According to Dr. Lewis's book, Neptune's Militia, page 89, the Germans/Hessians were all members of regiments or units that had surrendered with John Burgoyne at Saratoga on October 17, 1777. They had been in captivity for about five years at this point in time, so there was a bond or cohesiveness between them. There were no more teenagers among them as there had been when their respective regiments had sailed for the rebellious colonies in 1776. Again, according to Neptune's Militia, there were four regiments that were represented among these "volunteers". The Regiment Erbprinz was represented by thirty, at least, with the von Reidesel Regiment being represented by fourteen. The balance of these troops were made up of members from Lt. Col. de Menges Battalion of Grenadiers and the von Specht Regiment.
(Note: There are mentioned in the list below "musketiers" of the Regiment Erbprinz (29 men), the Regiment von Reidesel (14 men), and the Regiment von Specht (3 men). There are also mention of the Regiment Waldeck (2 men) who would have been picked up in Havana, Cuba by Commodore Gillon as well as a single man listed as belonging to the Regiment Brunswick - Christoph Bohnsack. This accounts for all 49 of the men listed here, using the section of Dr. Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, entitled "Appendix: Crew and Marines of the South Carolina" (pages 135-170). On page 89, Dr. Lewis states that Commodore Gillon signed on "... some 50 German prisoners to serve as marines aboard the South Carolina." This is an approximate count only and 49 men are listed in the appendix. The text then goes on the say that "some" of the balance of "...some fifty German prisoners..." were made up of men from the Regiment von Specht (3 men) and from "... Lt. Col. de Menges's Battalion of Grenadiers". A search of Philip R. N. Katcher's work, Encyclopedia of British, Provincial, and German Army Units, 1775-1783,(Stackpole Books, 1973) reveals no unit by this latter designation nor does it mention a commander by this name - de Menges. The writer of this blog consulted all of his Hessian sources (books) and found nothing by the above cited unit designation or a German commanding officer by the specified name of "de Menges". But, in two of the Hessian sources, he did find mention of a "Lt. Col. von Menges or von Mengen", mention that he did command "Grenadiers", and that he was captured with Gen. John Burgoyne's army at Saratoga, NY. In the first source, Letters From America: Being Letters of Brunswick, Hessian, and Waldeck Officers with the British Armies During the Revolution, translated by Ray W. Pettengill (Houghton Mifflin Co., 1924) in a letter entitled, "VIII: From a Brunswick Officer in Cambridge: October 10, 1778", page 146, there is a description of the various divisions of prisoners and their setting out for Virginia from Cambridge, MA. In the first division, it clearly states that "... von Menge's Grenadier Battalion ..." as setting out with the first division of Convention Army prisoners. In the second source, German Allied Troops: In the North American War of Independence, 1776-1783, translated and edited by Max von Eelking (Joel Munsell's Sons, Publishers., 1893) reports the same march to Virginia but, states that "Major von Mengen" was in command of the entire first division of prisoners rather than only the "Grenadiers" as cited in the first source. Later, in the same source on page 251, it is stated that "In October (1782), Lieut.-Col. v. Mengen arrived in Quebec with some of the exchanged officers from Virginia." These are the only references to this individual officer or his commanded unit of "Grenadiers". But, it seems that from these citations, there was a "von Menges or Mengen", that he did command a unit (battalion) of Grenadiers, and did march with the "Convention Army" from Boston to Virginia. But, for our purposes and those of the frigate South Carolina, how many of his unit signed on board the frigate in the summer of 1782 and who were they? The bulk of the men were from either the Regiment Erbprinz or the Regiment von Reidesel. Dr. Lewis states in Neptune's Militia, page 89, that the balance of the marines were made up of men from the Regiment von Specht and von Menges (Mengen) Grenadiers Battalion. Regiment von Specht had three men who claimed association with it. This literally leaves a small, small handful of men to claim the Grenadier Battalion, certainly no more than 4-5 men total. This may well be found through more research or, sadly, it may be lost to history and the passage of time.)
(Note: The "AmRev ~ Hessian Mailing List Website, S#17 Ser. 23", pages 58-63 are purported to contain a list of 32 men of the Hesse-Hanau Regiment "...who entered service aboard an American warship." The date of this recruiting, 16 October 1782, firmly places this within the time period when Commodore Gillon and Captain John Joyner were recruiting for the frigate South Carolina. But, there may be two instances that would serve to discount these as being aboard the frigate South Carolina. First, there is no mention in Dr. Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, of the Hesse-Hanau Regiment as having contributed soldiers to the marine contingent on board the frigate South Carolina. The Hesse-Hanau Regiment was indeed with Gen. John Burgoyne and did surrender with the remainder of his army on October 17, 1777. But, again, there is no mention of the Hesse-Hanau Regiment having supplied troops as marines on board the frigate South Carolina. Second, there is no indication in this information that the "American warship" mentioned here is indeed the frigate South Carolina. There were instances of marines being employed from captive Hessian units on board other ships of the patriot cause. More than likely, this is the frigate South Carolina but, there is no way to know for sure.)
After the frigate South Carolina was taken into New York City, a board of investigation was formed by the Crown Forces, then occupying the city. This board of investigation was formed rather quickly after the frigate South Carolina was brought into harbor in New York. The dates given for its deliberations are January 1-4, 1783 ("Report on American Manuscripts in the Royal Institution of Great Britain", Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, His Majesties Stationary Office, 1907). The board of investigation was composed of three German officers representing three different Hessian regiments: Captain de Eschewege, of the Hesse-Hanau Regiment, Lieutenant Reinking of the Regiment von Riedesel, and Lieutenant de Eptingen of the Linsing Battalion. The purpose for this board of investigation was twofold. First, it was "...appointed to examine the causes of the German soldiers entering into the rebel service on board the frigate South Carolina." Second, it was to inquire as to the treatment received from the enemy." All the information this board gathered from interviewing the captive Hessians were written in the form of a deposition and sent to their higher military authorities. Their story, contained in this deposition, is an example of the types of conditions as well as pressures exerted on prisoners of war by the rebel jailers.
After the surrender at Saratoga on October 17, 1777, the prisoners collectively became known as the "Convention Army" and were marched to their various different prison camps. The Hessians were marched to either Lancaster or Reading, PA. At some point, and by American design, they were separated from their commissioned officers. They remained in these two locales as prisoners of war for almost the next five years. The following story is what the officers could gather from the interviewed men and all took place during the summer of 1782.
(Note: the following deposition and included information are contained in the "Report on American Manuscripts in the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, His Majesties Stationary Office, 1907.)
On July 30, 1782, the captive Hessians were visited by an American clergyman. There is a great possibility that the clergyman spoke German due to the fact that both of these towns are located in Pennsylvania where a large number of German-speaking settlers had made their homes and lives after coming to America. There is also the great possibility that either the clergyman was a Lutheran pastor or some other type of protestant clergyman that the prisoners of war would have recognized and respected. Several sources have cited the piety of the various German troops sent to the colonies to fight the rebels during the American Revolution. These were men who had a respect and inclination towards listening to clergymen and their advice. The clergyman read from a declaration specifically written to them. He said that, "The King of Great Britain refused to pay for their maintenance, their Tyrant princes also had abandoned and sold them, the Congress did therefore leave it to their choice, either to enlist in the American Service, or pay 30 pounds currency of Pennsylvania for their past maintenance in hard money, which sum if they would not afford to pay, the farmers would advance for them on binding themselves to serve them for three years, in both cases they must take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States." This clergyman did strongly advise them to "...enter into military service , than submit to the disposal of the farmers, to which he added, that everyone who should enlist as a soldier, was to receive eight dollars bounty, and one hundred acres of good land in America after the war." The deposition simply states that, "No answer was given to this..." by the prisoners of war.
(Note: As to the mention of the "clergyman" referred to in the above incident, there was another direct reference to this episode in America Goes to War: A Social History of the Continental Army, Charles Patrick Neimeyer, New York University Press, 1997, page 60. The reference states that a Hessian officer identified 50 Hessian prisoners of war on board the captured Continental frigate South Carolina. These prisoners of war were members of the "Convention Army" and had been held in captivity for over five years by this point in time. That these same prisoners of war had enlisted themselves as crew members at the prisons at Lancaster and Reading. The reference cites that "Baron von Lossberg reported to the Landgrave that these men enlisted at the behest of a German minister who advised them that 'neither the King of England nor their own Princes would pay for their maintenance, or interest themselves in the least in their fate." This source definitely identifies the "clergyman" as a "German minister". His content is exactly the same as the earlier source cites, though this second source says nothing about the visit of the two American generals after wards. Also, the Neimeyer source misidentifies the frigate South Carolina as a "Continental" frigate rather than a frigate in the service of the State of South Carolina.)
(Note: The following information is gathered from the "GenForum of Genealogy.com under the heading of the Hinkel Family Genealogy Forum for the entry of 'Philip Hinckel - Who Paid the $80 for His Indenture'". This was posted by Mildred Clark on April 1, 2011. I may have an answer to this lady's question of who would have been responsible for posting the fee of $80.00 to get her Hessian ancestor out of the prison at Reading, PA in late 1782. I truly hope that this bit of information/speculation on my part might possibly assist her in her further genealogical research. Philip Hinckel (or Hinkel) is referred to in two documents according to Ms. Clark's research. Both of these documents can be found on the "AmRev ~ Hessian Mailing List Website". The first document is listed as S#100, p.206 and lists Philip Hinckel as a prisoner in October 1782 and that he "sold himself" on October 16, 1782. This would indicate that Philip Hinckel was a Hessian prisoner of war at the time that they were being pressured to take enlistment on board the frigate South Carolina by Commodore Alexander Gillon. The second document is listed as S#17, p. 17 lists Philip Hinckel as a private from Ruedigheim. In this citation, Philip Hinckel is also listed as being somewhere in Virginia and there is no date attached to the citation. These still do not indicate whether or not he signed on board the frigate South Carolina as a marine like so many of his comrades did. But, the possible answer to Ms. Clark's question may lie in her original question as it was posed by her on April 1, 2011. Her question was: "Who paid the $80 for the three year indenture of Philip Hinckel (Philip Hinkel) of Reading Prison?" The paragraph above concerning the "American clergyman" has him stating that anyone who could not afford to pay the 30 pounds currency of Pennsylvania for their past maintenance while in prison, could have that paid off by a farmer who would then bind them to work for them for a period of three years. No such conditions existed for those who signed on board the frigate South Carolina as marines. It seems logical to assume that Philip Hinckel chose to remain loyal to his Prince back in Europe in one of the German states and allowed himself to be indentured to a local farmer rather than sign on board the frigate South Carolina as a marine. But, the story does not end there. It also appears from Ms. Clark's research that Philip Hinckel settled in Pennsylvania and bought land from Joseph Heister who later became the Governor of Pennsylvania. This land was located in Quakake Valley, now part of Carbon County, PA. Thus, Philip Hinckel may not have signed on board the frigate South Carolina as a marine but, it appears that he did choose to make his future life here in the United States of America after the war, just as over 4,000 other Hessians did, too.)
(Note: Some earlier research just located by this blog writer sheds a bit more detail on Philip Hinckel. This information comes from RootsWeb.com and is contributed by "Clark" (perhaps Mildred Clark) on January 6, 2006 under the entry name of: "Philip Hinkel/Hinckel, Hessian Soldier b 1755 Ruedigheim". He was evidently born in 1755 in Ruedigheim (present-day Neuberg, Germany, located about 10 kilometers north of Hanau, Hessen, Germany) and has been confused with another Philip Hinckel who served in the same regiment and the same time. But, unlike the Philip Hinckel who is the subject here, the second Philip Hinckel did return to the German States after the war. According to the Ancestry.com - Family History & Genealogy Message Board under the entry of "Philipp Hinckel, Hessian soldier born Ruedigheim" by Mildred Clark and contributed on January 10, 2006, the Philip Hinckel being spoken of here was a Musketier (private) on the muster rolls of the 4th Company of the Erbprinz Regiment from Hesse-Hanau. His regiment departed for Quebec in April 1776 and arrived on June 3, 1776. His regiment was attached to the British Army under Burgoyne that moved south out of Canada down the Hudson River in an attempt to capture Albany, NY and sever the rebellious New England colonies from the rest of the colonies. He was captured along with the remnants of his regiment on October 17, 1777. He was marched as a prisoner to Camp Winterhill outside Boston and kept there for two years. In November 1778 the regiment was marched to Charlotteville, VA and arrived at the new prison camp in January 1779. Philip seems to have effected his escape in July 1781, though is listed as "deserted" in the muster rolls. He was recaptured and brought back to camp. The document then states that, "on October 16, 1782 he indentured himself as hired labor for 3 years to gain his release." These two sources, both cited above, indicate that Philip Hinckel chose to indenture himself to a local farmer rather than sign on board the frigate South Carolina as a marine. As a matter of fact, these two sources do not even mention the frigate South Carolina or Commodore Gillon's address to the captured Hessians. But, he would have certainly been present when the Commodore spoke to the assembled prisoners of war and thus, would have had a choice. He must have still been with his Erbprinz Regiment in captivity when they were approached by Commodore Gillon and addressed in their native tongue of German concerning the benefits of entering into service as a marine on board the frigate South Carolina. He simply chose not to take advantage of this opportunity and sought another means of relief from his cramped quarters and bad food ration. In the process, he found his new home because he next appears in the 1790 Berks Township, Berks County, PA Census and in the Schwartzwald Reformed Church records of a Reverend Boos. It is also noted that he married Catharine Medlar/Medler/Metler about 1783, possibly also in Berks County, PA. One can only assume that his indenture in Pennsylvania in October 1782 led to his new life here in America.)
Slightly more than a week later, on August 8, 1782, the captive Hessians received two visitors rather than one. These visitors were General Benjamin Lincoln and Brigadier General Moses Hazen. They delivered the very same proposal but, with a bit more forcefully and succinctly. They said, "That provisions could no longer be allowed to them as their army was in want thereof, they must either therefor accept one or the other of the above mentioned propositions." The prisoners "...begged leave to send sergeants to New York to inquire into the truth of their situation and ask orders." At the same time, the deposition records that many of the prisoners at Reading were removed from the barracks there and taken to the jail where they were "...either shut in the yard or crowded into rooms where they could neither sit nor lie." Compounding the difficulties faced by these prisoners, they had to pay their jailers for water and fuel and their daily allowance of food "...consisted of 10 ozs. of bread and 10 of meat generally rotten and unfit to eat." Other Hessian sources have cited that when recruiting parties were due in certain jails or prisons with the intent of recruiting among the prisoners of war, that food and accommodations suddenly became much worse than usual.
According to the statements given by the men that formed this written deposition, "...as to the serving on the [frigate] South Carolina, they had been urged to do this by the American Commodore for six months, after which time they were assured they would have their liberty and allowed to go where they pleased." This "American Commodore" is almost certainly a direct reference to Commodore Alexander Gillon. Gillon was fluent in both Dutch and German and could have easily and forcefully made a plea for the service of the Hessian prisoners of war on board the frigate South Carolina. Even "...many of the King's friends advised them to do this in the hope that the frigate would soon be taken by the King's ships." Where and how these prisoners of war would have had contact with "the King's friends" or loyalists is somewhat interesting. These could have been local people who kept quiet about their true sentiments during the war or possibly, even spies who stayed close to the Hessian prisoners as they saw the war drawing down to a conclusion. This deposition concludes with the statement that "...At the end [of this deposition] is [the] translation of the letter said to be written by the prisoners at Lancaster to Sergeant Vaupel at Reading the 22nd September begging him to write a letter to New York describing their situation, and that without money or clothing they cannot hold out much longer, but must enlist with the enemy or indent themselves to the farmers." There is no more after this. It is uncertain how many of the German prisoners of war, if any, indentured themselves to the farmers of the environs of Lancaster and Reading. But, at least 50 of these same Hessians chose to enlist as marines on board the frigate South Carolina.
The following information comes from the section entitled "Appendix: Crew and Marines of the South Carolina" contained in James A. Lewis's book, Neptune's Militia: The Frigate South Carolina during the American Revolution, (The Kent State University Press, 1999). This will be an attempt to use this appendix and record the individual names, ranks and regiments of all the Hessian soldiers who signed on as marines for the last, brief voyage of the frigate South Carolina.
Heinrich Behrens musketier Regiment von Reidesel
Christoph Bohnsack musketier Regiment Brunswick
Caspar Borner musketier Regiment Erbprinz
Johann Brunig musketier Regiment von Specht
Carlos Clain recruiter Regiment Waldeck
Heinrich Cresz musketier Regiment Erbprinz
Heinrich Dorges musketier Regiment von Reidesel
Henry Dreger ------------- Regiment von Reidesel
Heinrich Dreyer musketier Regiment von Reidesel
Paul Goebel musketier Regiment Erbprinz
Wilhelm Grimm musketier Regiment von Reidesel
Christoph Hennecke musketier Regiment von Reidesel
Heinrich Hentzel ------------- Regiment Erbprinz
Adam Hentzler musketier Regiment Erbprinz
Jonas Holtzemer musketier Regiment Erbprinz
Nicholaus Horn musketier Regiment Erbprinz
Michael Huffner musketier Regiment Erbprinz
Caspar Kitz musketier Regiment Erbprinz
George Klinckerfus musketier Regiment Erbprinz
Nicholaus Lohmuller musketier Regiment Erbprinz
Frederich Lohsecke musketier Regiment von Specht
George Lotz musketier Regiment Erbprinz
Johannes Manckel musketier Regiment Erbprinz
Heinrich Mertz musketier Regiment Erbprinz
Heinrich Meyer musketier Regiment von Reidesel
Conrad Muller musketier Regiment Erbprinz
Heinrich Muller musketier Regiment Erbprinz
Christian Muller musketier Regiment Erbprinz
Phillip Muller musketier Regiment Erbprinz
Wilhelm Muller musketier Regiment Erbprinz
Heinrich Neil musketier Regiment von Reidesel
Daniel Neil musketier Regiment von Reidesel
Valentin Niedenthal musketier Regiment von Reidesel
Johann Pape musketier Regiment von Reidesel
Thomas Petry musketier Regiment Erbprinz
August Reichers musketier Regiment von Reidesel
Adam Ritter musketier Regiment von Specht
Heinrich Schilling musketier Regiment Erbprinz
Carl Schott musketier Regiment Erbprinz
Johannes Seiler musketier Regiment Erbprinz
Wilhelm Sohl musketier Regiment Erbprinz
Philip Sterleper musketier Regiment Erbprinz
Julien Tittle musketier Regiment von Reidesel
Heinrich Treutter musketier Regiment Erbprinz
Johan Unger ------------- Regiment Erbprinz
Enrique Veber soldier Regiment Waldeck
Caspar Vetter musketier Regiment Erbprinz
August Wettlaufer musketier Regiment von Reidesel
Johan Zipf musketier Regiment Erbprinz
These are the individual marines who we know of by name, rank and regimental affiliation. In some case, the ranks are unusual like "recruiter", "soldier" or even blank with no rank given. I am sure that the spellings of some of the names are probably incorrect or "good educated guesses" at best. There are 49 names listed here, which easily falls into the estimate of "about 50 Hessian marines" being found among the captive crew of the frigate South Carolina after the British had taken the captured frigate into New York harbor.
(Note: Philip Hinckel's name does not appear among the Hessians soldiers listed here. This further strengthens the argument that he chose instead of enlisting with the forces of the rebels to indenture himself to a local farmer. Nonetheless, his experience is that of the majority of the Hessian prisoners of war that did not sign on board the frigate South Carolina. He chose a different way of getting free of the prison camp and insuring his survival until the end of the war. Thus, he began his journey towards his new home.)
(Note: In looking through the list of Hessian marines on board the frigate South Carolina, one sees names that are very similar to each other, yet different enough that one can be relatively certain that these are not the same individual who has been listed twice. Except in one instance, that of Henry Dreger and Heinrich Dreyer. "Henry" is the English equivalent of the German "Heinrich" and Dreger and Dreyer are close enough to each other to be confused. Both of them are listed as being members of the Regiment von Reidesel. One is listed as being a "musketier" (private) and the other one is cited as one of the few from the list for whom no rank is given. This could easily be a single man listed twice under two similar names.)
Three of the individuals who appear in this list of Hessian marines on board the frigate South Carolina are not from one of the four regiments/battalion that are cited as being one of the major contributors to the Hessian marine contingent on board the frigate. Two of these men are cited as being from the Regiment Waldeck - Carlos Clain and Enrique Veber. Dr. Lewis in his work, Neptune's Militia, explains that the Regiment Waldeck was captured at Pensacola, FL in May 1781 (ibid, page 88) and that the prisoners of war were being held in Havana, Cuba when he and the frigate South Carolina arrived there in January 12, 1782 (ibid, page 52). Their names are rather unusual for Germans - Carlos Clain and Enrique Veber. This blog writer has seen other instances where the Spanish would record/transcribe a person's name in their own manner by using the equivalent of the first name in Spanish and transcribing the last name as best they could using Spanish letters and sounds. Thus, Carlos Clain could easily be Carl Klein and Enrique Veber could easily be Heinrich Weber. What is rather interesting is that the first individual is listed as a "recruiter" and the second individual is listed as a "soldier". There are three other soldiers listed that have no rank listing but, the rest of the remaining 44 listed are marked as being "musketiers" or privates.
The above mentioned point, of most of the Hessian soldiers being listed as "musketiers" or privates in rank, brings up an interesting fact. This information was gleaned from the "Report on American Manuscripts, 1907" cited in one of the above earlier paragraphs and comes from the interviews/interrogations of the recaptured Hessians taken with the frigate South Carolina. The men all testified to the fact that after their capture with Gen. Burgoyne's army, they were marched either to Lancaster or Reading, PA and incarcerated there for five years. They made special note that at some point in time they were separated from their officers. If one looks through the list above of the 49 Hessians found on board the frigate South Carolina, one can see that all the men list themselves as "musketiers" or privates in rank. None of the individuals list themselves as officers or NCOs. So, it begs the postulation that these men were not only separated from their officers but, also their NCOs. Either of these ranks could have been successful in maintaining some type of unit cohesion and assisting in maintaining esprit de corps within the captured units themselves. Thus, it seems likely that these men were separated from not only "their officers" but, also their NCOs so that no rank above "musketier" would have been represented. This could have made the men more prone or vulnerable to solicitations from the rebels to enlist in either their army or naval forces.