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The Germans under the French Eagles VI: The Soldiers of Hesse and of Nassau

The Germans under the French Eagles VI: The Soldiers of Hesse and of Nassau

The Germans under the French Eagles VI: The Soldiers of Hesse and of Nassau



THE GERMANS UNDER FRENCH EAGLES. –Essay on the troops of the Confederation of the Rhine (1806-1814).

Volume I.  The Regiment of Frankfurt.  With 3 colour plates, 3 maps, 5 outside text and numerous illustrations.

Volume II.  The Baden Contingent.  With 3 colour plates, 3 maps, 4 outside text and many illustrations.

Volume III.  The Saxons in our Ranks.  With 6 colour plates, 1 map, 7 outside text and illustrations in the text.

Volume IV.  The Regiment of the Duchies of Saxony.  With 7 colour plates including 1 map, 4  B and W maps, 2 outside text and many illustrations.

Volume V.  Our Allies the Bavarians.  With 7 colour plates, 1 colour map, 2 in B&W, and many illustrations.

Volume VI.  The Soldiers of Hesse and Nassau.  With 3 colour plates, 2 large colour maps out of text, and numerous illustrations.





HESSE: Fusilier du Rgt des Gardes

NASSAU: Fusilier 2e Rgt d’Inf. (1806)


ALOMBERT and COLIN.  The 1805 Campaign in Germany.  Paris, Chapelot, 1902-1908.

AMEIL (General).  Notes and documents from the archives of General Baron Ameil.

BALAGNY (Commander).  Campaign of the Emperor Napoleon in Spain. Paris, Berger-Levrault, 1902.

BECK (Fritz).  Geschichte der Grossherzoglich Hessischen Fahnen und Standarten. Berlin, Mittler, 1895.

BECK u. K. VON HAHN.  Geschichte des Grossherzoglich Hessischen Feldartillerie Regiments no 25. Berlin, Mittler u. Sohn, 1899.

BERNAYS (G.).  Schicksale des Grossherzogthums Frankfurt und seiner Truppen. Berlin, Mittler u. Sohn, 1882.

BIGGE (Generalmajor).  Geschichte des Infanterie Regiments Kaiser Wilhelm (2. Grossherzoglich Hessisches) no 116. Berlin, Mittler u. Sohn, 1903.

Bulletins of the Grand Army.

CHARRAS (Lt-Colonel).  History of the War of 1813 in Germany. Paris, Armand Le Chevalier, 1870.

Military Correspondence of Napoleon Ier.

COSTA DE SERDA (Captain).  Associated Troops under the First Empire.  Operations of German troops in Spain  from 1808 to 1813 (Extracts from the Military Spectator). Paris, Dumaine. 1874.

DIETRICH (Dr). Hessische Politik, 1790-1806. (Quartalblätter der historischen Vereins für das Grossherzogthum Hessen, 1906, IV, no 3).

ESSELBORN (Dr K.).  Friedrich Peppler, Schilderung meiner Gefangenschaft in Russland vom Jahre 1812 bis 1814. Bearbeitet von K, Esselborn (Hessiche Volksblätter, I). Darmstadt, W. Diehl, 1908.

ESSELBORN (Dr K.).  Ludwig von Grolmann.  Ein Lebensbild. Darmstadt, 1910.

FOUCART (P.).  Prussian Campaign.  Jena. Paris, Berger-Levrault, 1887.

FOUCART (P.). Prussian Campaign.  Prenzlau, Lübeck. Paris, Berger-Levrault, 1890.

HERGENHAN (Major).  Antheil der Herzoglich Nassauischen Truppen am Spanischen Kriege, von 1808 bis 1814. Wiesbaden, A. Stein, 1840.

ISENBART (Oberst).  Geschichte des Herzoglich Nassauischen 2. Regiments, Stammes des Könuglich Preussischen  2. Nassauischen Infanterie Regiments no 88, 1808-1866. Berlin, Mittler u. Sohn, 1891.

JACOBS (Hauptmann).  Geschichte der Feldzuge und Schicksale der Gotha-Altenburgischen Krieger in den Jahren 1807 bis 1815. Altenburg, Fr. Gleich. 1835.

JOHN T. JONNES (Lt-Colonel).  Journals of the sieges undertaken by the allies in Spain during the years 1811 and 1812. Paris, Ancelin and Pochard, 1821.

KEIM (Hauptmann).  Geschichte des 4. Grossherzoglich Hessischen Infanterie Regiments (Prinz Karl) no 118. Berlin, Mittler u. Sohn, 1879.

KEIM (Generalmajor).  Geschichte des Infanterie (Leib) Regiments Grossherzogin (3. Grossherzogl. Hessisches) no 117. Berlin, H. Both, 1903.

KLINGELHÖFER (Hauptmann).  Geschichte des 2. Grossherzoglich Hessischen Infanterie Regiments (Grossherzog) no 116. Berlin, Mittler u. Sohn, 1888.

KNÖTEL (R.).  Uniformenkunde. Rathenow. M. Babenzien. 1890-1911.

KÖSTERUS.  Geschichtliche Darstellung der Entwickelung der Militair-Verfassung der Hessen-Darmstädtlischen Truppen. Darmstadt, H. Brill, 1840.

MACDONALD (Marshal).  Memories of Marshal Macdonald, Duke of Tarente. Paris, Plon, 1892.

MARCO DE SAINT-HILAIRE (E.).  History of the Russian Campaign during the Year 1812. Paris, Penaud, frères, 1846.

MARTINIEN (A.).  Table by corps and by battles of officers killed or wounded during the wars of the Empire  (1805-1815). Paris, Charles-Lavauzelle, s. d. Supplement to this book. Paris. Fournier, 1909.

PELET (General).  Memoirs on the Campaign of 1809. Paris, Roret, 1826.

PILS.  Marching diary of Grenadier Pils, 1804-1814.  Paris, Ollendorf, 1895.

RAMBAUD.  Germany under Napoleon Ier. Paris, Émile Perrin, 1897.

RIEGEL.  Der Siebenjährige Kampf auf der Pyrenäischen Halbinsel, vom Jahre 1807 bis 1814. Rastadt, 1819.

RÖDER V. DIERSBURG (General Lieutenant).  Denkwürdigkeiten des Generals der Infanterie Markgrafen Wilhelm von Baden, aus den Feldzügen von 1809 bis 1815. Karlesruhe, Bielfeld, 1864.

RÖDER V. DIERSBURG (General Lieutenant).  Geschichte des 1. Grossherzoglich Hessischen Infanterie (Leibgarde) Regiments no 115. Berlin, Mittler u. Sohn, 1899.

ROESSLER (A. von).  Geschichte des Königlich Preussischen 1. Nassauischen Infanterie Regiments no 87, und seines Stammes des Herzoglich Nassauischen 1. Infanterie Regiments, 1809-1874. Berlin, Mittler u. Sohn. 1882.

RÖSSLER (Hauptmann von).  Die Geschichte der Herzoglich Nassauischen Truppen. Wiesbaden, A. Stein, 1863.

ROZAT DE MANDRES (Captain) and SAUZEY (Commander).  France on Campaign. Paris, J. Leroy, 1906.

SASKI (Lt-Colonel).  Campaign of 1809 in Germany and Austria. Paris, Berger-Levrault, 1899-1902.

SAUZEY (Lt-Colonel). The Germans under the French Eagles.

Volume I. The Frankfurt Regiment.
II. The Baden Contingent.
III. The Saxons in Our Ranks.
IV. The Regiment of the Duchies of Saxony.
V. Our Allies the Bavarians.

Paris, Chapelot et Cie, 1902-1910.

SEEBACH (Major von).  Geschichte des Herzoglich Sachsen-Weimarischen Scharfschützenbataillons im  Jahre 1806, und des Infantry Regiments der Herzöge von Sachsen in den Jahren 1807, 1809, 1810  und 1811. Weimar, Voigt, 1838.

THIÉBAULT.  Memoirs of General Baron Thiélbault.  Paris, Plon, 1854.

THIERS.  Consulate and Empire.

VELING (Captain).  Our German Allies. Paris, Fayard frères, s. d.

Victories and Conquests. Paris, Panckoucke, 1831.

DE VOELDERNDORFF (Major).  Observations on the work of M. le Comte Ph. De Ségur entitled: Histoire de  Napoléon et de la Grande Armée during the year 1812. Munich, 1826.

ZIMMERMANN (Hauptmann).  Geschichte des 1. Grossherzoglich Hessischen Dragoner Regiments no 23. Darmstadt, Bergsträsser, 1878.


Continuing the publication of his Essays on the troops of the Confederation of the Rhine during the First Empire, Lieutenant-Colonel Sauzey today presents to the public interested in military history a new volume:  The Soldiers of Hesse and Nassau.

Like its predecessors, The Frankfurt Regiment, The Baden Contingent, The Saxons in our Ranks, The Regiment of the Duchies of Saxony, Our Allies the Bavarians, this work evokes, in our too debased time, the memories of the Epic and brings back to life the glorious hours when our tricolours floated from the Niemen to the bottom of Spain, joyfully greeted by the emancipated nations whose sons swelled our armies.

To the documentation drawn from French sources, Lieutenant-Colonel Sauzey added a copious harvest gleaned from German sources:  many officers of the Allied contingents of the Rhine left, in fact, memories of their campaigns, and their accounts abound in typical anecdotes and moral information of great interest.

At the present time, history is no longer an arid enumeration of facts accompanied by a series of statistical observations…  It has become more scientific, more social, more human.  And the reader, more demanding, wants to know not only the numbers, the marches, the fights, but also the why of the events, the spirit, the feelings of the combatants:  a whole psychology which has for object an army, a contingent, a body of troops…

The Darmstadt archives revealed to Lieutenant-Colonel Sauzey the anxieties of the politics of Hesse before its accession to the Confederation of the Rhine:  our enemies of the Revolutionary period become our allies during the Imperial period and generously commune with us  in victory and in death on all the battlefields of the Empire, from Jena to Wagram and from Moskowa to Lützen; then, when unfaithful Fortune abandons us, these German allies whom we have saved from the lusts of Austria and Prussia throw themselves into the arms of our enemies, and, believing they are going to liberty, only change their protector…

The political variations of the small States depend on the economic development of the large nations:  the Holy Empire has succeeded the French protectorate over a large part of Germania; then the Prussian Eagle gathered under its wings the small German states which the convulsions of 1866 had brought out; today, the German Empire gathers in its army contingents those which waged war many times against Prussia…  The future will tell us whether this grouping will last, and what flags will follow in the day these soldiers of Hesse and Nassau whose Lieutenant-Colonel Sauzey tells us the story, during the seven years they fought under the French Eagles.

Napoleon, with his knowledge of men and his ability to make the best use of them, had great success giving his German allies experienced leaders to lead them, and making them march first alongside the old French regiments who served them as coaches and role models.  In 1806 and 1807, against the Prussians and the Swedes, it was Augereau, it was Mortier, it was Brune, it was Lefebvre who led the troops of Hesse and Nassau.  In 1809, it was Masséna, “the cherished Child of Victory”, who led the Hessians at Aspern; it was Marulaz, one of the fine sabers of the Empire, who gallops at the head of the light horses of Darmstadt against the Austrians of the Archduke Charles.

In 1812 and 1813, when our allies, by contact and example, became the emulators of our own troops, the Emperor authorized their reunion in national units, and the Hessian brigade under the command of Prince Emile of Darmstadt merited incorporation into the ranks of the Young Guard:  an honour still unprecedented and which did not contribute little to exalt the feelings of Napoleonism which glorified our German allies, for whom the magical star of the Legion of Honor had become the most envied and the supreme reward.

Also, the loyalty of the Hessians remained untouchable until the day of Leipzig, when they struggled desperately to the end and remained, after heavy losses, prisoners of the Allies:  the honor of arms was safe and not a Hessian flag served as a trophy for the victors.

In another theatre of war, in Spain, Lieutenant-Colonel Sauzey shows us a regiment from Hesse and the whole contingent from Nassau participating with glory in this long, cruel and bloody war which lasted without interruption from 1808 until 1813.  After the great victories, Medellin, Talavéra, Almonacid, Ocaña, it is the tireless struggle against the guerrillas, it is the crumbling of the troops, it is the slow destruction of the contingents, in incessant fighting against ruthless adversaries.

However, although the policy of France in Spain seems very foreign to the interests of the Germans of the Confederation, our allies remain loyal to us, and their dedication remains whole.  The Hessians succumb at Badajoz, when this place falls into the hands of the English after the deadliest of the assaults.

As for the two regiments of Nassau, their fortunes were quite different.  The 2nd Regiment was led by its leader in the English lines in 1813, but this treason which politics would excuse did not give Wellington a soldier, because the warriors of Nassau refused to join the ranks of our enemies, after five years of brotherhood of arms with our own troops…,  and as for the Emperor’s order to disarm the Germans who are still in the army of Spain, the infantry of the 1st Regiment of Nassau and the brave mounted jäger from the same nation protesting against this measure that they do not understand and proudly show the scars of the wounds they received in the service of France.

The Prussian professors had not yet taught the Germans that they were ashamed of having defeated the Prussians, the Austrians, the Russians, the Spaniards and the English on our side; had they wanted to say it to these glorious soldiers of the Rheinbund who did not yield it to the old scoundrels of our army  our allies would have answered with justice that they had written with their blood the most beautiful pages of history military of the Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt and the Principality of Nassau.

The appendix relating to the uniforms of the two contingents reminds us of the important dictionary of military iconography of which Lieutenant-Colonel Sauzey is the author, and which embraces not only the Revolutionary and Imperial period, but also the Restoration, the reign of Louis-Philippe and that of Napoleon III.

The colour engravings which accompany this work will fix for the reader the physiognomy of our German auxiliaries: one, concerning the Hessian troops, is the faithful reproduction of a very rare print of the time; another, where infantrymen from Hesse and Nassau elbow each other, is taken from the beautiful album of military sketches taken out of the brush of the great artist, Commander Rozat de Mandres, album published under the title of France on Campaign in which our soldiers, like our allies, parade during a hundred years of wars, from the Revolution to the present day.

Finally, to make it easy to follow the stages of the two contingents, stages sometimes triumphant and glorious, sometimes dismal and saddened, the author drew up two large maps where he traced the routes of the soldiers of Hesse and Nassau during all the wars of the Empire.

In France, we know the history of our campaigns:  we know less about the part played by the Confederates of the Rhine.  The works of Lieutenant-Colonel Sauzey will fill this gap and will be moreover an act of justice and reparation which will prevent forgetting the valour, the dedication — and the failings of our German allies at the time of the Epic.


Paris, January 1912.