Freihusaren von Glasenapp
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Origin and History
This book on the military life of Joachim Reinhold von Glasenapp, Chief of the Württemberger Freihusaren von Glasenapp and later of the Prussian Frei Dragoons von Glasenapp, and after some time also of the Prussian Frei Husaren von Glasenapp, has been published in October 2021, by the two co-authors: Marcel Dings and Frank Poeth.
The book examines the military career of Joachim Reinhold von Glasenapp, Lord of the Castle Holtmühle in Tegelen, in various armies (Prussia, France, Baden-Württemberg and again Prussia). For three years, he also led his own hussar and dragoon regiments. The book explains where his military career took him, in which wars he fought, and what this ultimately brought him. The book, written in German and Dutch, is illustrated with beautiful images of the uniforms and with maps showing how his regiments campaigned in Germany.
The book also summarizes the general development of warfare and light cavalry in the eighteenth century. It also presents the group of reenactors of the Frei-Husaren von Glasenapp.
The book can be ordered through Marcel Dings's personal website.
In 1759, the Duke of Württemberg wanted to hire light troops to add to the contingent subsidized by France. On January 22, 1760, Joachim Reinhold von Glasenapp proposed to raise a unit of 412 light troops to serve in the Württemberger Army. On February 16, this proposal was declined. On February 20, a second proposal was submitted, but this time it was for a unit of 150 hussars. The contract specified that the new unit should count as few deserters as possible and no subject of the Duke of Württemberg. Furthermore, the unit should be dressed similarly to the existing hussars (Gorcy Hussars). It would be attached to the Jägerkorps.
On February 27, 1760, the duke and Glasenapp came to an agreement. On March 19, it was agreed to increase the total number of men of the unit to 158 men. More precisely:
- 9 officers
- 1 major
- 1 Rittmeister (captain)
- 1 adjutant
- 3 lieutenant-captains
- 3 cornets
- 23 NCOs
- 3 sergeants
- 3 trumpeters
- 1 fourier (roughly, an administrative assistant)
- 2 surgeons
- 1 saddler
- 1 smith
- 12 corporals
- 126 hussars
Glasenapp decided to assemble the recruits of his new unit in Geldern. By April 17, Glasenapp had completed the recruitment of his unit. He then moved it to his estates of Holtmühle, near Tegelen. On May 14, Glasenapp informed Stuttgart that his unit was ready for review.
During the Seven Years' War, the Chef of these squadrons was:
- from February 1760: Major Joachim Reinhold von Glasenapp (a former officer in the Chasseurs de Fischer from October 1756 to March 1758)
The unit was disbanded on February 7, 1761, when the Duke of Württemberg retired from the war. Soon afterward, what remained of the unit entered the Prussian service as the Frei Dragoons von Glasenapp.
Service during the War
On May 20, 1760, the Duke of Württemberg sent a message to Glasenapp to instruct him to march to Stuttgart, where his unit would be reviewed. On July 7, the unit set off from Tegelen, on its way to Stuttgart. The unit marched by way of Wickrath, Sievernich, Lommersum and Weilerswist. On July 18, it rested near Senheim. On July 19, it marched to Kirchberg and ,on July 20, to Dörrebach. On July 29, the unit reached Reichenbach. However, on the same day, the Württemberger Contingent set off from Stuttgart by way of Prichsenstadt and Schmalkalden towards Saxony.
On August 3, 1760, Glasenapp’s unit was quartered in Adelsheim. It then sojourned for a few days in Neckarsulm. On August 18, the Freihusaren von Glasenapp finally made a junction with the Württemberger Contingent near Schmalkalden. The unit was reviewed (it then numbered 234 men) and received its uniforms.
On September 4, 1760, the unit followed the Württemberger Contingent, which marched by way of Brücken, Allstedt, Querfurt and Lauchstädt to Merseburg. The light troops then drove the Prussian outposts back to Leipzig. On September 11, the Württemberger Contingent appeared in front of Leipzig. On September 12, the Württemberger light brigade occupied the towns of Wettin, Löbejün, Zörbig, Grosskugel, Merseburg, Fideburg (unidentified location) and Wansleben. By September 25, most of Glasenapp’s unit was in the vicinity of Halle, while Johnson’s squadron joined the main body of the contingent.
At the beginning of October, 1760, the Württemberger Contingent joined the Reichsarmee in the vicinity of Wittenberg. During the siege of the place, Glasenapp’s unit was sent to Grosskugel near Leipzig. On October 5, the Duke of Württemberg relieved Glasenapp from his command and put him under arrest, because the duke had received several complaints about the depredations of the regiment from inhabitants of Krichberg and Neckarsulm, and from Captain Johnson. Captain von Jaunis assumed interim command of the unit. In mid-October, after the capture of Wittenberg, the Württemberger light cavalry took position along the Saale while the main body of the contingent retired towards Halle by way of Dessau. The unit was posted at Rothenburg/Saale. On October 22, the unit captured 12 men in Bernburg; and on October 25, 46 men in Könnern. In the night of October 24 to 25, a detachment of Kleist’s hussars surprised the Württemberger light brigade near Rothenburg. A large part of the present unit was captured near Baasdorf, some 20 km northeast of Rothenburg. By the end of October, the unit counted only 24 men. It followed the Württemberger Contingent, which was retiring towards Leipzig.
Around mid-November, 1760, Major von Glasenapp was rehabilitated. On November 22, the Württemberger Contingent resumed its retreat towards Arnstadt, by way of Erfurt. On December 18, the remnants of the present unit marched from Kranichfeld to Ilmenau.
On January 3, 1761, the unit was at Rommelshausen. Soon afterwards, Major von Glasenapp was informed that the Duke of Württemberg planned to once more put him under arrest, because he had corresponded with the enemy. At these news, he ran away. The rest of his unit (53 men) rejoined the detachment of Colonel von Bouwinghausen. On February 7, the unit was disbanded.
Even though these hussars were instructed to carry the Württemberg uniform (hereafter, we reproduced the uniform of the Gorcy Hussars), it seems that they wore various uniform and were very badly equipped.
|Headgear||brown kolback with a red flame and a green or black plume|
|Breeches||red laced yellow|
Troopers were armed with a short, curved sabre, two pistols and a carbine.
Troopers were armed with a sabre and pistols.
no information available yet
no information available yet
We think that this unit did not carry any standard, like many other Hussar units during the Seven Years War.
Deutsche Uniformen, Bd. 1, Das Zeitalter Friedrich des Großen, 240 Bilder von Herbert Knötel d. J., Text und Erläuterungen von Dr. Martin Letzius, hrsg. von der Sturm-Zigaretten GmbH, Dresden 1932
Dings, Marcel and Frank Poeth: Het militaire leven van Joachim Reinhold von Glasenapp, Chef van vrijregimenten dragonders en huzaren (1760-1763), Tegelen, 2021
Wilson, Peter, Glasenapp's Freikorps, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. X No. 4
Zahn, Michael, Die Herzoglich Württembergische Armee im Siebenjährigen Krieg, Manuskript, Stuttgart: January 2008
Marcel Dings and Frank Poeth for their kind authorization to improve this article based on their book