Schöpping Infantry

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Hesse-Kassel Army >> Schöpping Infantry

Origin and History

On 9 July 1701, Lieutenant-Colonel Melchior von Schöpping was tasked with forming a new battalion of 5 companies to replace the two regiments (Prince Karl and Anhalt) sent to the Netherlands,. Lieutenant-Colonel von Schöpping was recalled from his post in the Prince Wilhelm Regiment. The new battalion was to have a strength of 375 men, and the troops were to be recruited partly by recruitment and partly by contributions from other regiments:

Even though Hessians and foreigners were used for recruitment, the majority of the men came from Hesse. The recruitment of criminals was prohibited. Recruitment under duress was also forbidden, and in case of non-compliance, the recruiters had to reckon with their dismissal. As hand money, also called "incentive money", the Hessians were granted 1 guilder, but the foreigners 2-3 thalers.

Since the need for men for the army was great, a general pardon was issued for all deserters. At the same time, a certain number of men between the ages of 16 and 50 who were healthy and fit for military service had to be recruited from all municipalities. Care had to be taken to ensure that the levy did not have too great an impact on the business and income of their families. Each recruit was conscripted for military service for 4 years and, like the recruited Hessians, received 1 guilder in hand money.

The newly formed Schöpping Battalion was to be quartered in the four villages of Eschwege, Rotenburg, Wanfried and Sontra. These were comparatively many villages for a troop that numbered only 258 men on 11 October 1701.

After the treaty with England and the Dutch Republic was concluded on 7 February 1702, all existing battalions were increased into regiments of 10 companies each, organised in two battalions. Since each company was to be 87 men strong, a regiment numbered a total of 870 men. On 8 May 1702, the present regiment consisted of 689 men, of whom 447 men had been recruited and 137 men had been raised. The respective company owners were:

  1. (Leib-)Company: Colonel Melchior von Schöpping
  2. Company: Lieutenant-Colonel Johann Christoph von Berlepsch
  3. Company: Major Johann Kaspar Heßler
  4. Company: Captain Jost Adam von Buttler
  5. Company: Captain Johann Ernst von Behr
  6. Company: Captain Kaspar-Heinrich von Westphalen
  7. Company: Captain Johann Ludwig von Hoff
  8. Company: Captain Ludwig Anton von Berlepsch
  9. Company: Captain Christoph-Rabe-Georg von Papenheim
  10. Company: Captain Johann Wolff von Buchenau

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

  • from 1701: Colonel Melchior von Schöpping (killed in action at the Battle of the Schellenberg in 1704)
  • from 1704 to 1718: Colonel Kasimir Heinrich von Exterde

In 1789, the regiment was amalgamated with the Infanterieregiment No. 9.

Service during the War

1702

On 29 May 1702, the 26-year-old Hereditary Prince Frederick of Hesse-Kassel set out on the campaign with his corps, consisting of the foot regiments Grenadier, Leibgarde zu Fuß, Erbprinz Friedrich Infantry, Prinz Wilhelm Infantry, Löwenstein Infantry and Schöpping Infantry, as well as 2 cavalry regiments and 2 dragoon regiments.

In June, Kaiserswerth was besieged by a 22,000-strong force of Dutch, Prussians and various imperial troops, a 22,000-strong force undertook the Siege of Kaiserswerth. It was not until 11 June that the Hessian corps joined the Allies, so the participation of the troops was limited exclusively to the last three days of the siege. On the morning after arriving at the Allied camp, the entire corps was reviewed by Prince Wolrad of Nassau-Saarbrücken. At this review, Schöpping Infantry numbered 701 men. As early as 15 June, the French garrison of Kaiserswerth capitulated and was allowed to withdraw with all their weapons. The Hessians suffered a total of 6 men killed and 8 wounded, including 2 men killed and 2 wounded in the present regiment.

By July, the regiment formed part of the Allied army encamped at Nijmegen.

On 31 August, the strength of all 9 Hessian regiments in the corps of Hereditary Prince Frederick of Hesse-Kassel was 5,826 men, including 727 men for Schöpping Infantry.

Between June and October, the Allies besieged the city of Liège, which was occupied by the French, and forced it to surrender. The present regiment also took part in this siege. On 3 November, the Hessian corps, as well as several Dutch regiments, under the command of Hereditary Prince Frederick, set out for Mittelrein, where it captured Andernach and Sinzig and parts of the corps reinforced the besiegers in front of Bonn.

Towards the end of November, the Hessian corps took up quarters in Rheinfels and the surrounding area. Since the imperial commander of the fortress refused to open the gates, a blockade of several days had to be ordered. It was only on the highest orders of his master that the commander opened the gates on 29 November and let the allied troops in. The present regiment took up residence in Biebernheim, but was later assigned to the garrison of the Fortress of Rheinfels together with Löwenstein Infantry. Colonel Melchior von Schöpping was appointed commander of the fortress.

By December 31, the regiment numbered 651 men fit for service.

After the Elector of Bavaria allied himself with the French in December, there were fears that the Imperial Army commanded by the Margrave of Baden was not only facing two French corps totalling some 60,000 men, but could now also be threatened by the Bavarians in the rear. To reinforce the Imperial Army, a 9,000-strong auxiliary corps was sent under the Dutch Lieutenant-General Goor. This corps included the Hessian regiments Leibgarde zu Fuß, Prinz Wilhelm Infantry and Schöpping Infantry, all in Dutch pay.

1703

At the beginning of April 1703, the auxiliary corps arrived in the area around Lauterburg, where the imperial army had already occupied the Lines of Stollhofen. This fortification was 16 km long and ran from the Rhine, opposite Fort Louis, to the Sulzbach, along it, via Oberbühl and the village of Kappel to the edge of the Black Forest. On 16 April, the present regiment had a strength of 586 men and was stationed in the said fortifications. However, during the unsuccessful attack by the French on 23 and 24 April, the regiment did not take part in combat operations. The auxiliary corps under Lieutenant-General Goor remained there until August.

By mid-August, Goor's Corps had joined Baden’s Army, which was posted between the Zwergbach and the Egge River. It was deployed in the first line of the left wing, in Goor’s Brigade.

The regiment took up its winter-quarters near Tuttlingen and Reutlingen in Swabia.

1704

In May 1704, as part of General Goor's auxiliary corps, Schöpping Infantry moved into the allied camp at Rottweil. There, the Margrave of Baden gathered about 35,000 men, who later marched to Ehingen. Prince Eugène de Savoie also arrived there on 2 June. On 10 June, parts of the cavalry of the Dutch Army, under the command of the Duke of Marlborough, were already in Mundelsheim, about 15 km south of Heilbronn. The Hessian mercenary troops also moved to this position after they had left their winter-quarters between Mannheim and Philippsburg. By that time, the regiment numbered only 586 men in 10 companies.

On 2 July, to attack the entrenched Franco-Bavarian entrenchments near Donauwörth, all battalions of the Allies – including the Hessian battalions – had to contribute 1 staff officer, 2 captains, 1 lieutenant, 2 ensigns, 10 grenadiers and 120 fusiliers, from which a total of 15 ad hoc battalions of 390 men were formed. The rest of the present regiment was with the main force under the Margrave of Baden. The regiment then took part in the Battle of the Schellenberg, where it lost its commander Colonel Melchior von Schöpping, Lieutenant-Colonel Johann Christoph von Berlepsch, Captain Ludwig Anton Berlepsch and Lieutenant Briede.

On 19 July, Colonel Kasimir Heinrich von Exterde became the new commander of the regiment.

On 13 August, the regiment fought in the Battle of Blenheim, where it was deployed on the left wing of the Allies, under the command of Marlborough. Exterde Infantry was one of the 20 battalions of the 6th column. When the left wing deployed in two lines, the present regiment was posted in the first line. In this battle, Exterde Infantry lost 27 men killed (including 2 officers) and 56 wounded (including 3 officers).

On 2 October near Weißenburg, the regiment was visited by the Roman-German King Joseph, the future Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

The regiment took up its winter-quarters at Exterde in the vicinity of Trier.

1705

Throughout the campaign of 1705, the Hessian troops were part of Marlborough's forces.

In the Summer, Marlborough was prevented from carrying out the intended campaign along the Moselle. At the same time, the campaign in the Netherlands was not going satisfactorily, so Marlborough took care of it personally. On 17 July, by clever deception of the French commanders, he crossed the Little Geete and took the Lines of Tirlemont. However, repeated attempts by the Allies to force the French to abandon the Lines of the Dyle were unsuccessful.

By 22 July, the present regiment had a strength of 709 men. 612 men were fit for service, 65 were ill and 2 had deserted.

The Hessian corps initially set up its winter quarters in the Hunsrück, then on the Lower Moselle. The Leibgarde zu Fuß, Wilcke Infantry and Exterde Infantry marched home and took up their winter-quarters in Hesse.

1706

In June 1706, a Hessian Contingent, including the present regiment, set off for Italy. On 20 June, the contingent assembled at Neckarsulm.

On 10 August, 8 foot regiments and the Leibregiment arrived on at Sant Martino near Verona, where they were joined by Hereditary Prince Frederick of Hesse-Kassel. Prince Eugene had bypassed the French and intended to relieve besieged Turin. To protect his line of communication, he left the Hessian corps and some Imperial troops behind.

On September 8, the regiment fought in the Battle of Castiglione, where it was deployed in the first line. The losses of the Hessian corps were very high: 645 men killed or wounded, and about 622 men taken prisoner. The remaining troops retreated to Valeggio after the defeat.

All Hessian troops rallied in Verona.

In December, after all the fortifications in northern Italy, except Mantua and Cremona, were taken by the imperial troops, the Hessian corps went north of the Pizzighettone-Bordolano line to take its winter-quarters.

A report dated 19 December shows that the present regiment had an actual strength of 635 men. During the campaign, 24 men had been killed, 47 men had died, and 87 had deserted. In addition, another 56 men were sick or wounded. Of the officers, Lieutenants Pelizäus, von Fölkersamb and Füldner had been killed. Captain von Papenheim had been wounded.

1707

At the beginning of June 1707, the Allies assembled around 46,000 men between Turin and Cuneo for the planned offensive in Provence. The Hessian troops gathered at Vusca, about 16 km north of Cuneo.

On 30 June, the Hessian infantry set out from Vusca and arrived in front of Nice on 10 July. On 15 July, it marched on Toulon, arriving there on 26 July. The Allies then undertook the Siege of Toulon.

On the night of 22 August, the Allies retreated, with the Hessian corps forming the rearguard. Prince Eugene's entire force retreated by way of Nice and assembled between 11 and 16 September in the camp between Bigone and Scalenghe, about 30 km south-west of Turin.

The Hessians were assigned winter-quarters around Castiglione and Bozzolo. Landgrave Carl, however, insisted that his troops be repatriated, and they left Italy.

1708

At the end of January 1708, the Hessian Contingent arrived in Hesse from Italy.

On June 29, an allied army of 40,000 men advanced into the Maastricht area. On 11 July, Prince Eugène and Marlborough defeated the Duc de Bourgogne at the Battle of Oudenarde, after which the French were forced to retreat to Ghent. Two regiments, including the present regiment, and two squadrons of cavalry were given the task of covering and escorting the heavy artillery marching from Antwerp to Bruxelles.

In mid-August, when the Allies undertook the Siege of Lille, the regiment remained in Bruxelles with several other Hessian regiments. However, the present regiment was later called up for the siege.

On 21 October, the French defenders surrendered the city to the Allies and retreated to the citadel. On 23 October, the regiment escorted a supply convoy between Lille and Béthune.

On 8 December, the citadel of Lille capitulated to the Allies. During the siege the Hessian corps had 308 men killed and 784 wounded.

From 4 January 1709, Allied troops went into winter-quarters, the Hessians were in the area of Ghent.

1709

In mid-June 1709, the Allies rallied to lure the French out of their entrenchments. The Hessian troops took up position at Oudenarde, under the supreme command of Prince Eugène. When they failed to lure the French out of their positions, the Allies undertook the Siege of the Fortress of Tournai. The Exterde regiment did not take part in this siege, but was rather used to cover the supply lines until 21 July.

On 11 September the regiment took part in the Battle of Malplaquet, where it was deployed in the second line of the right wing. It fought in the terrible combat in the forest of Sars against the Irish and also the Bavarian-Cologne brigades. The enemy was finally driven put of this forest. In this sanguinary battle, the Hessian infantry suffered 103 men killed and 273 wounded. Ensign Anton Rudolf Lüder von Donop of the present regiment was killed. The Hessians captured a flag.

The Allies no longer had the strength to carry out a campaign into France, but after a short siege they captured the city of Mons. Immediately after the capture of Mons, the Allies took up winter-quarters, the Hessians all marched directly to their homeland.

1710

In 1710, the regiment took part in the Siege of Béthune, which led to the surrender of the defenders on 28 August.

The Allies did not achieve their main goal, the annihilation of the French army, and at the beginning of November they assembled at Lille to go from there to their winter-quarters. The present regiment was quartered in the villages of Brielle and Hellevoetsluis in the Maasdelte.

1711

In April 1711, when the news of Emperor Joseph's death reached the Allies, the regiment was with the troops of Marlborough.

From July to September, Marlborough's Army undertook the Siege of Bouchain which surrendered on 14 September.

The allied army remained in the area of Bouchain for some time. In October, it moved to its winter-quarters, the Hessians were quartered as in the previous year.

1712

The year 1712 was the last year of the War of the Spanish Succession, in which the Hessian troops participated.

For the summer, the regiment had been assigned to the garrison of Heusden, but in July it was back to the camp of the Allies.

On 24 July, when an Allied corps was defeated in the Battle of Denain, Prince Eugène appeared on the right bank of the Scheldt with 14 battalions, including the present regiment, to oppose the French and prevent them from advancing further. There must have been a combat, because the regiment lost 9 men killed and 45 wounded. The Allied Army was forced to retreat.

On 24 October, the army moved into its winter quarters, the Hessians marched back to their homeland and never returned to the Netherlands.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform Details
Headgear
Fusilier black felt tricorne
Grenadier no information found
Neck stock white cravate
Coat dark blue with white lining
Collar none
Shoulder Straps no information found
Lapels white
Pockets horizontal pockets low on the coat
Cuffs white
Turnbacks none (it seems that the basques of the coat could be turned back if needed but this was a rare practice during this period)
Waistcoat dark blue
Breeches leather
Stockings white woollen stockings
Leather Equipment
Cross-belt wide natural leather bandolier
Waist-belt natural leather worn above the coat
Cartridge Pouch large cartridge pouch
Bayonet Scabbard black with a brass tip
Scabbard black with a brass tip
Footwear black shoes with buckles fastened with a strap


Armaments consisted of a flintlock musket and a bayonet; and a sword. Each man also had a satchel made of calfskin, a powder horn, and a tin canteen was carried over the shoulder on a strap, and a pair of leather gloves.

In the Hessian infantry, the hair was worn loose and down to the shoulders, unlike the French, who tied the hair in a braid.

NCOs

no information found

Musicians

no information found

Officers

no information found

Colours

no information found

References

Böhm, Uwe Peter: Hessisches Militär: Die Truppen der Landgrafschaft Hessen-Kassel 1672-1806, Herausgegeben im Auftrag der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Heereskunde e.V., Beckum 1986, p. 44

Dalwigk, Friedrich Ludwig von: Geschichte der Waldeckischen Und Kurhessischen Stammtruppen des Infanterie-Regiments von Wittich Nr. 83: 1681 - 1866. Oldenburg: Littmann, 1909. pp. 176-226

Goldberg, Claus-Peter, und Jean Belaubre: Hessen-Kassel 1701-1714. Subsidien und Reischstruppen im Spanischen Erbfolgekrieg, Heft 16. Kaltenkirchen: GO international im Selbstverlag, 1995. pp.14-15

Witzel, Rudolf: Hessen Kassels Regimenter in der Allierten Armee 1762, bearb. u. hrsg. von Ingo Kroll, Norderstedt 2007, pp. 103-105

Zeitschrift des Vereins für hessische Geschichte und Landeskunde, Volume 8, Kassel 1860, p. 215

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

Acknowledgements

Jörg Meier for additional info on the commanders of the regiment

Björn Wiegand for a major overhaul of the article