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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.

Object Details

  • Cap Plates
    Museum of the American Revolution
    2003.00.0019, 2003.00.0020, 2003.00.0022


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Image 121620 Hessian Helmet Cap Plate Craft

Make Your Own Hessian Cap Craft

Create your own Hessian cap like those worn by the German soldiers who served alongside the British Army
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Image 09282020 16x9 Rtr Hessian Diary Readtherevolutionbookcover Rtr 93

A Hessian Diary of the American Revolution

This excerpt includes a journal entry of a young Hessian soldier during the month of July 1781, the summer before the surrender at Yorktown.
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Image 120420 16x9 Rtr55 Hessians Crytzer


This excerpt from Brady Crytzer provides a look at the American Revolutionary War from the perspective of German Hessian soldiers who fought for the British
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This image shows a French gorget. It is gold with a silver crown symbol in the center. It is displayed against a white background.

French Gorget

This gorget, displaying the royal arms of the Bourbon kings of France, was a vestigial piece of armor worn by a French officer as a sign of rank.
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Image 091120 British Gorget Collection 1776 Englishgorget

British Gorget

This silver gorget was made in England in 1775-1776 for an officer of the British Army’s 60th or Royal American Regiment.
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Image 092220 16x9 Peter Muhlenberg Pistols Muhlenberg Pistols

Peter Muhlenberg's Pistols

German-American Brigadier General Muhlenberg (1746-1807) carried these English holster pistols during the American Revolution.
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