The Army of Ansbach and Bayreuth

Brandenburg-Anspach Infanterie-Regiment von Seybothen (Bayreuth).

Füsiliers of the 2nd Brandenburg-Anspach Infanterie-Regiment von Seybothen and civilian camp-followers haggle about prices at a sutler’s tent. Markgraf Christian Friedrich Carl Alexander von Anspach inherited the land of the Markgraf von Bayreuth when the Bayreuth line died out in 1769. The small army of Anspach-Bayreuth consisted of two infantry battalions, designated infantry regiments in British service, one Jägercorps of four companies, an artillery detachment of four battalion guns, staff and medical personnel. By treaty signed on 1 February 1777 the army of Anspach-Bayreuth was hired to assist the British Army in its struggle against the Rebellion in the American Colonies. A total of 1.285 officers and men left Anspach on 7 March 1777 and arrived in New York on 3 June that year. In 1778 reeinforcements were sent to America which raised the number of Anspach-Bayreuth troops in British service to 1.644 officers and men. Some sources claim that as many as 2.353 men joined the British cause, of which 1.170 did not return to their fatherland. Many Anspach-Bayreuth soldiers fell in battle or died from diseases contracted in the war, but a large number of those who would not return to Franconia preferred to settle in the New World.

Army Composition

The infantry regiments were just one battalion strong, composed of one grenadier and four musketeer companies. The Jägercorps had four companies, one of which sailed with the first Anspach-Bayreuth contingent. The infantry regiments were named after their commanding officers. Colonel von Voit initially commanded the infantry regiment from Bayreuth and later took command of the Anspach infantry regiment. Major von Seybothen, company commander in the Bayreuth infantry regiment, became its new commanding officer.

Infanterie-Bataillon von Pölnitz
Infanterie-Regiment von Eyb
Infanterie-Regiment von Voit

Garrisoned at Anspach. The regiment was initially commanded by Colonel von Eyb who was succeeded by Colonel von Voit of the second Anspach-Bayreuth regiment. The uniform consisted of a blue coat, with red facings, red turnbacks, white metal buttons, white waistcoat, and white breeches.

Infanterie-Bataillon von Drais
Infanterie-Regiment von Voit
Infanterie-Regiment von Seybothen

Garrisoned at Bayreuth. Colonel von Voit was succeed in command of the regiment by Major von Seybothen. The uniform consisted of a blue coat, with black facings, red turnbacks, white metal buttons, white waistcoat, and white breeches.

Anspach Jägercorps

Garrisoned at Anspach. The brown leather waist cartridge pouch bore the Franconian crown and royal cipher CFCA in yellow metal. One company of the Jägercorps, commanded by Capitain von Cramon, sailed to Portsmouth with the infantry and artillery contingent. The remaining three Jäger companies followed in late March. In March of 1779 command of Capitain Cramon’s company passed to Hauptmann Freiherr von Waldenfels. The uniform consisted of a green coat, with red facings, red turnbacks, yellow metal buttons, green waistcoat, and buff breeches.

Anspach Artillerie

Garrisoned at Anspach. Premierleutnant Hoffmann and 44 men served the 4 regimental guns attached to the Anspach-Bayreuth infantry. Hoffmann was later promoted to Captain. The uniform constisted of a blue coat, with red facings, red turnbacks, white metal buttons, white waistcoat, and white breeches.

1777 Campaign History

  • 28 Februar 1777 – The 2nd (Bayreuth) Infanterie-Regiment departs Bayreuth to join the rest of the army garrisoned at Anspach.
  • 04 March – The Bayreuth infantry regiment arrives at Anspach.
  • 07 March – The army departs Anspach in the direction of Ochsenfurt on the Main river. 1st Regiment takes quarters at Markt Bergel, 2nd Regiment at Burkbernheim, and the Feldjäger company at Ottenhofen.
  • 08 March – The army takes night quarters at Uffenhofen. The Markgraf departs his army and returns to Anspach.
  • 09 March – The army arrives at Ochsenfurt in the afternoon, via Gollhofen and Oberickelsheim, and embarks on river transports. There are not enough ships available to transport the entire formation, and additional ships have to be ordered from Würzburg. In the meantime, the men are kept on board their crowded ships.
  • 10 March – The infantry regiments rebel, because of the unacceptably crowded conditions aboard their river transports. The troops are disembarked and spend the morning in and around the town of Ochsenfurt, drinking and getting out of control. The order to reembark is disobeyed by the 2nd regiment which mutinies and takes to the hills above Ochsenfurt. The Jäger company is sent after them and a brief firefight ensues which leaves one man of the Bayreuth regiment dead and two wounded. Order is eventually restored and the regiments return to their ships. 40 men remain unaccounted for, some of whom have fled to the nearby Kloster Tückelhausen. A Jäger detachment of 20 men under Premierlieutenant Heinrich Karl Philipp von Freilitzsch is sent after the fugitives. The Jägers occupy the monastery, but they are recalled to Uffenheim in the evening. The Markgraf is informed of the mutiny by a dispatch which reaches him at Anspach in the evening. Immediately the horses are saddled again and an escort made ready which accompanies the Markgraf on his return journey to Ochsenfurt via Uffenheim.
  • 11 March – The Markgraf arrives at Ochsenfurt early in the morning to rally his troops and hear their grievances. The mutineers are forgiven if they promise to sail to America without causing further trouble. The troops embark and the transports push off at 08.30 hours. The Markgraf accompanies the transports to Dortrecht, Holland.
  • 13 March – The transports arrive at Hanau on Main.
  • 15 March – Lieutenant Freilitzsch and his Jägers are ordered to march to Wertheim on Main and collect any fugitives of the 2nd Infanterie-Regiment along the way.
  • 17 March – Lieutenant Freilitzsch embarks his Jäger detachment at Wertheim. Most of the fugitives had been rounded up and they are shipped out to join their regiment.
  • 25 March – The convoy arrives at Nijmegen, Holland, and the Franconian troops are sworn in to serve King Georg III of England.
  • 26 March – The convoy arrives at Dortrecht, Holland, where the troops are transferred to English ships and the Markgraf bids them farewell.
  • 31 March – The ships sail to Portsmouth, England
  • 07 April – The fleet of nine transport ships sails from Portsmouth. Hessian Jägers, and recruits from Waldeck and Hesse-Cassel had been taken on board as well.
  • 03 Juni – The transport fleet drops anchor in New York Harbour.
  • 05 Juni – The troops are landed on Staten Island.

The Franconian contingent was present at the Siege of Yorktown in October of 1781. Many of the infantry were captured there when a detachment of 400 picked men from Lafayette’s Light Infantry Division under the command of Colonel Alexander Hamilton took Redoubt № 10 by night assault on 14 October. The remainder of the Franconian troops went into captivity when Lieutenant-General Earl Cornwallis surrendered the Yorktown garrison five days later, on 19 October 1781. The Franconian troops were exchanged and released from captivity in May 1783, to be shipped home.

The sale of the troops into foreign service, and the hardship endured by the soldiers as well as their families back home, caused a deep rift between the Markgrave and his people. On 2 December 1791, during a break of journey at Bordeaux, France, the Markgraf sold the two counties of Anspach-Bayreuth for a yearly pension of 300,000 fl. (Florin – Guilders) to his cousin King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia. Markgraf Christian Friedrich Carl Alexander settled in England, and died there on 5 January 1806, aged 70.

American Revolutionary War Miniatures