Between 1776 and 1783, Britain hired more than 30,000 German soldiers to fight in its war against the rebels in North America. Collectively known as Hessians, they actually came from six German territories within the Holy Roman Empire.
Over the course of the war, members of the German corps, including women and children, spent extended periods of time in locations as dispersed and varied as Canada in the North to West Florida and Cuba in the South. They shared in every significant British military triumph and defeat. Thousands died of disease, were killed in battle, were captured by the enemy, or deserted.
Collectively, they recorded their experiences and observations of the war they fought in, the land they traversed, and the people they encountered in a large body of letters, diaries, and similar private and official records.
Friederike Baer presents a study of Britain’s war against the American rebels from the perspective of the German soldiers, a people uniquely positioned both in the midst of the war and at its margins in his book Hessians: German Soldiers in the American Revolutionary War (Oxford University Press, 2022).
Drawing from this rich material, Dr. Friederike Baer will highlight some of the key experiences of these participants in a war on a distant continent against a people that had done them no harm in a talk on Thursday, November 16, 6:30 pm at the Saratoga National Historical Park Visitor Center Theater.
Dr. Friederike Baer is Associate Professor of History and Division Head for Arts and Humanities at Penn State Abington College. She is the winner of the 2023 Society of the Cincinnati Prize.
This talk is free, but reservations are required as space is limited. More information on this program and links to make reservations are available at go.nps.gov/saraevents or email SARA_info@nps.gov.
This program is part of Saratoga NHP’s Fall Lecture Series, brought to you in partnership with the Friends of Saratoga Battlefield.
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