Sailing to Savannah. Georgia, 1778

The large body of primary sources that was produced by members of the German corps includes assorted visual material. Most of the images are maps but there are also a few visual representations of landscapes and objects. The drawing included with this post comes from the diary of a Hessian soldier, Johannes Reuber.

Born in 1759 in Niedervellmar near Kassel, Johannes Reuber was seventeen years old when he went to America as a member of the Hessian grenadier regiment under the command of Colonel Johann Rall. Reuber kept a diary that details his experiences from January 1, 1776, the day he was ordered to report for duty, to his return to Germany in November 1783. The account is remarkable for a number of reasons. For one, it is the only known diary that was penned by a common soldier belonging to the German corps. In addition, Reuber participated in a number of significant events involving Hessian troops, including the capture of the garrison at Trenton and the British expedition into the Southern provinces in 1778.

Johannes Reuber embellished his diary with several illustrations. Some depict towns and other sites in America, including what he identified as “Drin Daun” (Trenton) and “Schärlles Daun” (Charleston). However, the majority are renderings of warships, including a drawing of the fleet that went from New York to Georgia in the fall of 1778. The expedition under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell included around 900 men belonging to the two Hessian regiments Trümbach (originally von Rall, then successively called von Wöllwarth, von Trümbach, and d’Angelleli) and Wissenbach (after 1780 called Knoblauch), both under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Friedrich von Porbeck. Within days of their arrival at Tybee Island, Georgia in December 1778, the corps overtook the American defenses at Savannah.

ENGLISH TRANSLATION

… on 17 November 1778, the Grenadier Regiment Rall and the Regiment Wissenbach belonging to the Hessians, along with 3,000 Englishmen, set sail for South America to Savannah in the province of Georgia.

TRANSCRIPTION

… das Rallische grenadier Regimend, und das regimend Wissenbach von den Hessen und 3000 engeländer und fuhren den 17 Nobr 1778 auch glücklich in die See nach Sütt america in die provintzeS Georgia nach Savanna

Citation: Tagebuch des Grenadiers Johannes Reuber, Universitätsbibliothek Kassel, Landesbibliothek und Murhardsche Bibliothek der Stadt Kasse, 8° Ms. Hass. Nr. 46/1.

Image: The Battle of the Chesapeake, 5 September 1781, credited to The Mariners’ Museum, accessed at https://www.usni.org/magazines/naval-history-magazine/2016/october/american-independence-and-naval-factor.

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