Wednesday, January 27, 2021

The Saratoga Project: Brunswick Troops


Fife and Drum Miniature Hessian Musketeers wore uniforms
that were similar to those of the Brunswick soldiers.

Part II of the Guide to the Saratoga Project describes the organization and uniforms of the German troops that were in Burgoyne's Canada Army.

Burgoyne's army consisted of about 4,400 British troops and 4,700 German troops at the start of his campaign. The German contingent was comprised largely of hired soldiers from the Duchy of Brunswick in Germany. There was also a smaller German contigent from Hesse Hanau. The Duke of Brunswick's son, Carl Wilhelm Ferdinand, was married to George III of Britain's older sister. This facilitated the rental of Brunswick regiments to the British cause in North America.

The Hesse Hanau musketeer regiment, including its grenadier company, was stationed at Fort Ticonderoga,  and did not participate in the fighting at Saratoga. The von Barner light battalion was composed of musket armed chosen men from the Brunswick musketeer regiments plus one company of rifle armed jagers.

The table below provides information about the uniforms of the Brunswick musketeer regiments. All regiments had blue coats and white small clothes (waist coat and breeches) and white hat lace. The term "Facing Color" refers to the colors of the lapels, collar and cuffs. Hat Lace is simply the color of the tape around the edges of the cocked hat. The pompom was a decorative ball of yarn atop the cocked hat.

Brunswick Musketeer Regiments

Regiments          Coat Color     Facing Color   Buttons   Pompoms/center 

Prinz Friedrich    Blue                Yellow            White      Yellow/White                

von Riedesel        Blue                Yellow            White      Yellow/White                

von Specht           Blue                Red                Yellow       Red              

von Rhetz             Blue                White            Yellow       White/Yellow   

Other Regiments           

von Barner            Blue                Black**        White              White            

Jaegers                 Green              Red                White              Green ***      

Hesse Hanau        Blue                Red *              White            White                     


*    the Hesse Hanau regiment had red lapels with white button lace

**  the light infantry battalion had no lapels; yellow aigulette on the right shoulder

*** the Jagers had green waist coats and buff colored breeches, white aigulette on right shoulder

Regimental Drummers

All musicians wore a yellow coat with shoulder epaulettes in white. There were no chevrons on the sleeves save that of the senior drummer in the regiment. The facing colors varied from regiment to regiment, as follows:

Light Blue - Prinz Friedrich and von Riedesel

Red - von Specht

White - von Hetz

Coat Details

Uniform coats were dark blue with red turn backs. The cuffs were of the looser Swedish Cuff style rather than the tight Prussian cuff. The lapels had only four buttons: one on the top, then a pair of buttons in the middle of the lapel, and one button on the bottom of the lapel.

Small Clothes

All regiments wore white waistcoats and white breeches. The Brunswickers adapted the British style of "overalls". The overall was a single leg with gaitor buttons at the ankles near the bottom of the cloth, thereby negating the need for the soldiers to wear separate leg gaitors. There is some conjecture that the Brunswick soldiers wore stripped overalls made from mattress ticking. This is incorrect as the overalls were made from the linen colored spare tents provided by the British. The striped overall look originates from the John Mollo book on uniforms of the American Revolution and the error has perpetuated itself into many a uniform plate. The only Brunswick soldiers that wore striped ticking overalls were the Prinz Ludwig dismounted dragoon regiment.


Brunswick officers were armed with sword and carried spontoons. There is some speculation that the pole arms for officers and NCOs were left in storage in Canada and that they carried firearms. Officers were distinguished by a waist sash of a silver and yellow mix as well as with a gorget around their necks. Their hats hat silver lace and a black cockade on the front.

Brunswick NCOs were distinguished by an ash cane that hung from the second button from the top on the righthand lapel. They had metalic lace on the collar, lapels and cuffs. Their cocked hats had black and white pompoms and hat tightener cords. Those NCOs carrying firearms wore a belly box for cartridges on their front waist.


Brunswick grenadiers wore the same uniform as the musketeers in the regiment, save for the ubiquitous miter hat. The grenadier company from each of the four Brunswick regiments were converged into one grenadier battalion.

Hessian Grenadiers from Fife & Drum Miniatures- uniforms were similar 
to those of Brunswick grenadiers.

Grenadier Miters

                            Miter Plate        Miter Bag                             Pompom

Prinz Friedrich     Silver            Yellow w/white piping          Yellow/white

von Riedesel         Silver            Yellow w/white piping           Yellow/white

von Specht            Brass             Red w/white piping               White

von Rhetz              Brass             White w/ red piping               Red

Hesse Hanau        Silver            Yellow w/white piping            Red /yellow

Hessian Grenadiers from Fife and Drum Miniatures. Their uniforms
are similar to those of Brunswick grenadiers.

Fife and Drum Miniatures is currently working on Brunswick musketeers and grenadiers to be added to the product range. Their expected arrival is approximately late April 2021. In the meantime, I use the F&D Hessian figures as stand ins for Brunswickers. The principal difference between Brunswickers and Hessians is that the former wear one-piece overalls and the latter wear gaitors.


  1. You know, I've been thinking about adding the 3rd Waldeck Regt. to my OOB at some point. According to MOllo they wore the one-piece overalls. Glad to know that I can safely avoid attempts at striping these however.

    Best Regards,


    1. I’m taking some of the FD Hessians and converting some of them by filing off the gaiters just to see how they would look. This is not very practical for a 40-figure battalion. I’m looking forward to seeing some greens for the actual Brunswickers.

  2. Nice article, Jim. Good information and stunning photos.

    1. Thank you Bill. I hope that readers will find the Saratoga guide of use.

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you Jay. I’d have to say that I agree. 😄

  4. These look splendid, as does the lovely terrain and 'extras'. I really like that the figures ae more 'classical' in look and not of the over-blown style of many modern manufacturers.
    Regards, James

    1. Thank you James for your kind comments. The figures are sculpted by Richard Ansell. When I first saw some of his work, the sense of realistic proportions really drew me to his figures.

  5. I should point out that the game mat is produced by Cigar Box Battle Mats. The buildings, fences and trees were made by Herb Gundt.

  6. I like the way you mount your figures. I am very fond of the "touch of the elbow" look.