The following information was taken from
"Johann Heinrich Bartholomey-Hessian and American Jager"
a Paper which was written by Michael Bartholomew and published by the Johannes Schwalm Historical Association. Mr Bartholomew's paper deals with his research of his ancestor who came to America to fight with the Hessians during the American War of Independence.
Originally attached to the Jagers in Captain Johann Edwald's Company of the Hessian Cassel Feldjager Corps, he was captured by the Americans on January 4th 1777 and then took service with them to fight on the American side.
This selected piece of the work that we present here deals mostly with Johann Heinrich Bartholomey's service with Ottendorf's Corps, Selin's Company. It gives a little more insight into what a soldier in Ottendorf's Corps would have experienced.
I would like to thank Mr. Michael Bartholomew for his assistance and permission to use this selected piece of his work.
This document is Copyright protected and can not be used except by expressed written permission.
© Copyright 1999 Michael Bartholomew / Johannes Schwalm Historical Association
***Please note that the following excerpt retains its accompanying footnotes as it was in the original manuscript.
(There are two instances in which the information from the National Archives makes mention of Selin's Company attached to Moses Hazen's 2nd Continental Regiment prior to 1781. As Mr. Bartholomew mentions later in the text this is most definitely an error of the compilers at the National Archives and this error keeps cropping up in our research of Selin's Company in the years of 1776 through 1780. Most problems seem to lie once again with the "Varick Transcripts" which has been a source of mis-information throught our and others research when it comes to Ottendorff, Selin & Charles Armand J.W.F.)
Johann Heinrich Bartholomey (1750-1822), was the immigrant ancestor of one of the German descent Bartholomew family lines in the United States and Canada. Family tradition indicates that he came to America as a member of the German Allied Troops serving with the British Army in the American Revolution. These soldiers were more commonly referred to as Hessians.
The initial attempt to identify Bartholomey as a member of the Hessen Cassel forces was through the HETRINA volumes.8 While the surname Bartholomey (including spelling variants) appears several times, no direct matches can be found for either a Johann Heinrich or Heinrich Bartholomey. The closest entry, from volume 4, is for Johannes Bartholomai, who was taken prisoner, then deserted from the Feldjager Corps in January 1777. 9 An inspection of Photostats of the original manuscripts of the monthly lists for the Feldjager Corps, shows Bartholomai's given name listed clearly as Johann, not Johannes as was indicated in HETRINA.10 This is a very important point. As noted before, there is a definite distinction between the names Johann and Johannes. Because Bartholomey was listed as Johann, it is very possible that his real given name was not properly recorded. The manuscript record indicates that Johann Bartholomai and Christian Criselius, Jagers in Captain Johann Ewald's company of the Hessen Cassel Feldjager Corps had taken service with the rebels after having been captured on 4 January 1777.
A search of the National Archives Revolutionary War documents identifies Sergeant Hnriah [sic] Bartholomew on the rolls of Selin's Company of Colonel Moses Hazen's Regiment of Continental Troops, as having enlisted in 1777. 11 Further investigation of the Pennsylvania Archives
documents show Henry Bartholomew, a private, enlisted on 1 March 1777 in Company 1 of the Independent Corps commanded by Major Nicholas Dietrich, Baron von Ottendorff. 12 He was transferred into Captain Anthony Selin's Company 2, where he is listed both as a private and a sergeant. Selin's Company was merged into Hazen's Regiment later in the war. Von Ottendorff's Corps was comprised of three companies, one light infantry commanded by Ottendorff, and two companies of hunters or chasseurs, one commanded by Captain Anthony Selin.
The one clue that links the Hessian Jager, Johann Bartholomai, to the American soldier, Henry Bartholomew, comes from further inspection of the muster rolls of von Ottendorff's Corps. Also appearing is Adolph Croselius (also spelled Groselius), who enlisted on 1 March 1777. 13 Could Henry Bartholomew and Adolph Croselius
be the same men as Johann Bartholomai and Christian Criselius who were listed as prisoners and then deserters from Captain Johann Ewald's Jager company? Probably so, when one considers the following: The surnames Bartholomey and Criselius are not common ones. For those surnames to appear in both the Hessian and American units, with identical capture and enlistment dates, is certainly not purely coincidental. Both the Hessen Cassel and American units were comprised of hunters (or Jagers).
The German naming convention has already been mentioned in reference to Johann Heinrich Bartholomey. Thus it is possible that Criselius' full name was Christian Adolph Criselius. The recording of their desertion from the Feldjager Corps did not occur until May 1778, a full sixteen months after capture. A closer inspection of the monthly lists for the Feldjager Corps shows that after December 1776, enlisted soldiers were only named in case of death or desertion. Two separate monthly lists for January 1777 show 13 and 6 Jagers captured. No names were given on either list. Because the entry was delayed, the likelihood of a recording error is greatly increased. It is possible that the recorder mistakenly listed the christening name instead of the more common second name.
On 1 March 1777, less than two months after being taken prisoner, Heinrich Bartholomey enlisted in Major von Ottendorff's Corps. The exact location and circumstances of his enlistment are unknown. While it was well documented that Congress developed plans for encouraging Hessian soldiers to desert,38 it was against written policy for prisoners of war to enlist in the Continental Army.
On 13 January
1777, George Washington sent a letter to all Continental Army
Captains stating, "You are not to Inlist any Deserters from
the Army of the King of Britain, or Persons of Disaffected or
Suspicious Character, the American Service having already Suffered
greatly by the Desertion of such persons."39 This
policy may have been ignored by Captain Anthony Selin and Major
Captain Ewald reported on 10 April 1777, "we learned that a French [sic] major, Mr. von Ottendorff, had arrived with a newly organized corps consisting of Germans and Frenchmen for the reinforcement of the post at Bound Brook."40 From the 11th until the 20th of April, Ottendorff attacked Ewald's post near Bound Brook, New Jersey. These skirmishes between Ottendorff's and Ewald's troops were probably very dangerous for Bartholomey and Criselius, as it may have been possible for Ewald or some of his men to recognize their former countrymen. Hessian deserters, when caught, were known to have been executed.
Within two months of his enlistment, Heinrich was promoted. A pay roll for the period 1 May to 1 June 1777 for Captain Selin's Company, Ottendorff's Corps, lists Henrich Bartholomia [sic] as a sergeant to receive 60 shillings or £3 per month. The pay roll was signed by Colonel Richard Humpton, Commander of the 2nd Brigade of General Lincoln's Division.41 Also appearing on this pay roll was Charles Butner, a private. He is the same man as Johann Carl Buttner, who wrote an autobiography describing his exploits in America prior to and through the war. It was written as a memoir, not a diary, so exact dates of events are lacking. However, he describes his enlistment and some of the activities of Ottendorff's Corps, shedding insight into the similar experiences that Bartholomey may have had. Buttner was recruited in Philadelphia. He was an indentured servant, but his master allowed him to enlist, providing Buttner paid him £1 sterling, one third of his wages per month.
He describes his service as follows:
As the Corps of Ortendorff [sic] had reached the number of three hundred, we marched to join the great North American army which was under the command of General Washington. The service of this corps was very hard. As we received no tents, we were obliged to build huts for ourselves out of boughs. We had to serve as outposts for the main army, and were obliged to patrol all night long. We also had to forage for cattle to be slaughtered for the use of the soldiers. As a rule we took the cattle from the planters who remained loyal to the king. Although the United States were trying as hard as they could to free themselves from English rule, yet there were a few that did not favor the insurrection, and worked against the cause of liberty partly because they were born Englishmen, and partly on grounds of conscience. But they suffered often very keenly for their loyalty to the English government. To discover their attitude in this matter, usually six men went into the houses, pretended to be Hessians and asked questions about Washington's army: how strong it was, where it was located at the present time, and such details. If these people seemed to be glad to see us, and gave us information about the North American army, soon the entire detachment entered and took possession of the plantation, drove away the cattle and often stripped the house. The duped people then sincerely regretted their frankness, gazed with tears in their eyes after their cattle that we were driving away, and seeing the "U.S." on our powder pouches, realized too late that we were soldiers of the United States. Such matters occupied almost every night. The English, who very soon received word of our doings, never forgave us.42
The uniform of Ottendorff's Corps
was blue with
green collar and cuffs. This sketch of Buttner in uniform,
taken from his narrative, is shown in the original manuscript in black & white.
Two additional stories told by Buttner deserve mention. After he had been in the service of Ottendorff's Corps for approximately six months, Buttner and six other soldiers decided to desert to the British and Hessians. As they left camp at night, a sentry spotted them and fired a shot. Buttner returned to camp, however the six others made their escape. Patrols that were sent out immediately to find them were unsuccessful. Several days later, the corps received marching orders. After several hours, they reached a mountain that was occupied by combined British and Hessian forces. A battle ensued, and the Americans were overtaken. Buttner chose this opportunity to surrender. In addition, he made his intentions to desert known. He also saw "the entire corps of Ortendorff's [sic] men being led along under arrest, captured by an English company."44 Buttner was reported missing from Captain Selin's Company at the Battle of Short Hills, New Jersey on 26 June 1777. 45 Colonel Armand was in command of 80 men at Short Hills, of which 30 were killed, and Captain John Paul Schott and approximately 30 other soldiers were captured on this date.46
A General Court Martial was held at Washington's headquarters in Morristown, New Jersey on 2 July 1777. Five soldiers from Colonel Armand's Independent Corps were charged with desertion, found guilty, and sentenced to receive 39 lashes.47 They are likely five of the six who attempted escape with Buttner. On 16 July 1777, a letter was written by Charles Seitz, Adjutant of the Corps, to Dr. Otto at the hospital in Trenton, concerning Sergeant Henry Bartholomew.48 Heinrich fractured a bone in a fall and was sent to the hospital in Trenton to be cared for by Dr. Otto.
Camp Cross Roads, July 16, 1777
The bearer of this:-Sergeant Henry Bartholomew of our Corps, has had the misfortune through a fall to receive a fracture and as this young man is a
well-behaved and good soldier, I wish to recommend him to your good care, that you yourself may possibly care for him, and as your skill is well known, we have no doubt at all that he will soon be in good condition. Our whole army lies still here and I have no news at all. Yours very truly
Charles Seitz Adjutant of the Corps
P.S. My most humble compliments to your wife if she is there now. C.S."
To substantiate the
validity of the letter, additional research on Charles Seitz,
Dr. Otto, and the location of Camp Cross Roads was undertaken.
Charles Seitz was commissioned as Adjutant of the Corps commanded
by Major Ottendorff at Philadelphia on 14 April 1777, and resigned
his commission on 22 September
1777. 49 There were four American military physicians by the name of Otto; Bodo Otto, and his sons Frederick, Bodo Jr., and John Augustus. All four are documented in a book by James E. Gibson.50 On or around 4 June 1777, Dr. Frederick Otto and Dr. John Augustus Otto were commissioned as Junior Surgeon and Surgeon Mate and assigned duty at their father's hospital in Trenton.51 Shortly after that, according to Gibson, a wounded Hessian officer became a patient of Dr. John Augustus Otto, and presented him with a German Improved Songbook gift with the following inscription:
"Lieutenant George Saltzmann gave this book to John A. Otto as a present, on the
18th of July 1777, at Trenton."52 A Lieutenant Gregorius (or Gregor) Saltzmann was a staff officer in the Rall Regiment, captured at Trenton on 26 December 1776. On the official Hessian report issued in February 1777, he is listed as having been sent on to Dumfries, Virginia with the other officers. Another officer, Lieutenant Sternickle, was listed as having been wounded and ultimately dying in July 1777. A more plausible scenario may be that Sternickle was the wounded officer
under Dr. Otto's care, and Saltzmann was sent to retrieve his belongings after he died. The songbook could then have been presented as a token of appreciation to Dr. Otto for his care of an enemy soldier. There are two possible locations for Camp Cross Roads. George Washington wrote an undated letter at the Cross Roads, sixteen miles from Morristown, New Jersey that was read before Continental Congress
on 28 July 1777. 53 Washington also wrote several letters from his headquarters at the Cross Roads, between the dates of 11 August and 22 August 1777. This Cross Roads is the present day town of Hartsville, Pennsylvania.54 It is located on State Highway 263 where it intersects with Bristol Road or State Route 2025, in southern Bucks County,
about 15 miles directly west of Trenton.
In early September of the same year, Armand's Corps was operating in the vicinity of Elk, now Elkton, Maryland. On 2 September, General Washington wrote to Armand that he had received a complaint from the local inhabitants, describing acts of violence committed against them, and ordered Armand to march to Wilmington, Delaware where Washington had established his headquarters. 55 On the same day, Washington wrote to Brigadier General William Maxwell, "In consequence of the remonstrance from the Inhabitants near Elk, I have commanded Armand's Corps to repair immediately to this place. If any of the people who have been injured can point out the particular Persons, either Officers or Soldiers, they shall be made Examples of."56
Heinrich Bartholomey's American military service was short-lived. On 15 November 1777, he and another soldier, Jacob Shaefer, are listed as having deserted from Selin's Company of Colonel Moses Hazen's Regiment.57 No location is designated, however on 14 November 1777, Captain Selin signed a release for another soldier at Camp Whitemarsh near Philadelphia.58 The compilers at the National Archives incorrectly assigned Heinrich to Hazen's Regiment. He had long since left the service by the time Captain Selin was assigned to Hazen in 1781.
Return To Captain Selin's Company Homepage
8 Inge Auerbach
and Otto Frñhlich, Hessische Truppen im
Amerikanischen Unabhîngigkeitskrieg (HETRINA), 6 Bd.. (Marburg:
Ver'ffentlichungen der Archivschule MarburgãInstitut f¸r
Archivwissenschaft, 1972-1987), (hereafter cited as HETRINA).
9 Ibid., IV (1976): 224, 225.
10 Monatliche Listen vom Feldjîger-Korps, Bestand 12, blaue
8853, p 10, Hessisches Staatsarchiv Marburg.
11 Heinrich Bartholomew, Sergeant, Selin's Co., Col. Moses
Hazen's Regiment; Card no. 37198464, Continental Troops,
Hazen's Regiment, A-Bi; Compiled Service Records of Soldiers
Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary
War (National Archives Microfilm Publication M881, roll 78); War
Department Collection of Revolutionary War Records, Record
Group 93; National Archives, Washington, D.C., (hereafter cited
as Heinrich Bartholomew, Compiled Service Record).
12 John Blair Linn and William Henry Egle, ed., Pennsylvania
Archives, Second Series, 2 (Harrisburg, PA: Clarence M. Busch,
State Printer, 1895), 92, 95 (hereafter cited as Linn & Egle, PA
Archives 2nd Series).
38 Ford, JCC, 5:653-55.
39 George Washington to Continental Army Captains, 13 January
1777, Fitzpatrick, Writings, 7 (1932):7-8.
40 Ewald, Diary, 55, 57.
41"A Pay Roll of Captain Antony Selins Company of the Independent
Corps Commanded by Major Ottendorff Esqr due from the first of May
1777 to June the first 1777", Collections of The New-York Historical
Society for the Year 1915 (New York: Printed for the Society,
1916), 566-569 (hereafter cited as Pay Roll Selin's Co., NY Hist.
42 Johann Carl Buttner, Narrative of Johann Carl Buttner in the
American Revolution, Heartman's historical series; no. 1 (New
York: Printed for C. F. Heartman, 1915), 41-42.
43 Ibid., 41, front leaf.
44 Ibid., 43-44.
45 List of Officers and Men of Col. Moses Hazen's 2d Canadian
Regiment; vol. 10, p. 8, 96; Numbered Record Books (M853, roll 16).
46 Linn & Egle, PA Archives 2nd Series, 2:96; and Ewald, Diary,
47 General Orders, 4 July 1777, Fitzpatrick, Writings, 8:343-49.
48 Charles Seitz to Dr. Otto at Camp Cross Roads, 16 July 1777;
transcribed copy in possession of Michael Bartholomew (1999).
49 Commission and resignation of Adjutant Charles Seitz of
Ottendorff's Corps; no. 18230; The Manuscript File (M859 roll 57).
50 James E. Gibson, Dr. Bodo Otto and the Medical Background of
the American Revolution (Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas,
1937; reprinted, Sarasota, FL: Coastal Printing, 1993), 147 (here-after
cited as Gibson, Dr. Bodo Otto).
51 Ibid., 138-139.
52 Ibid., 128.
53 Ford, JCC, 8 (1907):583.
54 Debit Entries: 1777, August 28, George Washington's Accounts of
Expenses While Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, 1775-
1783, Reproduced in facsimile with annotations by John C. Fitzpatrick.
(Boston; New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1917).
55 George Washington to Charles Armand-Tuffin, Marquis de la
Rouerie, 2 September 1777, Fitzpatrick, Writings, 9 (1933):166-67.
56 George Washington to William Maxwell, 2 September 1777,
57 Heinrich Bartholomew, Compiled Service Record; and List of
Officers and Men of Col. Moses Hazen's 2d Canadian Regiment;
vol. 10, p. 8, 96; Numbered Record Books (M853, roll 16).
58 Certificate of non-indebtedness Lieutenant John Schrop of
Armand's Independent Corps; no. 18024; The Manuscript File
(M859 roll 57).