Monday, 23 March 2015


Here is the Commander in Chief of the Hessian Army – the Erbprince (Crown prince),  assisted by Lieutenant-General Prince Christian Ludwig of Isenburg-Birstein. On the base is also a Calvinist pastor reading the Scriptures to his bored looking congregation. The Erbprinz has converted to Catholicism and so is perhaps less than attentive and Prince Christian just looks thoughtful.

Prince Frederick, the Erbprinz and future Landgrave Frederick II, converted to Catholicism in 1749 and this army is designed for the mid 1750s and this caused something of a difficulty in the Calvinist state (see my early post on this blog titled Landgrave William VIII). Frederick is in his early 30s age-wise.

His companion is, on the other hand, a seasoned old military salt probably sent by the Erbprinz’s father to keep an eye on his son and make sure he does not do anything foolish with the Landgraviate’s major money-spinning asset – it’s army. Christian Ludwig von Isenburg-Birstein was born on October 10 1710 in Birnstein. He was the son of Prince Wolfgang Ernst I of Isenburg and Budingen and Princess Friederike Elisabeth von Leiningen-Dagsburg. In January 1741, he was appointed Chef of the Reiter Regiment von Diemar (K4). In 1746, he was apppointed major-general and in 1750 lieutenant-general and Kommandeur of the Hessian Corps in the Low Countries and, later, of the 8,000 strong Hessian Corps stationed in England during 1756. A close friend of the Landgrave, he left the army in 1757 and was awarded “Ritter des Deutschen Orden”. His younger brother (who was killed at the battle of Bergen in the SYW), commands the Grenadier brigade.

Finally, uniforms. The Erbprinz wears the colonel’s uniform of his own Infantry Regiment (IR7) and Prince Christian wears the colonel’s uniform of the 4th Horse Regiment mentioned above. Two of the portraits show the Erbprinz post 1760 when he has become Landgrave of Hessen Kassel. The third portrait shows a much younger Erbprinz in his Prussian Infantry uniform but I don’t think he would have worn this uniform when he was on the field commanding Hessian soldiers.

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