Historical Unit

Historical Introduction / Jägers units 

Beginning in the 17th century, jägers were used in military campaigns, employed and organized under their regional game keepers and foresters for periodic military service. With developments in the concept of the “Kline krieg” / “Petit guerre” or small war used to describe skirmishing and irregular war, the value of permanent standing jäger units was acknowledged.


Jäger units would be used to fulfill the missions of screening, patrolling, reconnaissance and ambush.  With their knowledge of terrain, forest field craft, hunting and the use of aimed accurate rifle fire, these skilled foresters were well suited for use in this military role.  By 1648, the State of Hessia had included 3 companies of jägers;  "…dressed in green, their work clothes and equipped with daggers and rifles..."


An early account of the jägers use of aimed actuate fire was noted during the siege at Rijnberg in 1633 …


“Many are shott in peeping to see what the enemy doe betweene the musket baskets that stand on topp of the breast worke…let but the top of an old hatt appeare between the baskets and you shall have presently 3 or 4 bullets shott into it ...”


Prussia and other German allies first established permanent jäger units as part of their standing armies during the Silesian Wars in 1740. Most Germanic principalities, to include Anspach, followed Prussia’s lead by adding jäger units to the permanent army establishment.   Hesse Cassel established permanent jäger units in 1758 and developed the Jägers Corps as part of the Chasseurs d’ Armee ( Light Infantry Corps) which was comprised of elite Hessian line units and jägers trained in open order and aimed accurate fire.  This task-organized unit was employed as a coordinated maneuver element however, the Chasseur d' Armee along with the separate jäger units were disbanded after the Seven Years War leaving only a cadre jäger elements on the establishment.


In 1774, the total strength of the Hesse Cassel Jäger Company would increase to 102 men, becoming the source of the two Hessian jäger companies sent to North America in 1776. 


Ansbach Jager Units during the American Revolution War 


In February 1777, during a subsequent diplomatic mission to the German principalities, English Army Colonel William Faucitt, concluded a treaty with the Margrave of Ansbach-Bayreuth for Two Infantry Regiments (Eyb and Voit) of Five companies each, a 101 man Jäger Company (Captain Cramon), and a 44-man artillery complement.  These units arrived in New York during the summer of 1777.


During the course of the War, five other Ansbach jäger companies would be formed to join the first jäger company, which was originally commanded by Captain Cramon; The second company (Captain Roeder) was formed in 1779, a third company, (Lieutenant Colonel von Reitzenstein), in 1781, a fourth (Captain von Falkenstien) and fifth company (Captain Wurm) in 1782. A sixth company (Captain von Konitz) formed in 1783. 


The first Ansbach jäger companies which were sent to America were initially consolidated into a combined Hessian/Ansbach Feldjäger Corps.

Unit History -Jäger Companie von Roeder

The group’s principle portrayal is of the combined Ansbach and Hessian Jägers company under the command of Ansbach Captain Frederich Wilhelm von Roeder and assigned to Genreral Leslie’s Corps in September/ October of 1780 for action during the Southern Campaign.  The group extends the span of the historical portrayal to include the Second Company of Ansbach Jägers raised in 1779 and placed under the command of Captain Roeder. 

Captain-Lieutenant Roeder originally was an infantry officer assigned to Colonel Voit’s Regiment, which was part of  the first contingent of Ansbach-Bayreuth forces arriving during the Summer of 1777.   The arrival of the Ansbach-Bayreuth forces which included an Ansbach Jägers Company were noted in the Journal of Hessian Captain Ewald:  
“… 8 June 1777.. with the same fleet had arrived at New York two Anspach Regiments each of 600 men, under brigadier Eyb and a Jäger company of 116. The recruits for both companies consisted of a few adventurers and experienced Jägers, and they were generally fine looking men. ...the Anspach Jäger Company, consisting of skilled forestry Jägers who were the handsomest young men one could imagine also arrived here.” 

Captain Roeder was granted a promotion to Captain and received command of the Second Ansbach Jäger Company which was newly raised, having recently arrived to New York during the summer of 1779, as noted by Ansbach Soldier, Johann Conrad Dohla:     

"14 July 1779 -The news arrived from New York that 4000 men, fresh troops has entered that port on 48 ships, including recruits and field equipment for us, [Ansbach troops]..."  

The separate Hessian and Ansbach Jager companies would be consolidated under a Combined Jager Corps commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Wurmb.  Elements of both the First and Second Ansbach Jägers companies would be part of this consolidated Jager Command.   In December 1779, Ansbach Jägers embarked from New York as part of a combined Hessian/Ansbach Jäger Battalion under the command of Major Wurmb.  The combined battalion would participate in the 1780 Siege of Charleston and return in June 1780.  Captain Roeder was not part of the Ansbach Jägers contingent , but remain in the New York Area of operations.   In June 1780, Captain Roeder was active in the New York Area.  Dohla's Diary mentions an engagement in June of 1780 in which the Jägers took loses and where Captain Roeder was wounded...  " From our Jägers, Captain von Roeder and Lieutenant von Diemar were fatally wounded".   The official entry in the The Journal Hessischen Feld-Jägers Corps reports ... two Jägers killed and two officers and twenty men wounded.

In October 1780, Captain Roeder took command of a 100 man combined Jäger Company as part of General Leslie's Southern Expedition.  As noted in the Journals of Adjutant General Major Baurmeister     “ Before Lieutenant Colonel von Wurmb set out for Oyster Bay, one hundred dismounted jagers were put under the command of  the Anspach Captain von Rohder [ Röder/Roeder] and sent along with General Leslie.”  

The Journal of the Regiment Von Bose cites Captain Röder’s embarkation … “On the 6th, 7th and remaining days the following troops, under the command of General Leslie were also embarked [along with the Regiment Von Bose]

...Under the command of Anspach Captain Roeder
75 men of the Hessian Jägers
25 men of the Anspach Jägers...”

The consolidated Jäger Company, as part of General Leslie’s division, conducted raids in the Norfolk, Virginia area and then re-embarked transports en route to Charleston eventually linking up with Cornwallis Army in January 1781..."General Leslie has linked up with Lord Conwallis. Our jager detachment, on 5 January, was at Camden according to reports received from Captain Roeder"

As part of Leslie’s Corps, Captain Roeder’s company accompanied Lord Cornwallis throughout North Carolina campaign, participating in the pursuit of General Greene’s forces and the engagements at Weitzel’s Mill and Guilford Court House. 

As listed with units patricipating in the action at Guilford Court House; ... The Jager Detachment comprised of 1 Captain, 1 Lieutenant, 5 NCO's, 3 Musicians and 74 Men [ 84 total ], of which 1 NCO, 1 Musician and 2 Men were Killed; 1 NCO and 2 Men Wounded; and 1 Man Missing.
Following the battle, the Journal of the Honorable Regiment von Bose mentions that several of the wounded were left behind at the Meeting House under a Flag of Truce... "The Regiment v. Bose left 1 non-commisioned officer and 9 men, together with two Anspachers, behind on this occasion." 

Captain Roeder’s command accompanied the main army to Cross Creek.  During the march an engagement involving the Jägers was annotated by the Journal von Bose.    “26  March 1781…As the Deep river was in flood with heavy rains, a halt had to be made, and we took three rebles prisoners there.  The same evening the jager camp was attacked by 60 rebel mounted militia, who took three jagers at the out post prisoners.”

Upon reaching Wilmington, The Jäger Company was detached to bolster the garrison…

  "Major Creek [Craig] remained behind at Wilmington with the 82nd Regiment, the North Carolina Corps and a detachment of Jagers in order to guard the fortifications and the sick and wounded”   

“Lord Cornwallis has left a hospital at Wilmington with seven hundred sick and a detachment of Anspach jagers under Captain von Rohder[Röder/Roeder]”

Captain Roeder and the Jägers remained at Wilmington until that garrison was recalled to Charleston, SC in November 1781.  Captain Roeder’s unit would remain in Charleston with General Leslie until the garrison’s evacuation in December 1782.

As annotated, In October 1781, a detached force, which included Jägers under the command of Lieutenant Heydte, was sent from either Wilmington/Charleston to link up with Cornwallis’ Army, however the element was unable to make an affective link-up prior to the surrender of Yorktown in October 1781.

“At Night, on 19 October, First Lieutenant Moritz Wilhelm von der Heydte, of our Jäger corps, joined us as prisoners of war, with sixteen Jägers.  This officer had been detached from Charleston, South Carolina, with a strong Command of about one thousand men in order to join us; however, on the night of 18 October, between Hampton Roads and Williamsburg they were attacked by a strong corps of French and Americans defeated and completely scattered.”  

                                               Individual Uniform and Accoutrements of Jäger Companie Von Roeder

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