When landgrave Friedrich II of Hessen Kassel so suddenly died of a stroke on the lunchtable on 31 October 1785 - not even the people beside him innially noticed he was gone - nobody in the German states and especially not in Hessen would have accepted, that in the following 200 years, in often imprecise representations and evaluation of the history of Hessen Kassel, his name would be provided with the devaluing additive, Soldatenverkaufer ". However with this evaluation of the princely house of Hessen and especially the landgrave Friedrich II, who would not have done anything, what he and its princely contemporaries would have regarded as their right, bitter injustice done. With this stamp of the devaluing evaluation of its person and reign, which we partly even find today, one did not only want to disgrace the hessian army, but thereby at the same time also devalued his initiatives in all other areas. (1).

Perhaps the memory, on the occasion of the anniversary of the 200 year of his death can be adjust, although this article will deal mostly with the military-history aspect.

Historians, who are researching today the reign of the landgrave Friedrich II, come anyhow to a much more positive evaluation of his regency: , "The landgrave as a whole was a (pflichtbewusster) conscientious regent. (2).

His youth and military education years.
Prince Friedrich was born on 14 August 1720 as a son of the later landgrave Wilhelm VIII and his wife Dorothea Dorothea-Wilhelmine of Sachsen-Zeitz. At a time, when landgrave Carl almost had finished the development of a standing army in Hessen, which should not fall after 1730 below a total strength of 12.000 men. Prince Friedrich grew up in a time, in which landgrave Friedrich I (1730 - 1751) in personnel union was king of Sweden.

His father Wilhelm VIII,, landgrave from 1751 on, administrated Hessen. According to the usual rules of the pricely houses of the times, prince Friedrich experienced a comprehensive education, first by his private teacher, professor of philosophy and mathematics Jean Pierre de Crousaz (1663 - 1748) from Lausanne, and later a university training in Geneva and educated by its personal educator major J. D von Schmerfeld and Colonel von Donop. As a grandchild of the landgrave Carl and only hessian erbfolger he was educated very early in the military tradition of the princly house.

The early military education was to prepare him for his leadership role. With 20 years he became a major general, with 24 lieutenant-general and with 27 years general of infantry and at the war of the Austrian succession war he took part of the campaign in Bavaria and tell and lead the hessian Subsidientruppen against the rebellious Scots 3. In 1749 prince Friedrich converted to the catholic faith, which he kept secret until 1754. His father quickly took precautions to secure the rights of the protestants in Hessen, and Friedrich had to sign the so-called Assekutationsakte which garanted the rights which were observed by the protestant powers. (4) Friedrichs rights were severely restricted and because of that his later government activities were not insignificant obstruced. In his time one catolic officer per regiment could serve in the army.

His wished following Friedrich the Great took him into the service of the Prussian Army in 1756. On May 31 1756 he was promoted to Lieutenant-General and vice-governor of Wesel and in 1759 was promoted to general of infantry and the vice-governor of Magdeburg. During Seven Years War Friedrich was without an actual command with the Prussian Army in Bohemia and Silesia. When he took over the reign, after the death of the landgrave in 1760, French soldiers occupied Hessen and his troops were with the Hanover observation army on the weser River.

When count Lehndorff writes about Friedrichs private life (6) he was not always very flattering in his comments "he was very exited to play the NCO on the paradeground" .this can be also seen as Friedrichs ability to concern himself with military details. That we could see in the improvement of the infantry manual and his comments concerning the training of the grenadier company of the Regt. Erbprinz (7). Probably in order to remind him of the connections to Prussia, Friedrich der Grosse appointed him on March 9, 1760 to general field marshal in the Prussian Army.

His term in office, reorganization of the army and employment of the Subsidientruppen in America. His term in office began in 1760 in the headquarters of the allied army in Brunswick, but he ws not directly involved in military decisions in the west.. We know from the correspondence with the lieutenant general von Gilsa and the war diary of general of Wutginau (8) how purposefully he reorganized the army and adapted the clothing and equipment patterns of the Prussian Army, (new infantry regulations already in December 1761). Firstly he newly formed the I. Guard Regiment and the Garde du Corps.. During the reorganization of the hessian army he was influenced by some of the most efficient Prussian officers, like its earlier Adjudant in his Prussian regiment, Friedrich C.A. von Jungkenn (1732 - 1806) and certainly men like Martin Ernst von Schlieffen (1732 - 1825) and Dietrich William of Wakenitz (1728 - 1805).

They had in his life time the confidence and affection of the landgrave, but did not just enjoyed the rise to the most important public offices (v. Schlieffen - foreign and cultural affairs, v. Jungkenn - minister of war, v. Wakenitz - finances).
The relatively calm times after the war between 1763-76 the landgrave used for the reconstruction of the country and undertook reforms:

-Reduction of the army in peacetime with a strength of 12.000 men (the cavallerie delivered their horses to the farmers to improve life of the farmers).
- first time publishing of the printed collections of the hessian national orders (1767)
- improved guidance of the army and government by publishing the hessian state and address calender (1764)
- establishment of the hessian fire insurance office (1767)
- reform of the currency and the justice system
- establishment of the Kasseler orphanage
- reform of the Collegium Carolinum (university reform)
- reform of the army discipline system

are only a few of some of the most important initiatives. Also the peace time was used to adopt to the new tactics what came out of the war. Thus the new regulations (infantry 1767, cavalry 1769) and a new military administration system which brought in particular the re-organization of the recruiting and Kantone system. Beginning in 1775 v. Schlieffen negotiated with a delegation of the British crown about supplying a Subsidiencorps of 12000 men for America. The contract, which brought, including the personnel replacements about 19000 hessian soldiers to America (besides 13000 soldiers from Brunswick, Anspach Bayreuth, Hessen-Hanau, Waldeck and Anhalt-Zerbst), marked altogether a new crucial time in hessian army history. - the work of German historians such as Heinrich of Treitschke, which only saw Prussia as a starting point to a German nation, and national liberals such as Friedrich Kapp which prevented even up today a complete research of the understanding of the facts between the military, enlightened absolutism and basic conditions of industry and trade in Hessen-Kassel. Prussia did consciously nothing after the annexation of 1866 to correct the false picture of the sold soldiers and the alleged decadence of the hesian princly house after landgrave Wilhelm VIII.

The subsidien money was of great benefit to Hessen in the last third of the century. Between 1775 - 1783 Hessen received about 20 mill. Talers, 8 mill Talers were disbursed for wages and salaries (until 1779 hessian soldiers had already send 600.000 Talers to there families) and 1.2 mill Talers were paid for clothing and equipment for the army (trade and industry in Hesen were the main benefactors of the treaty system), the remaining 11 mill Taler went to the administration of the country. It is certain that no money from the subsidien contract went to the landgrave Friedrich II. The landgrave as Chief of the army was involved in the many decision making regarding the hessian corps in America. All promotions of officers were decided in Kassel. Deviation from the valid uniform regulation - e.g. feathers at the hats of the grenadiers (their missing grenadier caps could be longer replaced) or also wearing the red British uniform by hessian aides with the British commander in chief in New York - he decided

Or in the case of a hessian commander in America who changed the tactical deployment of his units Friedrich cancelled the order. He decided on complaints from officers, he decided on requests for a transfer back to Hessen and he made sure that promotions of NCO's to officers were upheld. He tried to improve the logistics. He looked after the request of sending replacement infantry swords to America. Especially after he heard from America that the missing swords put down the moral of his soldiers. He personel decorated 25 officers with the medal Pour la Vertu militaire for bravery, even Lieutenant v. Andresen of the Regt Erbprinz who surrendered with his unit at Yorcktown was decorated. In addition, he pursued the complete military investigation dealing with the capture of the Brigade Rall in Trenton. He requested tough punishment for hessian officers who had gambling depts, but he showed understand when Brirish customs officials complained to him that in some barrels and crates labeled equipment for the hessian corps liqour was found, which was ilegal to ship to America. He simply answered that there must have been wronhly labeled.. . He granted permission for officers in America to marry, in the case of Major v. d. Walsburg he granted permission because of the positive feedback of the regimental commander and comander in chief.

Reports were received two times monthly in Kassel and the landgrave answered once a month. If mail was lost the reports had to be done again (12). The landgrave could count on a loyal officers corps in America, which contrary to Prussia was only made up of half of them coming from the nobility. Only two cases of officers derseting in America are known and one of them a second Lieutenant wrote to the landgrave for permission to come back to the army. The permission was rejected. In Kassel the landgrave watched daily, except Sundays, between 9 and 11 o'clock the parade and drill of the troops of the city garrison. Military justice was based on the traditional articles of war, in todays view it was a very brutal discipline but the landgrave brought improvements and the deliquent in the Gassen laufen now had his runs counted in both ways.

Home coming of the troops to the America and end of the term of office of the landgrave
From the 19,000 hessisian soldiers approximately 11,000 returned in 1783/84. 530 were killed in action in the seven years of war. About 4,300 died of diseases and on wounds, and about 3,200 remained partly with permission (Nova Scotia) but most of them stayed without permission .
The returning troops, before they were dismissed into their garrisons at Rheinfels (St. Goar), Ziegenhain, Marburg, Rinteln, Hensfeld, Spangenberg, Frankenberg, Wolfhagen, Allendorf, Eschwege and Kassel were welcomed personally by the landgrave. In the case of the Regt Erbprinz even hereditary prince Wilhelm rode out to greet the unit and than rode back to Kassel in front of his unit.. The units who lost their flags in Yorktown and in Trenton, received new colors by the landgrave, some units received new uniforms and muskets. Some farms in Hessen became at that time depth-free.
The great economic improvements in industry, especially with the weavers, dyer's, sheep breeders, shoemakers, hat-makers and stocking-makers, justr to mention some of the industry, is very well documented. (13)

When the landgrave Friedrich II died on October 31, he left his son a public treasure of about 10 mill. Talers for approximately 386,000 population (in comparison when Friedrich der Grosse died the left 51 mill Taler in the public treasurey with a population of 5.75 inhabitants). He left a well trained and experienced army of 11 Infantry regiments; 7 Garrison regiments, whereby two were already considered as quasi field regiments (Gnenadier Regt v. Bischhausen, former Regt Rall and the Kreis Regt. Wilke); 4 cavallery regiments (incl. Garde du Corps); 3 Dragoon regiments; 1 Husar Corps; 1 Jaeger Conps; 1 Artillery Corps. Like for his ancestors, the army had played a special role in his 25 year reign. The reputation was very good. Many, which are occupied today with his person, are viewing the landgraves military virtues, his hardness against himself and the denying devotion of his service and obligation - which one often attributes this to his model Friedrich the Great - was less developed, but he cared for his soldiers, and he felt it as naturally to look after their welfare service. It is confirmed in the many letters he has written to the hessian generals.

The former leading historian of the Staatsarchives Marburg Dr. Hans Phillppi writes in his book, "Landgrave Carl", It is wrong to perhorreszieren about the absolute princes to show them as Gods and as violent perpetrators, who were united in only one goal the repres their subjects. The fact was opposite: the princely administration was carried from a personal responsibility before God and the entrusted national population. These were not objects of arbitrary autoritativer decisions or moods, on the contrary all administrative and political measures from material emergency, from political positions of constraint were born by the goal to overcome the tightness the environment, the hardness of the living conditions and to promote the welfare of his subjects".

1. H. D. Sdhmidt ,,The Hessian Mercenaries, the career of a political cliché"
2) v. Both / Vogel LG Fr. II v. Hessen-Kassel, Deutscher Kunstverband Münnchen 1973, S. 12.
3) milit. Korrespondenz LG Fr. II. Bestand 4-3741. Staatsarchiv Marburg.
4) zitiert bei Wegner, Karl-Hermann Landrnaf Fr. II ein Regent der Aufklaerung + Klassizismus in Hessen-Kassel, Kassel 1979.
5) Staatsarchiv Marburg 4-Nr. 3450 Nachlass OTL Lange 1776.
6) zitiert bei v. Both LG Fr. II Seite 18.
7) Staatsarchiv Marburg 4-Nn. 2801 und 4192.
6) Staatsarchiv Marburg 4-4105 und 4121; sowie Briefe STAM 4-3090.
Ordres LG Fr. II an die hess. Generale im 7-jaehrigen-Krieg.
9) SIAM 4-4203.
10) Demandt, Geschichte Hessen Kassel, Seite 140/1972, 1959.
11) v. Both LG Fr. II S. 110.
12) Korrespondenz LG Fr. II mit General v. Heister und spaeter General v. Knyphausen bzw. v. Lossberg. 4-3097 und 4-3101/02 STAMarburg.
13) 0. Dascher Textilgewerbe Hessen-Kassel, Marburg