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The German Battalion


Sources:  The Society for the History of Germans in Maryland, Charles Francis Stein;  The Emmitsburg Area Historical Society.; Journal & Correspondence of the State Council of Maryland, 1779-1780-Bernard Christian Steiner, Editor.  Maryland Historical Society 1924.;

1776-Congress authorized the establishment of a number of additional regiments.  One was a German Battalion comprised of officers and men selected from among the German settlers of Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Resolution:  Continental Congress, May 25, 1776

“Resolved that one Battalion of Germans be raised for the Service of the United Colonies”

Resolution:  Continental Congress, June 27, 1776

“Resolved that four companies of Germans be raised in Pennsylvania and four companies in Maryland to compose said regiment. 

Resolution of the Maryland convention, July 6, 1776:

“Resolved that this Province will raise four companies and that two companies of Germans be raised in Baltimore County and two in Frederick County.
“Resolved that another company be added to the German Battalion and that David Woelper be appointed Captain of said company”  This, the ninth Company consisted of both Marylanders and Pennsylvanians under command of Captain Woelper. 

Each company consisted of ninety enlisted men and the following officers:  a Captain, a 1st Lieutenant, 2nd  Lieutenant, Ensign and non-commissioned officers:  4 Sergeants, 4 Corporals, 2 Drummers or one Fifer and one Drummer and 80 privates.

The German Regiment was organized under the command of Colonel Nicholas Haussegger of Pennsylvania.  Next in rank was Lieutenant-Colonel George Stricker of Frederick.  His commission was dated July 17, 1776.  He resigned his commission April 29, 1777.  George Stricker was born in Frederick Maryland in 1732.  His parents were Swiss and settled in North Carolina before coming to Maryland.  He served as an officer in the French and Indian War in 1755 and took part in the defense of Western Maryland against the Indians.  He was commissioned as a Captain January 14, 1776 and was stationed near Annapolis for several months.  When the German Regiment was organized, he was appointed Lieutenant Colonel on July 17, 1776 and was its highest ranking officer.  He was a member of the German Reformed church in Frederick.  He fought with the German Battalion in battles around New York City and New Jersey.  He became the field commander when Colonel Haussegger was taken prisoner by the Hessians in Trenton.  He led the Battalion at the Battle of Princeton on January 3, 1777.  His oldest son was General John Stricker.  He died on November 29, 1810. 

He was succeeded by Major Ludwig Weltner of Maryland.  Ludwig Weltner was an officer in the Frederick County Militia during the French and Indian War and also took part in the defense of the western frontier.  He was born in Germany.  When the German Battalion was organized, he was commissioned as a Major.  He too took part in the battles in New York and New Jersey.  He was raised to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel on April 29, 1777.    In that position he was in charge of what was left of the German Battalion at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-1778.  When the Battalion was reorganized in the spring, he became the field commander, serving as such at the Battle of Monmouth.  He was an outstanding officer.  He continued to serve until he retired when the Battalion was retired on February 19, 1781.  General Washington wrote to the Board of War commending Weltner’s leadership and urging them to give him the retirement of a full Colonel.  Colonel Weltner was also active in the Lutheran Church in Frederick County. 

The Chaplain of the unit was Rev. James Francis Armstrong of Maryland (appointed December 3, 1777).  He resigned on February 1, 1778.   Dr. Charles Ritter served as the unit Surgeon from September 1, 1776 to August 1778.  He was succeeded by Pennsylvania Dr. Peter Peres.  The Surgeon’s Mate was Alexander Smith of Maryland, who served from August 1778 to January 1, 1781.  The Ensign Jacob Raybold was the Maryland born Quartermaster.

The two Baltimore County Maryland companies of the German Battalion had the following officers in July, 1776:

Captain Henry Fister’s Company
Captain Henry Fister-appointed Captain of the German Battalion on July 12, 1776.  He was apparently from Baltimore County, as were the majority of his men.  After serving the first year, he resigned as a result of wounds on April 7, 1777.

1st Lieutenant Charles Balzell-born in Alsace (which was at that time a territory of Germany) on October 15, 1737, he came to the U.S. and settled in Frederick.  He later moved to Baltimore.  He took part in the defense of Western Maryland against the Indians.  He was appointed 1st Lieutenant in the German Battalion on July 12, 1776 and raised to Captain on May 10, 1777.  He was wounded at the Battle of Germantown, October 4, 1777.  He recovered and continued his service until the Battalion was retired on January 1, 1781.  He died on December 31, 1813 in Woodstock, Maryland. 

2nd Lieutenant Michael Mayer-was promoted to Captain in the spring of 1778.
Ensign Jacob Grommet

Captain George Keeport’s Company
Captain George Keeport-George Keeport (KÜHBORD) was from Baltimore County.  His family was active in the German Reformed Church.  He began his military career on January 4, 1776 as a lieutenant in the Seventh Company.  He enlisted many men for the German Battalion.  He received his Captain’s commission on July 12, 1776 and fought with his men in the battles around New York and Brooklyn as well as the battles of Trenton and Princeton in the winter of 1776-1777.  He resigned his commission on May 4, 1777 and became the supply officer and purchasing agent for the Continental Army.  He opened an office in Baltimore City and supplied the armies of General Washington.  Much of the supplies (ammunition, powder, guns, etc.) were supplied by the German artisans of the area.  After the war, he was a leading merchant in Baltimore and built a large home at the corner of Pratt and Charles Streets, which was demolished in 1973 for ‘Harborplace’. 

1st Lieutenant Samuel Gerock-the son of Reverend Johann Siegfried Gerock, pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Baltimore, he volunteered early and was appointed 1st Lieutenant in the German Battalion on July 12, 1776 in Captain Keeport’s unit.  He was promoted to Captain on July 1, 1777.  In November of that year, he left the Battalion and was appointed quartermaster to the state hospital.  There were some reported issues of ‘improper conduct’ and Gerock was arrested in Frederick under the suspicion of trading with the enemy.  He was jailed for three months until his father (well respected) could secure his release.  Pastor Gerock’s other son, George, was Captain Keeport’s supply assistant.  The pastor’s reputation and his dedication to the United States was never questioned. 

2nd Lieutenant William Ritter

Ensign John Lindenberger-from Baltimore and a member of Zion Church, he was appointed Ensign.  He served the Battalion throughout the first year of the Revolutionary War.  In April 1777, he was transferred to the 4th Continental Artillery as a 1st Lieutenant.  He resigned on February 3, 1779.

The two Frederick County Maryland companies of the German Battalion had the following officers in July, 1776:

Captain Philip Graybill’s Company
Captain Philip Graybill-Philip Graybill of Baltimore County was appointed Captain of the German Battalion on July 8, 1776.  He served for two years, resigning on March 12, 1778.  His family KRÄHENBÜHL was from Emmenthal Switzerland.

1st Lieutenant John Lorah-lived in Frederick and began his military career as 2nd Lieutenant of the Frederick County Flying Camp in June, 1776.  He was in active service when the war erupted and the German Battalion was formed.  He became the Captain and commanding officer on May 28, 1777 and continued in that post until the end of the winter of 1777-1778.  He resigned on February 28, 1778, probably due to poor health.  He retired to Washington County and lived there until his death.

2nd Lieutenant Christian Meyers-Served with the German Battalion throughout the war.  He began his career on July 12, 1776 and was promoted on May 12, 1777 to 1st Lieutenant.  One year later he was promoted to Captain and Company Commander.  He continued with the German Battalion, in this capacity until the end of the war and retired when the Battalion was retired.

Ensign Martin Shugart-Appointed Ensign on July 11, 1776 and promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on November 15, 1777.  After spending the winter at Valley Forge, he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant on May 25, 1778.  He continued his service with the German Battalion until it was retired on January 1, 1781.

Captain William Heyser’s Company
Captain William Heyser-born in Frederick, he was appointed Captain of the German Battalion on July 12, 1776.  He served for two years, resigning in May, 1778. 

1st Lieutenant Jacob Kotz-became the 2nd Lieutenant on July 12, 1776 and was promoted to 1st Lieutenant on September 25, 1776.  He served with the German Battalion until April 8, 1778 when he resigned and returned home to Western Maryland. 

2nd Lieutenant Adam Smith-One of the original Maryland officers, his family name was SCHMIDT.  He was made 2nd Lieutenant on July 12, 1776.  He resigned May 4, 1777.

Ensign Paul Christian-Was commissioned as Ensign in the German Battalion on July 12, 1776.  He service was short as he resigned on November 8, 1776.

The call to arms was well heeded by the German immigrant community and the completion of the unit was complete by the summer of 1776.   The original enlistment period was for three years.  There were some accommodations made for those serving from the rural/agricultural areas.  It was very difficult on the families and the farms when the head of the family was absent over three harvest periods. 

January 3-4, 1777 General Washington crossed the Delaware and attacked the British camp at Princeton.   The German Battalion fought under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Stricker.

Late spring-the Continental army was reorganized and the Maryland forces were consolidated into two regiments.  Five additional Maryland regiments were added.  These regiments, with the German Battalion wee organized into the ‘Maryland Line’. 

August 1777-the German Battalion was involved in the night raid on Staten Island.  The raid proved to be a disaster and the German Battalion suffered severe losses.  The German Battalion’s original nine companies had been reduced to two companies and spent the winter of 1777-1778 at Valley Forge.

Winter 1777-1778-General von Stueben developed a manual of arms, instructed the men and trained them to become an effective fighting unit.  The German Battalion was reorganized with several officer changes, many retired or resigned in the spring of 1778. 

February 26, 1778-the German Battalion officially made part of the Maryland’s quota and was numbered as the Eighth Maryland. 

Fall 1778-the German Battalion participated in operations at Rhode Island and were later stationed at White Plains, New York.

1779-the German Battalion was active in the raids on the Iroquois Indians.  The Indian warfare was successfully concluded in September 1779.  The German Battalion, under the command of Colonel Ludwig Weltner continued its assignment of guarding the frontier. 

1780-the German Battalion was sent to Pennsylvania to guard the frontier.

January 1, 1781-General Washington ordered the army reformed and the Maryland forces were consolidated into five regiments serving in the Southern campaign.  The German Battalion was officially disbanded. 

The Men of the German Battalion

Capt. Henry Fister

Lt. Charles Balzel

Lt. Michael Mayer

Sgt. George Wintz

Corp. George Hoover

Corp. Frederick Wilhite

Corp. Jacob Tudderow

Corp. Jacob Low

Ensign Jacob Grommet

Sgt. John Balzel

Sgt. Philip Shroop

Sgt. Philip Shopper

Drummer John Heffner

P. Henry Delawter

P. Ludwick Visinger

P. Peter Americk

P. Henry Hawk

P. Jacob Hammer

P. Conrad Houseman

P. Jacob Fantz

P. Nicholas Frye

P. Henry Hain

P. Jacob Kuntz

P. Jacob Eggman

P. John Zimmerman

P. John Ridenhour

P. John Beckerson

P. Henry Smith

P. Adam Froshour

P. Christopher Slender

P. Henry Cronies

P. Christian Sheafer

P. Michael Beiker

P. Leonard Ludwick

P. Leonard Everly

P. Anthony Hamilton

P. John Snider

P. Geo. Studdlemier

P. Adam Charles

P. Peter Kuntz

P. Philip Colour

P. Abraham Fettie

P. Justinius Hogshiled

P. Valentine Shotter

P. John Imfeld

P. Edw. Robertson

P. Henry Ziegler

P. George Shrantz

P. John Shatz

P. Jacob Tabler

P. Adam Smeltzer

P. Michael Stiener

P. Mathias King

P. John Bird

P. John Able

P. Philip Isingminger

P. Peter Graff

P. Fred. Henninghouse

P. Jacob Miller

P. Gottlieb Klein

P. Michael Shoemaker

P. John Leather

P. John Ringer

P. Thomas Polehouse

P. Henry Hildebrand

P. Jacob Croumer

P. Bartle Engel

P. Anthony Miller

P. Philip Stouder

P. John Klein

P. Jacob Farberha

P. Philip Stouder

P. John Miller

P. Michael Moser

P. Peter Hoover

Charles Secrest

Capt. Michael Boyer

Corp. ? Polehouse

Corp. ? Shoemaker

Corp. Andrew Robinson

 Nicholas Link             Thomas Beatty George Bear Edward Stone
 George Beall Timothy Swain John Balzer Nich Kline
 James Dod Henry Clemens Jacob Hough John Cray

Corp. John Hoshield

Corp. John Shotz

Drummer Thomas Hatchcraft

Drummer Henry Ferrins

P. Thomas Mahony

P. Geo. Kepphard

P. Peter Kuntz

P. Abraham Kettle

P. Henry Fisher

P. John Foliott

P. Owen Curley

P. Charles Fullim

P. James Johnson

P. ? Wade

P. ? Mallady

P. Adam Gantner

P. Rudolph Marolf

P. Jacob Miller, Sr.

P. Jacob Cramer

P. Peter Emerick

P. Henry Herring

P. Henry Cronise

P. Phillip Fisher

P. John Snider

P. John Wachtel

P. Phillip Strider

P. Jacob Riggnagle

P. Casemar Hill

P. Conrad Housman

P. Michael Stoner

P. William Taylor

P. John Fliet

P. John Cline

P. Peter Hewer

P. Michael Dochterman

P. Christian Settlemires

P. Peter Kries

P. Jacob Koefflich

P. Adam Markel          (enlisted 7-21-1776)

P. David Streib

P. Joseph Carrol

P. David Levy

P. William Trux

P. John Capes

P. John Trux

P. Jacob Bigler

P. Jacob Burk

P. John Weller

P. Gotfried Loure

P. Jacob Wagner

P. Michael Grosh

P. Michael Brubacher

Drummer Benj. England

Capt. Geo. Keeports

Lt. Samuel Gerock

Lt. William Ritter

Ens. John Lindenberger

Sgt. Jacob Smith

Sgt. Henry Speck

Sgt. John Keener

Sgt. Christian Kearns

Corp. George Cole

Corp. Fred. Moppes

Corp. Ulrich Linkenfetter

Corp. Philip Bitting

P. Peter Bast

P. Jacob Stein

P. John Schorcht

P. Christian Lichte

P. George Schlesler

P. Daniel Fuhrman

P. Henry Traut

P. Jacob Shutz

P. Peter Hahn

P. George Miller

P. Peter Anckle

P. Jacob Wink

P. Daniel Boechler

P. John Harring

P. John Franken

P. John Cole

P. Adam Schaeffer

P. Mathias Schreier

P. Conrad Reitz

P. John Brown

P. Fred. Mongoal

P. John Bauer

P. Conrad Boehm

P. John Miller

P. Phillip Boehm

P. John Smith

Capt. William Keyser

Lt. Adam Smith

Lt. Jacob Kottz

Eng. Paul Christman

Sgt. David McCorgan

Sgt. Jacob Hose

Sgt. Daniel Jaquet

Sgt. Jacob Miller

Corp. Andrew Filler

Corp. Phillip Reevenach

Corp. Barnard Frey

Corp. William Lewis

Drummer Geo. Gittin

Fifer Jacob Gittin

P. Peter Sheese

P. Henry Stroam

Corp. Adam Stonebreaker

P. John Fogle

P. Jonathan Hecket

P. Henry Tomm

P. Jacob Hoover

P. Michael Gambler

P. George Harmony

P. Thomas Clifton

P. Michael Boward

P. Henry Wagner

P. John Crafft

P. John Shoemaker

P. Mathias Gieser

P. Mathias Dunkle

P. Fred. Filler

P. Christian Sides

P. John Kibler

P. Stuffle Wagner

P. Jacob Heefner

P. Conrod Hoyle

P. Balsor Fisher

P. Michael Weaver

P. Jacob Belsoover

P. John Rothe

P. Wentle Strayly

P. John Flick

P. John Mettz

P. Henry Michael

P. Geo. Riggleman

P. Nicholas Baird

P. Christopher Raver

P. Jacob Greathouse-shown as a deserter in 11-76, Jacob Greathouse was killed during the Indian ambush on Capt. William Foreman's Company as they passed through McMechen Narrows on 27 Sep 1777.

P. George Busch

P. Stuffle Reever

P. George Wise

Corp. John Michael

P. John Robertson

P. Adam Lieser

P. Robert Hartness-noted as a deserter in 11-76, however, Robert Hartness -was named on Capt Samuel Mason's muster roll at Fort Henry in Mar 1778.

P. Henry Benter

P. John Armstrong

P. Simon Gogler

P. Jacob Grass

P. Phillip Smithly

P. George Wilhelm

P. James Duncan

P. John Beecher

P. Fred. Switzer

P. Jacob Fowee

P. Thomas Burney

P. John Itnier

P. Phillip Greechbaum

P. Jacob Bishop

P. Alex. Sailor

P. Martin Pifer

P. Peter Gittin

P. Frances Myers

P. Melcher Benter

P. Tobias Friend

P. Jacob Heefner

P. John Smithley

P. Everhard Smith

P. Godfrey Young

P. Fred. Locher

P. Michael Yeakly

P. James Furnier

P. Henry Quier

P. Henry Statler

P. John Cropp

Capt. Philip Shrawder

Sgt. William Lewis

Sgt. John Jacquet

Sgt. Jacob Hose

Corp. James Smith

 Corp. John Brucher

Drummer Moses McKinsey

Drummer Joshua McKinsey

P. Michael Gambler

P. James Ashley

P. William Pointer

P. Jacob Mosen

P. Jonathan Hackett

P. Henry Straam

P. James Duncan

P. Melcher Benner

P. Fred. Schwidzer

P. Michael Weaver

P. James Forney

P. Jacob Beltzhoover

P. John Groop

P. George Getting

P. John Hatfield

P. Henry Michael

P. Thomas Clifton

P. Francis Gavin

P. John Kebler

P. Mathias Keiser

P. John Etnier

P. Fred. Locker

P. Patrick Fliming

P. George Regliman

P. Christopher Waggoner

P. Ferdinand Lorentz

P. Philip Miller

P. Henry Millberger

P. Jacob Freymiller

P. James Cappelle

P. John Rick

P. Lorentz Kneary

P. Jacob Etter

P. Peter Baker

P. Rudolph Crower

P. Adam Rohrbach

P. Rowland Smith

P. John Shryock

Sgt. William Rommelsem

P. Jacob Striter

P. Martin Lantz

P. John Hearly

P. Wolfgang Ettsperger

P. Christopher Regele

P. Fred. Haller

P. John Moore

P. Wendell Andreas

P. Michael Kearshner

P. Wolfgang Ettzinger

P. David Mumma

P. Abraham Frantz

P. Fred. Weger

P. Haenry Hartman

P. Wendell Lorentz

P. Jacob Hartenstein

P. William Altimus

P. Jacob Burne

P. Jacob Keintz

P. Geo. Rittlemyer

P. Philip Kautz

Pl. Jacob Myer

P. John Shlife

Sgt. John Machenheimer

Corp. Geo. Stauffer

P. Gottlieb Danroth

P. Lorentz Danroth

P. Henry Decker

P. Jacob Hoffman

P. Charles Zarrell

P. Charles Charles

P. Joseph Procter

P. Joseph Braeter

P. Christian Apple

P. George Myers

P. Henry Willsdaugh

P. Geo. Leithauser

P. Joseph Smith

P. Henry Wilstock

P. Henry Rumfeld

Fifer  George Hyatt

P. Thoms Kimmel

P. Joseph Hook

P. Jacob Miley

P. Andrew Gorr

Corp.  Frederick Sollers

Corp. William Speck

P. Michael Growley

P. Simon Rinehart

P. Jacob Ruppert

P. Nicholas Keyser

P. John Welty

P. John Summers

P. Michael Huling

P. John Eyssell

Sgt. William Litzinger

P. Fred. Downey

P. William Cunnius

P. James Smith

Drummer Peter Finley

P. John Deitch

P. Joseph Williams

P. Henry Spengle

Cadet John Stricker

P. Peter Segman

P. John Kendrick

P. James Champness

P. Adam Mussler

P. William Vincent

P. Stepen McGrough

P. William Neving

P. James Woolford

P. James Stiles

P. Pearer Batolomey

P. Richard Hazlip

P. Robert Porter

P. William Mummard

P. Hugh McKoy

P. John Ammersley

P. John Stanton

P. John Bennet

P. John Roach

P. Benjamin Elliott

P. Cornelius Quinlin

P. Philip Fitzpatrick

P. Francis Carns

P. Charles Jones

P. Samuel Barts

P. Mathias Smith

P. William Rider

P. William Malinia

P. Timothy Cahill

P. Cornelius Vaughan

P. James Murphy

P. Christian Castner

P. William Pope

P. John Fennell

P. William Johnston

P. John Richards

P. Albert Hendricks

P. Philip Bates

P. George Arnold

Fifer Adam Mattrit

Drummer Michael Smith

P. John Malady

P. Thomas Mackall

P. Charles Fulham

P. John Hughmore

P. Thomas Hutchcrofft

P. John Wade

P. James Johnston

P. Casimir Hill

P. John Smadern

P. Jacob Dolton

P. John Timhen

P. Henry Ferrins

P. James Dyer

P. Jacob Alexander

P. Christian Kepplinger

P. Philip Kinkel

P. Thomas Polehouse

P. Abraham Miller

P. Levy Aaron

P. Jacob Moser

P. Jacob Kauffman

P. Richard Gaul

P. John Shivey

P. Thomas Halfpenny

P. Richard O’Quin

P. George Bantz

P. Thomas Hazelwood

P. Richard Hopkins

P. William White

P. James Connoway

P. Thomas Holdup

P. Mathias Custgrove

P. John Waldon

P. Andrew Shuler

P. John Stout

P. Robert Barnet

P. George Kephard

P. Frederick Stone

P. John Weeguel

P. John Emersly

P. Adam Musler

P. John Henrick

P. James Tomey

P. John Viebler

P. John Weegul

P. Edard Bairford

P. Michael Rightmyer

P. Charles Lago

P. Dineas Doron

P. George Silver

P. John Rogers

P. John Nevet

P. John Clem

Notes on Names:

Some names may appear more than once in the above table.  This is due to men moving from unit to unit and to replacements in regiments through loss, injury or retirement. 

The names in the list for the most part have been anglicized.  At least in the early recruitment stages, it was required that the enlistee be ‘German-speaking’.  There has been confirmation that one enlistee (James Fox) was removed to another unit due to the fact that he “not being a German or the son of a German could not serve in that Regiment”.