The best of Spieler: Hessians and Tories

April 13, 2010 

Originally published Nov. 2, 2003

Recently, The Beaufort Gazette carried an article that the Charleston "Museum will observe Oktoberfest with Redcoats, Hessians and Tories," with a display of "artifacts used by British and Hessian soldiers in their campaigns in South Carolina."

The article mentioned that "more than 3,000 Hessians served in South Carolina during the Revolution, primarily in the Charleston area. The Hessian Jaegers, armed with rifles, and the Hessian Grenadiers were quite useful to the British during the siege of Charleston." I would say that the Hessians aided the British throughout the Lowcountry, in addition to the Charleston area.

On Nov. 6, 1778, the British put 3,500 soldiers aboard ships in New York harbor, bound for Savannah. Among them were two Hessian regiments. After a stormy voyage, they reached the Savannah River and troops went ashore below the city on Dec. 29. The British surprised 800 American soldiers, "taking 400 prisoners, 50 cannons, a quantityof stores and several ships, with the loss of 20 killed and wounded, including Hessians and Tories." (Lowell,"The Hessians in the Revolutionary War.")

About the same time, Hessians using their field pieces captured an American ship, the "Rattlesnake." It was said at the time that "sundry cannon and flags" were aboard her.

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