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Hanau Jäger with St. Leger’s Expedition. Quebec, 1777.

Hessians - German Soldiers in the American Revolutionary War

In the summer of 1777, the British launched what became known as the Saratoga campaign, an effort to gain control over the Hudson River valley. A large corps under General John Burgoyne moved south from Quebec toward Albany. Another body of troops led by Brigadier General Barry St. Leger was supposed to advance toward Albany from the west, from Lake Ontario.

St. Leger’s force was made up of 200 British regulars, a contingent of Provincials and Canadians, as many as 1,000 Native Americans, and around one hundred Hanau Jäger. The Jäger were commanded by Lieutenant Philipp Jakob Hildebrandt, a forty-three year old married father of three who had spent more than two decades in the service of Denmark, Hessen-Kassel, and Hessen-Homburg before joining the Hanau corps in 1777. The Jäger had been in Quebec for around two weeks when Hildebrandt and his company received orders in late June to join…

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