Seckendorff-Aberdar Infantry

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> Dutch Army >> Seckendorff-Aberdar Infantry

Origin and History

In 1701, the Margrave of Ansbach, Georg Friedrich, commissioned three regiments to the service of the Dutch Republic. These were the infantry regiments Jahnus von Eberstätt, Seckendorff-Aberdar and the Schmettau Dragoons. For an infantry regiment, the margrave probably saved 70,000 fl. a year in costs (pay, rations).

Seckendorff (1652-1723) was an experienced officer, who had served Electoral Brandenburg and Brandenburg-Ansbach on the Rhine, in Hungary and Sicily.

Seckendorff's regiment was newly raised, Jahnus' just supplemented, as show the effective numbers in March: Seckendorff 393 men, Jahnus 517, with a target of 840 men in ten companies plus staff. Recruitment was not easy; the Margrave and his officers repeatedly resorted to more or less legal means to get personnel: beatings, drink, etc. This led so far that 30 to 40 servants from Ansbach, fearing to be forced into service, retreated to Nuremberg territory to inns and gardens.

According to lists for Jahnus/Castell between 1701 and 1708, the full complement of a company comprised:

  • 1 captain
  • 1 lieutenant
  • 1 ensign
  • 2 sergeants
  • 1 clerk (Musterschreiber)
  • 3 corporals
  • 3 drummers or fifers
  • 3 Fourierschützen (“Jungen”)
  • 8 Gefreite
  • 64 privates

A grenadier company was raised after arrival in the Netherlands.

The regiments changed into States General service in April, but did not march until June – although they were still not fully recruited. The attempt to recruit Ansbach citizens as replacement recruits until after the Dutch had mustered the units had had little success. And the Dutch muster commissioners knew all the tricks; the units to be mustered were surrounded and unsightly men, the Ansbachers had detached to guard posts as a precautionary measure, had to be relieved and subjected to the muster.

Service for the Dutch turned out to be difficult, not least because of the poor and hesitant payment by various authorities – i.e. provinces. As early as August 1701, Seckendorff had to report that his men were only living on bread and water. He had to lay out money, later even pawning his own belongings and taking out a loan, in order to secure the supply of his unit. In early 1703, Seckendorff described his regiment as “unrecruited and ragged, without staff officers, with 40 sick and 150 recruits.” By mid-1704, it was “totally ruined.”

Probably because of the poor career prospects, Seckendorff sold his regiment to Count Carl Friedrich Gottlieb von Castell-Remlingen (who had been just captain in 1701) on 1 March 1707. Castell (1679-1743), owned the regiment probably at least until 1713.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the proprietors of the regiment were:

  • from 1701: Johann Philipp von Seckendorff-Aberdar
  • from1 March 1707: Count Carl Friedrich Gottlieb von Castell-Remlingen (promoted to brigadier in 1707, appointed Polish-Saxon general in 1728)

After a short appearance in Saxon service from 1713 (in 1717 known as Seydlitz), the regiment was amalgamated in 1717 with the regiment Kavanagh (ex Jahnus), returning from Saxon service. In the same year it went to the Emperor. There it remained as regiment Margrave Wilhelm Friedrich von Brandenburg-Ansbach (reporting red facings in 1717), in 1767 No. 26.

Service during the War

In 1701, the first stationing place of the regiment was Nijmegen.

In the summer of 1702, the regiment went to Flanders to observe Tallard. At the end of August, it was at the attack on Venlo (stormed the place on 18 September). In October, the regiment took part in the siege of Roermond and remained there as a garrison until the end of February 1703.

At the end of February 1703, with Goor’s Dutch corps, the regiment marched to the Upper Rhine and the Bühl-Stollhofen lines, then moved to Augsburg.

On 2 July 1704, at the storming of the Schellenberg, Seckendorff lost at least 169 men dead or wounded, two captains were killed, four wounded (for comparison: Heydebrecht lost only three officers dead, missing or wounded and 26 men dead/missing and 26 wounded). The regiment was present at the siege of Rain am Lech (July 12), at the second battle of Höchstädt/Blenheim (August 13) and the short siege of Saarburg (November).

In July 1705, the regiment campaigned in the Spanish Netherlands. It was at the bombardment of Huy.

In 1706 and 1707, the regiment was on duty as the garrison of Liège.

There is no research yet for the time after the sale to Count Castell. In any case, Castell reported from Lyck at the beginning of 1708, and from Tournai and Mons in 1709.



Uniform Details
Fusilier probably the usual tricorne
Grenadier black (as Seckendorff couldn‘t get white) “Indian” bearskin, blue bag edged with an orange braid
Neck stock orange
Coat blue; button-holes with orange lace
Collar no information available
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none
Pockets no information available
Cuffs orange
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat blue
Breeches blue
Stockings orange
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt no information available
Waistbelt no information available
Cartridge Pouch (grenadiers): leather, with four metal flames bearing the margrave‘s cipher (CEMZB)
Bayonet Scabbard no information available
Scabbard no information available
Footwear no information available

Note: as information on uniform details is rather sketchy (to say the least), we are painting ex ungue leonem: the description of the grenadier cap and some entries in an inventory only serve as sources. “The cap is blue and laced in orange, the Captain‘s made of velvet and embroidered in gold, I hope to make a good parade with it” (Seckendorff)

… made from “Indian undyed black bearskin, the cover from double blue raw Kirsey …, braided with orange lace, orange tassels and sweatband and a felt hat inside” (invoice, each cap costing 3 fl. 57 x. 2 Pf., equalling nearly one month‘s pay)

In the inventory orange-white tassels are mentioned, which might be intended for the hat-band, musicians, button-holes or whatever, or even for some other regiment.


Polearm of Dutch pattern.

Fourier: uniform laced silver.


Cartridge-pouch (grenadiers) covered in velvet with gold lace, the captain‘s embroidered gold, the strap the same.


no information available


Dutch authorities remarked, that more than three colours were too much.


Roider, Klaus: Fragmente zum Brandenburg-Ansbacher Subsidienregiment Seckendorff 1701-1707. VfZ-Magazin März/April 2014, pp. 16-19; Nochmals zum Ansbacher Infanterieregiment Seckendorff. VfZ-Magazin Mai/Juni 2015, p. 20.

Sicken, Bernhard: Truppenstärke und Militäretat des Fürstentums Ansbach um 1730. In: JhVMfr 84/1967-1968, pp. 60-82

Willax, Franz: Johann Philipp von Seckendorff-Aberdar (1652-1723). In: JffL 56/1996 pp. 283-305

Willax, Franz: Das Fürstentum Brandenburg-Ansbach und der Fränkische Kreis im Spanischen Erbfolgekrieg. Die Karriere des Generals Leberecht Gottfried Jahnus von Eberstädt vom ansbachischen Offizier zum General Peters des Großen. Ansbach 2003.


Klaus Roider for the initial version of this article