Hessian Cap Plates
These embossed metal pieces once adorned the distinctive military headgear worn by Hessian fusiliers — specialized soldiers who served under British command during the Revolutionary War. Between 1776 and 1783, about 30,000 German-speaking soldiers from the principalities of Hesse-Kassel, Hesse-Hanau, Anhalt-Zerbst, Anspach-Bayreuth, Waldeck, and Brunswick served in America. The largest number of these troops came from Hesse-Kassel, giving rise to the nickname “Hessians.” The United States Army Corps of Engineers recovered these fragments in 1915 during dredging operations in the Delaware River near Philadelphia. Recent historical research suggests that they were lost in March 1778, when a British transport ship carrying supplies and reinforcements — including Hessian soldiers — sank after striking obstructions that had been placed in the river by the American Army the previous year.
See the Hessian Cap Plates on display in the Trenton and Princeton section of the core galleries on the second floor.
Museum of the American Revolution
2003.00.0019, 2003.00.0020, 2003.00.0022