IR von Donop
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IR von Donop Regimental History

A Grenadier of IR von Donop in 1758 as depicted by Knotel

Early History

Infanterie Regiment von Donop was raised in 1688 at the beginning of the War of the Grand Alliance (1688-1697). The reigning Landgraf of Hessen-Kassel, Karl, was a member of the coalition of mostly Protestant powers (including England, The Dutch Republic and Hanover and Prussia), opposing Catholic France under Louis XIV. The regiment served also during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714), again against France, and during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748). The regiment was among the 7,000 Hessians sent to England and Scotland in 1746 in the wake the Highland uprising of 1745. During the Seven Year's War (1756-1763), The regiment served in the Allied Army of Observation in Western Germany commanded by Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick, against the French yet again.

In America


When the American War of Independence broke out in 1775, the regiment was part of the 12,000 Hessian troops hired by treaty to England by Landgraf Friedrich.

The Regiment marched out of its garrison in the city of Homberg on March 1st, 1776 and took ship in Bremerhaven on April 9th, 1776. After crossing the English channel and waiting at Portsmouth for the organization of a convoy, the Regiment shipped out and arrived off Staten Island on August 12th, 1776. Landing on Staten Island on August 15th, the regiment was shipped over to Long Island on August 22nd. The regiment participated in the Battle of Long Island, sending out patrols that captured 80 Americans. Next, the regiment was shipped over to Manhatten and was present at the storming of Fort Washington, providing 50 men for part the "Forlorn Hope" that preceded the main assault. After this, the regiment remained in New York City for rest of the year.


The regiment was included in the expedition to Philadelphia, participating in the Battles of the Brandywine and Germantown. Only the Grenadiers were present as part of the Grenadier Battalion Lengerke at the failed storming of Ft. Mercer. (Red Bank, NJ). The regiment remained in garrison in Philadelphia for the remainder of the year. Some British officers thought Hessians too slow.


The regiment remained in Philadelphia until General Clinton ordered its evacuation in May. The regiment was part of General Knyphausen's division that was present but did not see action at the battle of Monmouth. Over 20 men deserted from the regiment on the march through New Jersey in June. This was almost a third of the entire number of men that deserted from the regiment during the entire war. The regiment returned to and garrisoned New York City for the remainder of the year, participating on an foraging expedition to Philips Manor in September.


After suffering greatly from sickness, after being quartered in and around Fort Knyphausen (formerly Fort Washington), the regiment was transferred to Long Island, encamping near Bushwick, but was later transferred back to barracks in New York City.


The regiment participated in General Knyphausen's expedition to New Jersey, and formed the rearguard along with the British 22nd regiment. In action near Elizabeth, NJ on June 17th, The regimental commander, Colonel von Gose, had the cane knocked from his hand by a 3 pound cannon-ball. Upon return to New York City, the regiment garrisoned Fort Knyphausen.


The regiment remained in New York City.


The regiment remained in New York City, being quartered at various times in and around Fort Knyphausen, Fort Tyron and finally the "Red" Barracks.


Officer and Private in 1784Peace is declared in April. The regiment, along with all the other Hessian troops in New York City, prepare for return to Hesse. The regiment embarks on 4 transports on November 21st. The regiment sails on the 26th of November. 55 soldiers and officers, almost ten percent of the regiment's strength, were given their discharges and stayed in America.


The regiment reaches Portsmouth on January 14th, and remained in quarters there until March 11th, when the regiment embarked for Germany. The regiment had all arrived at Kassel by May, where it became the garrison. In this year the Regiment received a new Colonel in Chief, none other than General Knyphausen, and changed its name from von Donop to Knyphausen.

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