Palatine Wittgenstein Dragoons

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> Palatine Army >> Palatine Wittgenstein Dragoons

Origin and History

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Even though Oskar Bezzel mentions that the name of the chef of the regiment was Friedrich Ludwig Count zu Wittgenstein und Hohenstein, born in 1678, we researched genealogical sources and found that his real name was Johann Friedrich Count zu Sayn-Wittgenstein in Vallendar, born on 1 January 1676 (died on 27 April 1718). His father was Friedrich Wilhelm Count Sayn-Wittgenstein in Hohenstein und Vallendar (1676-1718), and his mother Charlotte Luise Countess zu Leiningen-Dagsburg-Hartenburg (1647-1685).

Johann Friedrich initially served with the French Army in Alsace Infanterie. In 1699, he married Maria Anna Countess von Wiser, daughter of the Palatine Court Chancellor Franz Melchior Count Wiser. Her brother, Johann Anton Count Wiser (died 1708) was proprietor of the Palatine Wiser Cavalry.

It is very likely that Johann Friedrich Count Sayn-Wittgenstein was appointed chef of the vacant Jungheim Dragoons in 1700 through his relations with the Wiser family.

His son Franz Friedrich (* 31.5.1702 +29.8.1769) was also a Palatine general.

This regiment was taken in Palatine service in 1685 as the "Kurpfälzisches Dragoner Regiment Jungheim". After the occupation of Heidelberg by the French in 1688 and the disintegration of the Palatine army, only the company of Captain Remy remained. In March 1689, after the liberation of Heidelberg, there was only one company (66 dragoons with 3 officers) led by Lieutenant-Colonel von Jungheim. During the winter of 1689/1690, this company went to Jülich. In 1690, it formed the kernel of the newly raised regiment numbering 456 men which garrisoned in Jülich-Berg.

In 1700, Johann Friedrich Count Sayn zu Wittgenstein in Vallendar, was serving as officer in the French Alsace Infanterie, In May 1701, he was appointed chef of the regiment. The regiment contributed a squadron of three companies to the establishment of the new Dragoon Regiment Nassau. Men were then raised to compensate for those transferred to the new regiment. At the end of the year the regiment again numbered 450 men.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the successive regimental Chefs were:

  • from 1700: Johann Friedrich Count Sayn-Wittgenstein in Vallendar
  • from 1714: Baron von Mirbach

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the successive commanders of the regiment were:

  • from 1700: ???
  • from 1705. Lieutenant-Colonel Baron von Mirbach

Service during the War


In 1701, the regiment garrisoned Speyer and spent the winter in Neustadt an der Haardt.


In 1702, the regiment (3 sqns) was assigned to the Army of Upper Rhine. In March, it was with the Palatine troops in the camp of Lustadt, east of Landau

On 10 June, in the order of battle of that day, the regiment was in the second line of the right wing, under FML Count Leiningen. During Siege of Landau the regiment was kept in reserve under FML Fürst Hohenzollern between Lauterbourg and Wissembourg.

The regiment probably took up its winter-quarter in Mannheim or Heidleberg. By that time, it numbered nine companies in three squadrons for a total of 450 men.


On 28 April 1703, the regiment was sent to reinforce the troops of Count Prosper von Fürstenberg in the Kinzig Valley . From 15 June to 16 July, the regiment secured the ford near Daxlanden. Later, the regiment was posted in the Lines between Stollhofen and Bühl.

On 15 November, the regiment took part in the Combat of Speyerbach where it was deployed in the first line of the left wing under G.d.C. Count Nassau-Weilburg.


In 1704, according to a contract signed on 15 April between the Elector of Palatinate and Emperor Leopold I, the regiment was taken in Imperial pay.

On 30 July, the regiment was in the Lines of Stollhofen, in the valley behind Bühl.

From September to November, during the third siege of Landau, the regiment was posted north of the Queich River.

The regiment spent winter in the County of Zweibrücken.


In 1705, the regiment was assigned to the corps of Count Nassau-Weilburg on the Upper Rhine.

In August, the regiment arrived at the camp of Langenkandel near Lauterbourg by way of Mainz and Speyer. It was then assigned to the corps of the Margrave of Baden which encamped near Lauterbourg.

On 10 November, the regiment encamped near Kaiserslautern in cold and snow until 22 November.

At the beginning of December, the regiment took up its winter-quarters in Umstadt.


In January 1706, the regiment (372 men led by Lieutenant-Colonel Baron von Mirbach) was sent to quench the Uprising in Bavaria. After the successes of the Imperial and Palatine troops, the uprising collapsed.


In 1707, the regiment was assigned to the Reichsarmee on Upper Rhine. At the end of May, this army evacuated the Lines of Stollhofen.

On 2 July, the regiment encamped between Waghäusel and Oberhausen.

On 15. September, in the order of battle of the day, the regiment (3 squadrons) was deployed in the first line of the right wing.

On 24 September, the regiment took part in the attack of the Imperial General Count Mercy against the French camp at Offenburg. The detachment of General Vivans was nearly annihilated. After this successful attack, the regiment marched to Esslingen.

At the end of October, the Reichsarmee took up its winter-quarters.


On 3 February 1708, negotiations finally took place in Vienna about the transfer of some estates from the Electorate of Bavaria to the Electorate of Palatinate, according to the claims of Elector Johann Wilhelm of Palatinate. These tractations would last until May. As a result of these ongoing negotiations, on 19 February 1708, Lieutenant-General Baron von Bettendorf was instructed to place, if necessary, a Palatine Contingent (including the present regiment) under the command of Field Marshal Thüngen.

On 9 May, since the restitution of the Upper Palatinate and Cham was still delayed, Bettendorf received the order to remain in Mannheim.

On 23 June, the restitution of the County of Cham and of Upper Palatinate to the Elector of Palatinate was officially concluded in Vienna. After the signature of this agreement, Palatine troops (including the present regiment) led by Johann Ernst Count Nassau-Weilburg arrived at the camp of Prince Eugène at the end of June. Shortly afterwards, Eugène's Army crossed the Moselle River and marched towards the Low Countries to make a junction with Marlborough's Army.

On 16 August, the regiment, which formed part of Lottum's Division, arrived at Pont Rouge and took part in the Siege of Lille where it was initially posted between Rouchin and Thumesnil. In the night of 28 to 29 September, a French detachment marching from Douai tried to break through the line of circumvallation to bring ammunition and gunpowder to Lille. Most of the detachment had already crossed the barrier when the guards finally realised that they were indeed French troops. The Palatine Wittgenstein Dragoons and Hahn Dragoons, dressed only in their shirts, opened a fierce fire on the intruders. Nevertheless the Chevalier de Luxembourg managed to enter Lille by the Malades Gate with 1,500 horse and 40,000 lbs of powder. However, the rest of the detachment had to return to Douai.

In December, the Palatine troops marched by way of Bruxelles, Mecheln and Roermond to Palatine lands, where they took up their winter-quarters.


From 3 January to 25 February 1709, the regiment was in the County of Cologne. Once all supplies of the population had been used, it moved to its winter-quarters around Jülich.

On 28 May, the regiment, assigned to the corps of G.d.C. Count Vehlen, left Düsseldorf and marched by way of Roermond, Herenthals and Antwerp to Ghent.

By 17 June, the regiment had joined the main army in its camp between the Lys and Scheldt rivers. On 22 June, the regiment was in the camp of Prince Eugène's Army north-west of Lille, where it was deployed in the first line of the right wing . On 27 June, it marched to Tournai and took part in the Siege of Tournai.

On 11 September, the regiment took part in the Battle of Malplaquet. In September and October, during the Siege of Mons, the regiment was posted near Noirchin to cover the siege. After the surrender of Mons, it took up its winter-quarters on the Meuse River.


In 1710, the regiment was assigned to the corps of Count Vehlen. On 31 May, it reached the camp of Prince Eugène's army. At the end of May, after the surrender of Count Albergotti at Douai, the regiment was deployed in the first line of Prince Eugène's Army.

In an order of battle of Prince Eugène's Army dating from July, the regiment was deployed in the first line of the right wing.

On 14 November, when the Allied army took up its winter-quarters, the regiment went to Jülich-Berg.


On 30 April 1711, the regiment, still attached to the corps of Count Vehlen, reached the camp of the main army at Orchies. Vehlen's Corps only took part in small actions (Klein-Krieg).

On 14. June, the regiment marched with Vehlen's Corps by way of Rumillies-Melles, Soignies, Nivelles, Tirlemont, Maastricht, Düren, Jülich and Andenach to Koblenz, where it crossed the Rhine on 9 July. It then campaigned on the Upper Rhine.

In August, Vehlen's Corps (including the present regiment) remained in and behind the Lines of Wissembourg.

In mid-November, the regiment marched to Frankfurt and then to its assigned winter-quarters in the County of Jülich-Berg.


In 1712, the regiment supposedly spent the whole year in the County of Jülich-Berg, and saw no action. However, one squadron of the regiment is reported at the Siege of Landrecies in July and August.


At the end of May 1713, the regiment marched to Prince Eugène's camp, after having been stationed in the counties of Jülich and Cologne since November 1711.

In mid-June, when the French attacked the Rheinschanze, the regiment (now only two squadrons) was posted near Mannheim.

In mid-August, Count Vehlen with all Palatine troops (including the present regiment) crossed the Neckar River and marched to Gernsheim and Hofheim.

In September, when Count Vehlen took position near the Lines of Ettlingen, the regiment was posted at Lorsch.

During winter, the regiment, along with Hahn Dragoons and the Leibregiment zu Pferd, was posted in Mannheim, Ladenburg, Freudenheim, Habitzheim, Boxberg and Seckenheim.


In 1714, even before the signing of peace, all Palatine regiments were reduced. The Wittgenstein Dragoons now numbered only 210 men in two squadrons, for a total of six companies.



Uniform in 1705 - Copyright: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
as per Bezzel and Hall

Headgear black tricorne laced yellow
Neck stock black
Coat red with ash-grey lining; copper buttons along the right side
Collar none
Shoulder strap no information found
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 copper buttons
Cuffs ash-grey, each with 3 copper buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat ash-grey
Breeches white
Leather Equipment
Cross-belt buff leather
Waist-belt buff leather
Cartridge Box black
Scabbard 'no information found
Footgear low riding boots
Horse Furniture
Saddle-cloth red edged with an ash-grey braid
Housings red edged with an ash-grey braid
Blanket roll red cloak with ash-grey lining and an ash-grey collar

Troopers were armed with a sword, a musket and a pair of pistols.

The riding mantle was red with ash-grey lining and an ash-grey collar.


NCOs wore the same uniform as the troopers but were distinguished by a yellow braid bordering the cuffs.


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Bezzel, O.: Geschichte des Kurpfälzischen Heeres, Bayrisches Kriegsarchiv, IV. File, part 1 and 2, Munich 1925

Feldzüge des Prinzen Eugen von Savoyen, Spanischer Successions-Krieg I. ser. IV. file, Viena 1877

Goldberg, Claus-Peter and Robert Hall: War of the Spanish Succession 1701-1714 – Electorate Palatine under Elector Johann Wilhelm 1690-1716, s.l., 2003

N.B.: the section Service during the War is also partly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.


Harald Skala the initial version of this article