George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 12 May 1781]

12th. Colo. Dayton’s intelligence, so far as respected the Sailing of Troops, was confirmed by two sensible deserters from Kingsbridge; which place they left yesterday Morning at two Oclock. They add the detachment consisted of the Grenadrs. (Bh.)—the Corps. of Anspach (two Battalions) & the 37th. & 43d. British regiments, amounting, as is supposed, to about 2000 Men under the Command of Majr. Genl. Redeisel.1

1In spite of opposition from Arnold and Cornwallis, Clinton planned to move operations to the Delaware Neck (see CLINTON description begins William B. Willcox, ed. The American Rebellion: Sir Henry Clinton’s Narrative of His Campaigns, 1775–1782, with an Appendix of Original Documents. New Haven, 1954. description ends , 274–75; MACKESY description begins Piers Mackesy. The War for America, 1775–1783. Cambridge, Mass., 1964. description ends , 408–9). The “Corps of Anspach” consisted of mercenary troops hired by the British from the German principality of Ansbach-Bayreuth. When in Jan. 1776 the duke of Brunswick agreed to provide some 4,000 mercenaries to the British for the American campaign, he placed Friedrich Adolf von Riedesel, Baron von Eisenbach (1738–1800), in command of the first of his troops to sail for America. In Oct. 1777 Riedesel was among those who surrendered at Saratoga. According to the terms of the Convention of Saratoga, the British and Hessian forces were to be allowed to sail to England with the stipulation they would not again serve in America. Fearing that their return to Britain would free other troops for service in America, the Continental Congress refused to honor the agreement, and Riedesel and the other British and Hessians from Saratoga became the so-called Convention Army. Quartered first in Boston, the Convention troops were later shifted to Charlottesville, Va. Riedesel and his family remained in Charlottesville until Oct. 1780, when he was exchanged. After his exchange Riedesel was then given a command on Long Island by the British (see RIEDESEL description begins Marvin L. Brown, Jr., ed. Baroness von Riedesel and the American Revolution: Journal and Correspondence of a Tour of Duty, 1776–1783. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1965. description ends , xxi—xli).

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