Thursday, August 3, 2017

Westphalia Period. 1806-1813.



As a consequence of the French occupation of 1806, the organization of the Kurhessian Army had been resolved; Soon afterwards the Kurstaat was incorporated into the newly established Kingdom of Westphalia, the reign of which Emperor Napoleon entrusted to his brother Jerome. Since, however, the Elector William I never recognized this annexation of his country, and on his return in 1813 regarded the Westphalian period as not, we should have the right to continue the history of the regiment without interruption. In the Order of November 1, 1806, it is said literally:

"The soldiers and cavalrymen with horses are temporarily on house leave, until after the return of their Electorate.  Your Excellency Headquarters Sr. Kaiserl. Majesty of France other facilities are taken. "

The regiment was not incorporated into Jerome's cavalry, but remained for seven years, and was restored in the original manner upon the return of its expelled landlord. The officers had, in part, taken farewell, partly in other armies, and some had also entered the newly formed Westphalian army, following the urge of relations.

We could pass the whole period if the Elector had not erected an escadron of the regiment in Bohemia in the spring of 1809, which participated in the campaign of the Austrians against Napoleon. In consequence of an alliance with the Emperor of Austria, the Elector, in accordance with the "proclamation to the brave Hesse," set up an auxiliary corps, which was to be brought to 4000 men, but in reality remained weaker, consisting of the following troops: 3 Battalions of Guards, Kurfürst and Kurprinz, 1 battalion light infantry, 1 Jäger company, 1 Escadron body dragoon, 1 Escadron hussars*), 2 batteries artillery.

*) As planned, a regiment of hussars is to be set up.

The Hussars' Escadron's budget on 23 March 1809 was: 1 Colonel, 1 Rittmeister, 1 Staff Rittmeister, 1 Premier Lieutenant, 1 Second Lieutenant, 1 Ensign, 1 Wachtmeister, 12 Non-commisioned officers, 3 Trumpeters, 1 Surgeon, 10 Carabiners, 140 hussars, in sum 172 men.

According to the rank list of 1809, the following officers were at the Escadron (month of July):

Colonel: von Schlotheim;
Rittmeister: von Baumbach (8./11. Major);
Staff-Rittmeister: von Steinwehr,
Staff-Rittmeister: Count Wilhelm of Hessestein;
Premier Lieutenant .: Count of Sternstein (24./8. Staff Rittmeister);
Seccond Lieutenant .: Ludwig (19./9. Prem.-Lieut.),
Second Lieutenant: von Dung (1./6. appointed);
Cornet: Dithmar (8./7. appointed).

A part of this corps, under the supreme and wing adjutant of Müller, to which the Hussars-Escadron was allotted, was advanced, together with Austrian troops, into the northern part of Bohemia after the battle of Aspern.

At the end of May this Corps, Austria, and Hesse, under the leadership of General Am Ende, stood at the Mittelgebirge; General Radivojevich, with another detachment (only Austrians), observed the roads leading across the Bohemian Forest. The chief commander of these two Streif Corps was the Austrian General Count von Risch, later General Kienmayer. As a result of various attacks by the Saxon troops, General Am Ende was ordered to cross the frontier; On the 10th of June, at Dippoldiswalde, he united with Brunswick's Corps (circa 1000 men) and marched against Dresden in a total force of about 9-10,000 men.*)

*) The Hussars-Escadron was in June 106 men, in July it had 141 heads strong, thus significantly lower than the nominal stock of 172 men.

On the 11th of July Dresden was taken without resistance. The Saxons had retreated before the defeat, and on the 12th they were compelled, in the battle of Wilsdruff, to retreat to Weißenfels, where Colonel von Thielemann expected reinforcements.

In this battle, which lasted for a long time, the only officer in command, Steinwehr as a result of a shot wound in the abdomen, with him the hussar Molar; 2 horses of the Escadron were killed, 3 wounded, 1 captured.

General Am Ende was very hesitant to go to Leipzig and return to Dresden on the 24th. During this march, General Kienmayer took over the command and made new offensive orders. Dresden was occupied by 6 battalions and 1 escadron. On the 27th, the rest of the troops came to Nossen to connect with the Corps Radivoevich, which at the beginning of June occupied the principality of Bayreuth. The enemy had increased to 13,000 men, and King Jerome assumed the supreme command.

Thanks to the strategic measures of directing the main column to Dresden, and sending only a small part to the south, the Corps reached Chemnitz, Zwickau, unimpeded, and Hof, resp. Helmbrechts.

On the same day General Radivojevich had retired from the superior division of Junot, which Napoleon had sent against the menacing Bayreuth, to a position near Gefrees, two miles north-east of Bayreuth. Kienmayer advanced to the support with the Ende column, and on July 8 attacked the French at Berneck with all his strength, while at the same time embracing their left wing. Zunot escaped this dangerous defilee battle with little loss and went back to Amberg without a stay. The exhaustion of Kienmayer's troops prevented the victory from being fully exploited, but the possession of Bayreuth was assured. The Corps then advanced northwards to attack Jerome’s army, which were at Plauen, but which inevitably avoided this danger. In the end, he was again to occupy Dresden with his division, which he had also left the garrison on the 14th of July, but as a result of the Znojmo armistice on the 21st, d. M. had to leave. The corps was then returned to Bohemia, where it occupied cantonments, and was dissolved on the 27th of December, when the peace of Vienna (October 14, 1809) entered the new plans of the Elector of Hesse.

The Corps advanced into the Austrian army before the hand; The foreigners, who had been accepted only on war, received the dismissal after their capitulation. Even though no thorough success could be achieved by these raids, especially under General Kienmayer, he had skilfully operated and bravely fought everywhere.

Austrian General Kienmayer

The extent to which the Hussars-Escadron had been active in this campaign cannot be stated with any certainty from the historical reports.  The Hessian rank list, however mentions the participation of the Hessian troops near Dresden, Wilsdruff, and Berneck.

114 Hussars dismissed with farewell; 14 horses were kidnapped by desertion, 2 fallen, 2 stabbed dead, and 82 were sold.

Of the eight officers, Rittmeister von Steinwehr had remained in the field of honor at Wilsdruff, Stabs-Rittmeister, Countess Hartenstein, was appointed the assistant-deputy of the Elector, and Second-Lieutenant von Dung had been adopted; Premier-Lieutenant Ludwig went back to Hesse; the others, after the dissolution of the Corps on December 27, 1809, entered Austrian service.

From the time of 1806-13, only the Dörnenberg Insurrection is worth mentioning for the history of the regiment.  When a former Cornet of the regiment, Louis Scheffer (1814, as a Premier lieutenant), took active part in this.  When, in the spring of 1809, Freiherr von Dörnberg made the vain attempt to surprise Cassel with an armed hand and to overthrow French rule, Cornet Scheffer was one of the most active members of the conspiracy. He led from Felsberg on the 22nd of April the one group of the missionary, and on the 23rd advanced the advance of the Trojans against Cassel. Attacked by the royal troops under General Rewbell, the short skirmish at the Knallhutte ended with a general flight of the patriots. While Colonel von Dörnberg fled to Bohemia for safety, Scheffer hid himself to his father's house at Boehddiger.  With the threat of being arrested, he escaped and remained at first in Lich, then later in Ramhobz, until the hour of liberation of Hesse struck.

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Tanslated Extract from: Geschichte des königlich preussischen 2. hessischen Husaren-Regiments Nr. 14 und seiner hessischen Stammtruppen 1706-1886, pp. 197-200.






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