magazine by being able to supply one as well as the other to Mainz, as a result of which the garrison there had 3,000 more soldiers, he, as the leader of this force, could have had a strong say in the measures of defense to be taken, and his bravura would have found a proper sphere of action.  As an excuse, Winkelmann found that he had brought ships together on the Rhine, which, however, sailed off the cannon shot that had fallen on the first bet, with no guard at hand. Probably Winkelmann had also assumed that Custine would respect neutrality, and it is now to be astonished at the partiality that a war of leading parties could lay a magazine on neutral ground and assume that the opponent would respect such neutrality.

     It was not until 16 October that Custine set out from Landau, after several inhabitants of the Rhine district (chiefly from Mainz, where Jacobin clubs had already been secretly formed) had come to him, assuring him that it was only his Appearance needed to seize this fortress. Success taught that he had not been deceived.  The 19th met Custine before Mainz, the 20th he made some cannon shots against the outer work of the fortress, the 21st were opened the negotiations and the 22nd handed him the decrepit Mainz Governor Gyming the place against free withdrawal of the 3000 -strong garrison ; a crew that would not have had enough to withstand a regular attack, but was quite sufficient to protect the fort against the first attempt, especially since Custine was no more than 8,000 strong because of detachments to Kreuznach. 

     In the council of war before the surrender, the engineer-major Eickemeyer, who had the full confidence of the governor but was at the head of all the Jacobin Clubs in Mainz, declared that the fortress could not last twenty-four hours; Just defend you city bombardment and a storm without being able to prevent the conquest. A part of the garrison, 1100 Austrians under their brave Captain Adujar - they were scattered from the corps to Speier, as well as recruits and convalescents, excluded himself from this surrender by leaving the city with pulling back to Frankfurt.  If only he had the strength to violently resist the shameful delivery of the fortress.  The remainder of the garrison consisted of Circle Troops. 

     But why, after Custine had carried out his business against Speier, did not the Austrian corps under Esterházy from the Breisgau, or that of General Erbach, which stood between the Moselle and the Saar, come hurrying to save Mainz, and why by no means? The neighboring German princes, even without an invitation to do so, who thereby most assuredly covered their own country, could also assume that they would soon be able to obtain the troops they had used again by the offensive movement of the army returning from France incomprehensible; but the non-temporal matter, which is only able to think to some extent of the then frail German Reich and its military constitution, and which is not my purpose to describe in detail, will soon come back from his astonishment, but at the same time to the conviction that both the constitution of the military and the German army The lack of public spirit in particular also affects the many princes of Germany, who have brought about the humiliation of this nation, which only after a long disgrace and oppression has become conscientious in its power, and now stands stronger than ever before.

     May the image of that unhappy time of the powerlessness, selfishness, and fragmentation of the powers caused by the German Empire always hover over all princes, so that they never forget where the poor defenses and the early disunity of the princes led this country with its powerful inhabitants.  The only prince, who at that time probably could have decided to strengthen the garrison of Mainz, was Landgrave Wilhelm IX. But he was at that time with his army corps in the position at Clermont.

     Custine soon showed that, as a general, he did not deserve the good fortune of having in such a light manner the fortress of Mainz, which was so important to Germany, in his hands, the importance of which was so greatly increased that it depended only on him From this point on he would have to throw himself on the line of retreat of the Prussian army returning from France, by demanding no more difficulty in taking away Koblenz and Ehrenbreitstein, to which he had even been requested by a deputation of the Koblenz magistrate, than that of Mainz would have found as soon as he had acted quickly.  In consequence of this, that army would have been forced to cross the Rhine near Cologne, which would probably have had the further consequence in the methodical conduct of the war, that the French were partly in possession of the right bank of the Rhine and Main during the winter from 1792 to 1793.  Considering that the surrender of Mainz had already been signed on the 21st of October, Custine was sure of the surrender of the fortress on that day, and that on the same day there was a detachment of his army corps close by the Nahe River near Bingen.  Finally the first Hessian infantry arrived late in the evening on the 26th of October at Koblenz, there is no doubt that Custine, if he was supported by a proper general, would have acted with determination, this one so important for the whole war could see earlier than we did.  At Koblenz and Ehrenbreitstein, before our arrival, there were only a few Trier Circle Troops, among them a few artillerymen, who occupied themselves with making cartridges, for which we also had to use the fourth part of our service during our stay. 

     The fear that Custine would be stopped to punish the city Koblenz for accepting the emigrants before the opening of the campaign in Champagne had led the magistrate to ask him for protection, while at the same time offering to offer to pay a considerable contribution, which may serve as a proof of what was said earlier, and how it was then in Germany.  Mainly contributed to this by the many spiritual states, whose subjects could have no love for their princes, and still fewer for the general German fatherland, by princes chosen for their lifetime, with few exceptions, only for their own enrichment, thought as well as for their next relatives, while the latter sought to profit as much as possible from the circumstance that one of their family wore the archiepiscopal sovereign prince hat.

     Custine, however, wasted his time in having a look at Frankfurt, taking possession of the salt-works of Nauheim (where, after brave resistance, a Hessian command of two officers and ninety men, commanded by Capitan Mondorf1)  of the regiment. Lossberg, captured), as everywhere in the neighborhood to pay out contributions to Weilburg and Limburg.  How much he feared serious resistance, which was probably a main reason why he did not approach the returning allied army, is also clear from the fact that he dared not attack Hanau, an insignificantly fortified city, in which only two Hessian, 1,100 men strong, infantry battalions under the governor General Lieutenant von Kospoth was in garrison, who had unconditionally carried out the command of his prince (who at that time had returned from France, back to Cassel) by courage and perseverance to see what he lacked in defenses.

     To him who is involved in the methodical warfare of that time, it cannot seem conspicuous that, after the arrival of the Prussian army at Koblenz, we needed 6 weeks to get Frankfurt back into possession. If, at present, an army were in a similar situation, it would, as much as possible, after a necessary eight-day rest, proceed from Koblenz via Wiesbaden to Hochheim, by doing good or by force, or by way of requisition against subsequent payment would take what they needed to their maintenance.  But at that time people did not think so, and I am firmly convinced that no one in all the different headquarters had conceived such a thought; for in the campaign, therefore, a correction was made to such an extent that one had proceeded to look for military wrongful grunts, but that, though the two cases had nothing in common, would have been an incomprehensible idea, to which one was all the less when the army returned from Champagne seemed too fatigued, and no preparations had been made to supply the troops.

     The offensive movement was finally decided and advanced there according to all the rules of the art of war. To the end, the army stood behind the Lahn River, the base of operations (at Limburg and Weilburg that of the Duke, as united with the Hessen and Prussian Army Corps under General’s Kalkreuth and Biesenrodt in the position known from the Seven Years War in Krusdorf).  We then slowly advanced into several columns, and indeed the wing columns on the two sides, which united at Frankfurt (until then less resistance, as was foreseen) in the apex of the triangle.  Frankfurt was defended by the French because the duke's army advancing over Limburg and Homburg did not threaten the retreat line of the garrison to Hochst, otherwise this would probably have been earlier, especially in the case of a movement from the city Hanau to Sachsenhausen.

    No shot would have fallen at Frankfurt when the Prussian army marched over Nastadt and Wiesbaden; and Custine, who boasted only where there was no serious resistance, would not have dared to fight against the army, which was maddening by Wiesbaden, and which could only have been desired by Prussian side, for all the army detachments advanced by Custine under Generals’ Nevinger and Houchard would go to Hochheim.

     The opinion that the army returned from campaigns in Champagne had come too low to carry out such a movement, and that it lacked the necessary moral strength, I cannot hope for.  An eight-day respite in the good quarters at Koblenz, to which the short Prussian marches from  Luxemburg had completely restored us, and even the army at the total strength lacked one-third of the crew, which in any case was again suffering from the partial crisis. The troops of Cassel and Hesse-Darmstadt, which had been stationed at Marburg and Giessen, had been strengthened, but the means were perfectly adequate to our poorly organized and undisciplined opponents, who themselves had fewer combatants than ourselves, and who did not resemble the picture which Rotteck, Posselt and the like partymen have intended to beat us wherever we met them.

     This would have been the case all the more, for in the course of the first campaigns, as in the case of 1794, in the allied army, but especially in our country, the belief was that we would never do otherwise than only through the greatest superiority of the enemy, could lose a foot of terrain:  what belief - I refer to what I said earlier about this in the Guards Grenadier Regiment - has never been shaken in the course of all campaigns; but, in order not to cause any misunderstandings, I do not want to go unnoticed that the former French armies did not resemble those of the last period of the Revolutionary War, much less Napoleon's legions.

     That in a concentrated advance from Koblenz over Wiesbaden to Hochheim we regained masters of the right bank of the Rhine in a much shorter time and with a lesser loss, than was the case with our heavy movement, which the Prussians were still operating in Limburg from Koblenz are fed with bread, is probably to be assumed as indivisible; only the concern of seeing the army in a similar accident as in Champagne, as the difficulties of boarding at that time, had so intimidated the minds that such an idea could not come to fruition, or at least lacked proper clarity.  This seems all the more incomprehensible, as the French armies in Champagne had not followed the Prussians, but the General Count Clerfayt over Arlon to conquer Brabant (a favorite idea of Dumouriez); furthermore, Prince Hohenlohe stood by Trier with 15,000 troops, and at last Custine had already manifested such an inability (especially by his two-fold approach to Speier), that afterwards under much difficult conditions, the individuality of the enemy and the poorly disciplined army commanded by him taking into account the advance over Wiesbaden without the least danger would have been able to step.

     Now, as far as the opinion of those concerned is concerned, that by a direct movement from Luxembourg on the left bank of the Rhine towards Mainz the same purpose was most quickly achieved, I cannot therefore share them (although I later heard them from insightful militaries), because the Prussian army returning to Luxembourg was really in such a state of exhaustion that it was then unable to carry out such a movement; It required some rest, but it was preserved by the short marches of Luxembourg and by the eight-day rest at Koblenz, so that the army, which was no longer on the march, could not be compared with that of Luxembourg.
     Nor would this movement have led to a quicker outcome, even in the happiest case, because this army still had the Rhine crossing, under much more difficult conditions than at Koblenz, between St. Goar and Mainz, and not Oppenheim by the advanced season no longer allowing a siege of Mainz; nor could the army, without the possession of this fortress, be preserved on the left bank of the Rhine during the winter.  In addition, it came that small accidents, to which the army was exposed on the march over the Hundsrück, could produce large losses, and finally even the unfortunate battle with Mons delivered on 5 November, whereby the Austrians lost the Netherlands up to the Maas, so as the position of Kellermann against the Prince of Hohenlohe, standing near Trier, should have made the march of the Prussian army on the left bank of the Rhine seem very daring.

     After this digression I go back to my narrative, which, as I repeat, is based on my diary in these campaigns.  On the first days of November the Prussian Corps under Kalckreuth reached Koblenz, to whom the Duke of Brunswick’s army followed in silence; The Hessians made way.  Lieutenant General von Biesenrodt sat down after a command received from his sovereign on the 4th of November in order to cross the Lahn at Weilburg and doing so over pouring to reach Marburg, where William IX’s troops had led to the defense of his country.  On the 5th of November, however, the advance guard under the Colonel Schreiber, who was a day before us, met Colonel Houchard, with 1,800 Frenchmen and 4 guns, whom Custine had sent to ravish Weilburg, which gave Biesenrodt cause to attack, the advance guard which was already on the left bank, to take back to the right bank, and change the direction of the march so that the army corps marched through the low mountain range, Westerwald, over Herborn in very bad and very narrow artillery paths, whereby he got the flow of the Lahn River between himself and the enemy.  On the 10th we reached the place of our destiny.  Biesenrodt first took his headquarters in Ebsdorf, then on the 13th in Niederwalgern and finally the 19th in Marburg. The Guards Regiment had been here since the 13th. The Guard Grenadiers cantoned in the villages of Ober- and Nieder- Weilbach and the surrounding area.

     The advance guard was pre-posted to the Hessen-Darmstadt borders, and contacted the Hessen-Darmstadt troops stationed at Giessen, so that in the event of an attack as was in the Seven Years' War known position at Krusdorf, after a designed order of battle, would have united.  In this case, a vast disposition was made, according to which the corps should unite. Also fanale quarters and signals (cannon shots) intended to disengage the troops have been set up.

     The two, Colonel Schreiber and Houchard had unexpectedly come to meet at Weilburg. The latter had the advantage here that he marched in concentration, and thus was able to act quickly and faithfully to attack.  Houchard forced the two companies of the Jäger Corps and three squadrons’ strong hussars to back off, whereupon hussars and jägers united to retreat, with the exception of the Grenadier Battalion Philippsthal, who had hurried from Weilburg, and had taken up his corps on a high ground in front of the city, which was in a favorable position for the defense.  After Schreiber guessed that he was dealing with an enemy twice superior to him, he sent the hussars and jägers back through the city and across the Lahn bridge, and followed them with the Grenadier battalion; a detachment of jägers under the Captain Ochs and Lieutenant von Münchhausen made up the rear guard.

     Houchard, too, retired to Weilmunster without going to the city (which spared it from arson and pillage).  This allowed time for which Schreiber to refill his unit with hussars. Both parts had some dead and wounded, and the Hussars were taught not to permit individual farmhands to advance with hand horses to reach the quarters earlier, some of them at the head of our advance guard being the Frenchman which also caused the distress that the enemy was informed of the advance of this body.

Colonel Schreiber, in this engagement, proved his reputation as an excellent leader of light troops, and, in his report to the commandant, thought very much of Captain Ochs. Both were commended in the order of the day.2)

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1) Mondorf was too good, too late in his decision to retire; he was circumvented by the enemy cavalry and then surrounded by 1,800 men under the command of enemy Colonel Houchard, whereupon, after burning all his cartridges and having lost more dead and wounded, he was captured. Custine, out of boastful vanity, had these prisoners lead through all, even the narrowest, streets of Frankfurt.

2)  Colonel Schreiber died as Hessian major general and commander of the Invalides battalion at Carlshafen in 1805; He was one of the most distinguished officers of the Hessian army. Fortune had not favored him to reach a higher position, as he was determined by nature. He sows an equally rare insight into the terrain as he knew how to act on it with determination. In the course of the campaigns from 1792 to 1794 there were several thousands of Austrians and Prussians under his command, whom the army commanders had entrusted to him, with an overrun of their own generals and colonels, without first asking whether he was last in seniority.

Captain Ochs, who died in 1823 as Kurhessian General-Major, raised to nobility in 1802, was already known in the American War as an excellent officer of light troops. The then commander of the Hessian Jäger Corps, Colonel von Wurmb, whose adjutant was the same in the last days of this war, and Captain Ewald in this corps (who had died as General Lieutenant in the Royal Danish Service), who recognized his usefulness, owed his military training, next. He was Divisional General in Westphalian Services.

von Münchhausen became the friend of Seume in America, in which both stood in the Jäger Corps; he too was a poet. In the campaign of 1793 he distinguished himself in the Bienwald, also in the removal of the Weissenburg Lines, and conquered several cannons. Munchhausen commanded in 1806 as Major the Hessian Jäger Battalion and took no Westphalian services. He died in Schaumburg on his estate.



Sunday, February 10, 2019

Bruchstücke zur Kriegsgeschichte 1793



Neues Militairisches Magazin 
Historischen und Scientifischen Inhalts Band 2, 1801
(New Militair Magazine Historical and Scientific Content)



I. Fragments to the War History 1793.
Continuation of Vol 1. St. VII


At the end of the last section I passed the Prussian army, and the Hesse-Cassian corps united with it in the winter cantonments on the two banks of the Main, and the right of the Rhine; Cassel (or Castel) was encircled by the capture of Plochheim and the position of the Hohenlohischen Corps, and the mountain fortress Königstein still resisted the ramparts of the victors. The enemy army cantoned between the Rhine and near Speyer via Worms, Oppenheim and Mainz to Bingen and Kreuzenach, and at times interspersed the Hundsrück between the Nahe and the Rhine, as far as the area of Rheinfels; he had received considerable gains during the winter.

This mild winter from 1792 to 1793 rarely covered the Rhine with ice, and thus prevented larger  engagements. The months of January, February, and the first half of the Merz, therefore, generally proceeded quietly, excepting some skirmishes and preparations for the forthcoming active campaign. The latter has shown success, and I want to touch the former only in the Vorbeygehn.

In the first days of February, the Köhler Hussar rider von Schmidt received the news that the enemy had advanced in the area of Simmern; he therefore sent Lieutenant von Weiss with 40 horses and 20 Jägern from Rheinfels against Rheinballen to investigate. At the height beyond Bacherach, this detachment encountered a strong enemy troupe, and pursued it as far as the village of Rheinballen; but as this was found to be heavily occupied by cavalry and infantry, Lieutenant von Weiss was forced to retreat by the enemy with 3 men were cut down and 4 captured; the Prussians lose the one (bleſsirten)? and one prisoner.

During the night from the 6th to the 7th of February, Captain von Heydebrecht of the regiment Count Herzberg, a piquet of the occupation of Königstein by one officer and 20 men, who held the latter in the town below. The officer and 9 men were caught, 11 killed. The Prussians had a wounded captain and one soldier killed

On the 12th of February, the Frenchmen of Moslem (see the 1st section) made an attempt to land at Ginsheim in the Darmstadt; At the end they occupied the Nonnenaue with infantry and artillery, and drove the Hessian Piquet of Hussars and Jäger, which is on the shore. But the chief scribe hastened into the neighborhood with the Hussar regiment and the battalion of fusiliers, and on the following day the colonel von Rüchel.  With the help of a battery, the enemy was immediately expelled from the meadow with the removal of an ammunition cart, and his maneuver was thwarted.

From the 20th to the 26th of February the king and duke reconnoitered the bank of the Rhine to Rheinfels, and on the 30th and 31st the colonel v. Szeculi, a Prussian partisan, with a light corps the Rhine at St. Goar. This corps consisted of the Féselier battalion of Wedel, 1 Compagnie Trierscher Jäger, 2 canons, and a detachment of light cavalry, drawn from all the Dragoons and Hussar regiments; Colonel Szeculi advanced with this corps against the Nahe, and occupied the castle and position at the Stromberg, partly to disturb the enemy, but chiefly to form a firm point on the left bank of the Rhine, which might facilitate the passage of the army.

The 8th Merz was finally passed by Königstein with 14 canons; the crew of 14 officers and 421 civilians were transported to Frankfurt as prisoners of war in the afternoon.

The campaign, which lasted until late in the winter, the consequences of the ruinous course after the Campaign, and the delay in the supply of all necessities for the coming campaign, delayed by the great distance of the Prussian States, did not suggest an early opening of it, especially as one
could not take a step without finding a very heavy stumbling-block at Mainz.  Although it was Prussian side immediately after taking Frankfurt had endeavored - to demand fresh and several troops to supplement and strengthen the army, which also arrived in February and Merz; of the same, 6000 Saxons joined the army as a Reichs contingent; this magnificant Corps passed the 16th, 17th and 18th Merz through Frankfurt and cantoned on the right bank of the Main; Würzburg, other German princes, and the Prussian states in Franconia also received some guns and ammunition; but this alone was not enough for a company on Mainz, to whose reservation the necessities only arrived much later from Holland and the Prussian hereditary lands.  On the other hand, the army itself still lacked many horses and requisites for the opening of the Campaign; Thus, the Hessian Corps, which was to consist of 6,000 men, had received neither supplementary crew nor field staff and campers when the 19th Merz command was given that the army should start moving on the 22nd.

The motives for this swift decision were the following: in the conference held with the Prince of Coburg at Frankfurt on February 6th about the operations of the upcoming Campaign, it was decided, among others, that the Kayserliche army on the lower Rhine for the time being only to relieve Mastricht, to cleanse the right bank of the Meuse, and to maintain until the Prussian army would have taken Mainz, after the passage of which they would first proceed to the reconquest of the Netherlands.  But this Kayserliche army, which during the winter by a great mistake of the enemy general, about which he justified himself, asserted itself on the bank of the Roer, and during which was considerably strengthened, to which still a Prussian Corps under the Duke of Brunswick Oels pushed, and advances from Wesel against Venlo and Rüremond made the extraordinary preliminary steps.  The prince v. Coburg did not join this army at Cölln until about the 10th of February, and in the last days of February the victor, fled behind the Scheldt in a leap from the Roer. These quick progressions of an army, which neither wanted to give in to activity, nor after the appointment, also persuaded the king to advance across the Rhine and the temporary encirclement of Mainz, at least showing his goodwill, though the siege itself was still a physical impossibility. Without dispute, it would have been Austrian interest to be accelerated conquest of this fortress more than it did, since its possession is so highly necessary for asserting the Netherlands, and for covering the extensive operations and communication with its army there; but how much should not have happened in this war, which did not happen.  After this, for the sake of an overview of the whole, I must turn again to the Prussian army, which has been ordered to advance, and the Hessian Corps at Frankfurt, which is united with it.  The same was, as has already been said, the siege of Mainz. At the end, you had to cross the Rhine and drive the General Custine's enemy army so far that they did not hinder that enterprise.  After much deliberation, the army ought to pass the Rhine at Bacherach, leaving a corps behind Cassel, the enemy from his position at Kreuzenach, and at one with the one between Manheim and Speyer
The Rhine passed through the Imperial army of Count Wurmser, until they drove out over Landau; set up an observation army behind the Queich and Bliess, and send back a corps to Mainz's blockade; the former under separate orders of the Duke of Brunswick, the latter under the General Count of Kalkreuth; the corps in front of Cassel came under the command of General Lieutenant v. Schoenfeld.  The Hessian Corps had the following composition here; the avant-garde or the Hussar regiment, the jager and light infantry battalion, under the Colonel Schreiber, was to join the Prince Hohenlohe Corps, and with it to the Observation Army; 5 Escadrons and 5 battalions, however, were assigned to the corps of General Lieutenant von Schonfeld, and with this to the blockade of Cassel. The Lieutenant-General von Biesenrodt, it is true, made it impossible for the Corps to march on the 22nd of Merz, for his field-reinforcements had not yet arrived, although their dispatch had been ordered. But as this filled a gap in the general disposition, it was permitted: to canton before the hand, but the march remained fixed.

The Hessian light troops therefore united on the 21st of March at the bridge of Rüsselsheim, joined the Hohenlohe Corps and cantoned in Bärstädt. Likewise, the infantry regimes broke today Prince Heinrich, 2 battalions of Romberg, Kleist regiment, and 1 battalion of Mannstein, then the Dragoon Regiments of Lottum and Katte, the Duke of Weimar Couriers Regiment, and the Bat Decker and Puttkammer and made a right turn against Badstrasse or Langenschwalbach.

The Hohenzollern Corps and the Hessian light troops left and moved to the rear, the latter to Langscheit and area. Likewise the headquarters and the guards of Frankfurt marched this morning went through Sachsenhaussen, out to the monkey gate and cantoned in Keltersbach etc. The regiments Tadden, Wolframsdorf and Ferdinand moved also in the area of Wisbaden.

On the 23rd, the Hohenlohische Corps continued its march against Bacherach; the Hessian light troops cantoned in Ramsel; the army followed the same regiments, and the headquarters, together with the guards, moved from Kellersbach to Russelsheim and the region. Just as a regiment marched in advance on the heights between Erbenheim and the Häuserhof in the face of Mainz, it swung in, made a bonfire of Coburg's victory over the sea-winds, and continued his march on.

The Hohenlohische Corps had the 24th rest day and the army moved closer together; the guards and headquarters marched for Wisbäden; but on the 25th the Hessian light troops left at 4 o'clock in the morning, and went via Kaub to Bacherach, where they crossed the Rhine with the Hohenlohische Corps on the pontoon bridges and moved over Rhine bays to Reierscheid, the army followed, but the guards remained on the 29th under the command of the crown prince, as a reserve in Wisbaden, whereupon they also passed the Rhine and moved to Nie.

The choice of the crossing of the Rhine at Bacherach places in a field, like the Duke of Braun silent, sufficient reasons to presume that they are best, even if their real motives are not yet known; besides, one would think it would have been far more advantageous to pass the Rhine in the area of Oppenheim, and thus to break through the enemy army, to negotiate the position on the Nahe, and to block the main road to Elsas. At least Custine has no such valid advocate in himself, if he is rightly reproached for not having put obstacles in the way of the passage of the Prussians and the Imperialists, for which his shorter line offered him sufficient means, for he had here through the Curvature of the Rhine only the tendon, but the Prussians describe the bow; so it was certainly a big mistake that he did not use the Szeculian Corps with more power, and it cost what he wished to throw across the Rhine when he undertook it on the 16th and 20th; the position on the Nahe was only to be decided entirely when the Prussians had actually passed the Rhine against all their efforts; But Custine could and had to know this transition, and if he was properly prepared, then he would rush with a corps against Bacherach, like the Prussian army at Cassel but he could still arrive early enough, and certainly not delay the crossing, but certainly delay it; There was something to be dared for at the time-alone-there was determination in it, and that his generosity was not in Custine's character proves his occupation in the fall of 1792, before the capture of Mainz.

On the 26th Colonel Schreiber advanced with the Hessian light troops, as the avant-garde of the Hohenlohe Corps to Schöneberg, without anything of the enemy: but the 27th broke out of their quarters at four o'clock; Hohenlohische Corps assembled at Dachsweer, where the Szeculian Corps also joined him. Hereupon when the whole procession marched into trains on the right, forming it threw it as far as Bingen over the Nahe, and thereupon occupied a camp at the village of Weiler. The enemy had over 30 dead in this incident; 5 cannons were captured and 273 prisoners were made, including General Lieutenant Neuwgerger with 13 officers. The Hessian jagers, led by the commendable Major von Motz captured 2 cannons.

At 2 o'clock in the morning, Bingen was shot at, then abandoned by the enemy.  At 8 o'clock in the morning the Hessian Corps had to occupy Rommelsheim, but at 6 o'clock the same thing happened near Bingen and moved to Engelstadt. After the capture of Bingen, the enemy had the 29th its advantageous positions in Kreuzenach and Alzei abandoned so eagerly that one could not catch him and on the retreat only a few prisoners were made. The duke took his headquarters today on the 29th in Armsheim, and the Hessian avant-garde advanced to Ufhofen.

The troops broke out of their quarters early at 5 o'clock, and marched left into columns after they had gathered at Arnsheim.  The march crossed Dorndeckheim on Alsheim on the old Rhine, where the avant-garde captured 80 enemy cavalrymen, and penetrated into the plain against Oppenheim and Worms. The enemy was thereupon expelled from Guntersblum, Gemsheim, Eiche, Hamm, and Ivers heimerhof, and occupied Worms; In addition to many deaths, today six cannons and 1,200 prisoners are lost.

The loss on this side was unimportant; the Hessian Hussars had at the skirmish of Guntersblum 7 horses killed, 1 Unterofficier, 14 Hussars and 8 horses  wounded.  At about six o'clock, just as gracious as brave Prince Louis of Prussia, with three escadrons of Anspach Baireuth, an enemy corps on the retreat at Worms, into which he immediately invaded, conquered 500 launches and 6 cannons and 1,200 prisoners. The headquarters was taken in Guntersblum.

On April 1, the Duke of Brunswick wrote from Guntersblum to the Major von Hirschfeld in Hochheim:

"Everything is quite desirable, the enemy is running so fast that it is hardly possible to acquire laurels from him, meanwhile the main end goal will be reached over all expectation quickly, and very happy, without significant loss of our side now clean from the French, and they have long left the Rhine, all their entrenchments beyond Speyer, so that last night Wurmser (from the 30th to the 1st) between Manheim and Speyer is set across the Rhine without any obstacles. "

Colonel Szeculi rescued considerable magazines in Worms and Frankenthal, and six hundred of the men of Mainz, together with several baggage, club-bakers, etc., who wanted to break through Oppenheim to Landau, were thrown back to Mainz.

So the enemy army was expelled behind Landau; the part of the Prussian and Hessian troops destined for the observation army followed her into the above-mentioned positions, and the other, who was to undertake the blockade herself; Through the positions at Niederingelheim, via Stadeck to Oppenheim, the crew cut off all communications with France, and prepared for the following narrow confinement of Mainz.


Source: 
Neues Militairisches Magazin  Historischen und Scientifischen Inhalts Band 2, 1801; pp. 1-10

Keyword: Schreiber