Hessian Diary of the American Revolution

Overview

This unique diary, written by one of the thirty thousand Hessian troops whose services were sold to George III to suppress the American Revolution, is the most complete and informative primary account of the Revolution from the common soldier's point of view. Johann Conrad Döhla describes not just military activities but also events leading up to the Revolution, American customs, the cities and regions that he visited, and incidents in other parts of the world that affected the war. He also evaluates the ...

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Overview

This unique diary, written by one of the thirty thousand Hessian troops whose services were sold to George III to suppress the American Revolution, is the most complete and informative primary account of the Revolution from the common soldier's point of view. Johann Conrad Döhla describes not just military activities but also events leading up to the Revolution, American customs, the cities and regions that he visited, and incidents in other parts of the world that affected the war. He also evaluates the important military commanders, giving readers an insight into how the enlisted men felt about their leaders and opponents.

Private Döhla crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 1777 as a private in the Ansbach-Bayreuth contingent of Hessian mercenaries. His American sojourn began in June 1777 in New York. Then, after several months on Staten Island and Manhatten, the Ansbach-Bayreuth regiments traveled to the thriving seaport of Newport, Rhode Island, where they spent more than a year before the British forces evacuated the area.

The Ansbach-Bayreuth regiments returned briefly to the New York New Jersey area before they were sent to reinforce the English command in Virginia. Eventually Döhla participated in the battle of Yorktown—of which he provides a vivid description—before enduring two years as a prisoner of war after Cornwallis's surrender.

Bruce E. Burgoyne has provided an accurate translation, helpful notes for scholars and general readers, and an introduction on the Ansbach-Bayreuth regiments and the history of Johann Conrad Döhla and his diary. This first edition of the diary in English will delight all who are interested in the American Revolution and the thirteen original colonies.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Dohla served from 1777 to 1783 as a private in the Hessian mercenary forces hired by the British to help suppress the revolt in the American colonies. The campaigns of the Ansbach-Bayreuth contingent to which he belonged saw action in New York, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Virginia. In a simple, direct manner, Dohla's diary records garrison life, marches and infrequent brushes with ``the rebels.'' The author participated in the climactic Yorktown campaign in the autumn of 1781, witnessed the formal surrender of British General Cornwallis, then spent a year and a half as a prisoner of war. The diary will interest Revolutionary War scholars--but lay readers will find this impersonal opus, edited by historian Burgoyne, dry. Though sensitive to the beauty of American towns and villages, Dohla was uninterested in character (revealing names and ranks only), and his rare interpretive comments are unsupported by example. Illustrations. (Apr.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806125305
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1993
  • Pages: 302
  • Sales rank: 1,004,086
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce E. Burgoyne, a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, holds a master's degree from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. His military career was spent mostly in military intelligence, with service in the United States Navy, Army, and Air Force. Since retirement, he has spent many years researching the role of the Hessians in the American Revolution and has translated numerous Hessian diaries published by the Johannes Schwalm Association.

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