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Subject: [A-REV] Maj von Heer prsnl guard Genl Washington Hessian/ Prussian?
Date: Thu, 08 May 2003 20:31:29 -0400


Hi RevWar researchers & members of

(& apologies for barging in w/long message.)

We have understood that Maj Bartholomew von Heer was personal guard to Genl
Washington, & was a Hessian/ Prussian/ German (not certain I know the
distinction). To quickly ID Maj Batholomew von Heer, he was specifically
referenced in a 'Proclamation' by Pres Clinton 6 Oct 1998 thusly: (excerpt):

"The dedication of the entirely German American Provost Corps which, under the
command of Major Bartholomew von Heer, served as General Washington's personal
guard unit during the Revolutionary War. . . ." see below:
http://clinton6.nara.gov/1998/10/1998-10-05-proclamation-on-german-american-day.html

Our understanding is that, somewhere, I believe in the Washington Papers,
there was a suggestion that Congress, being concerned about security, wanted,
and seemingly required, that a federal protective force/ guard for Genl
Washington be formed, and it be constituted solely from Germans/ Hessians/
Prussians, to minimize the possibility that an internal 'coup' be attempted. The
rationale seemed to have something to do with loyalty, a suggestion that the
Germans/ Hessians/ Prussians would not be tempted to take sides - therefore
would perform their protective duty w/o getting politically involved.

I have been contacted by EXCELLENT Rev War researchers, far more
knowledgeable than I, who have excellent info to the contrary, a bit of which
is pasted below.

Can any member of shed more light on this
issue?

Again, apologies for barging in and for the long msg.

Barry Wetherington

An article in the Altoona Tribune on Dec. 31, 1937, states that von Heer's:

"Independent Troop of Horse" served as the bodyguard of Gen. Washington and had
been recruited from "men of property" of "German" areas such as Berks County.
Roll of Captain von Heer's Dragoons: State of a troop of light dragoons,
having been raised in the Pennsylvania State, and commanded by Capt. von Heer,
September 16, 1780, (at Tappan, New York.)"

Captain von Heer, Bartholomew---------------Reading, from captain in Procter's
artilery."
=====================

I have recently posted a Roster (many names) of the von Heer Dragoons, a copy
of which can be found in the Archives of Heer-L & Barlett-L:
http://lists.rootsweb.com/index/surname/b/barlett.html

http://lists.rootsweb.com/index/surname/h/heer.html

There are many names listed on that von Heer Dragoons Roster/ Roll, including
my GGG Gf Jacob Barlett (spelled 'Baclet' on the roster). You may know someone
who might like to find his/her surname there - the likelihood is high that they
would be Germans/ Hessians/ Prussians.

Following up on that, the 'Washington Papers are also loaded with references to
surnames (and von Heer):
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gwhtml/gwhome.html
http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query

including many refs to von Heer & Washington:

An exemplar such letter pasted below FYI:

The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources,
1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor.
Head Quarters, Middle Brook, April 13, 1779.
Gentlemen: I yesterday recd. the inclosed from Capt. Van Heer. As I do not know
how he has been supplied heretofore with the Articles he now calls for, I cannot
determine upon the propriety of the present application. I can only say, if it
appears that they are necessary, he ought to be furnished with them. If the
Quarter Master supplied him in the first instance with Horses he can I suppose
remember, whether he was, as he asserts, obliged to take such as were not proper
for the Dragoon service. If the purchase was left to himself and he bought up
such as were not fit he ought to be answerable. At any rate, it is perhaps
better that he should make a shift with those he already has, than to give the
enormous price at present asked for but indifferent Horses. Should the Quarter
Master have any on hand of a lighter kind than those Capt. Van Heer complains of
and they can make an exchange, there can be no objection to a thing of that
kind.75 I am etc.76
[Note 75: Washington wrote, this same day (April 13), to von Heer, inclosing
this letter to the Board of War and asking the captain to deliver it. "If your
health will not permit you to return to Camp so soon as you expected, you have
agreeable to your request, my permission to remain ten or twelve days beyond the
limitation of your furlough." This letter is in the Washington Papers.]

And a letter from von Heer to Genl Washington:
Bartholomew Von Heer to George Washington, 1783
http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/P?mgw:1:./temp/~ammem_kKpe::
Image 56 of 1096 PREV IMAGE | NEXT IMAGE
George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 4.
General Correspondence. 1697-1799
George Washington Papers Home | Archival grayscale/color (JPEG - 298K)

[Note 76: The draft is in the writing of Tench Tilghman.]
http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/mgw:@field(DOCID+@lit(gw140372))

"Hi Heers and others interested in the von Heers Detachment (otherwise known
as 'Marechaussee Light Dragoons' ) in the Rev War, or Bartholomew von Heer's
Dragoons, the Detachment of the G Washington Life Guards (otherwise known as
'Marechaussee Light Dragoons' )."

Thanks to the Burketts, the roster was, at one time, found at
http://members.xoom.com/jp_burket/index.html) - but no longer. It is posted now
at a number of sites, including in the Archives:
http://lists.rootsweb.com/index/surname/b/barlett.html

Barry

PS: BTW, Pres Clinton Proclaimed 6 Oct 1998 as German-American Day, and the
Proclamation (see below) specifically mentions:
"The dedication of the entirely German American Provost Corps which, under the
command of Major Bartholomew von Heer, served as General Washington's personal
guard unit during the Revolutionary War." see below

http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query

==============================
Dear Barry;

You bring up an interesting point regarding the actual role of the Marechaussee.
They were the first Military Police in the Continental Army. They were
officially known as the Provost Company of Light Dragoons. I understand they
were established on May 27, 1778 at the request of General Washington They
served until 1783 when the majority of the army was disbanded.

Bartholomew von Heer was the first Provost Marshal, a post we still have today.

The confusion regarding those that protected George Washington is as follows.
>From the time of Washington's arrival in the Boston area to his leaving for New
York, his personal guard was the14th Massachusetts - the Marblehead Regiment. On
March 12th, 1776, Washington established the Commander-in-Chief's Guards,
(C-in-C Guards) also know as the Life Guards, or the Washington Guards. Their
assignment was to protect him, the Headquarters Staff and the HQ baggage. As far
as we've been able to learn it was a light infantry company, and were not
mounted (other then their officers). Therefore, when Washington traveled any
distances he had to be escorted by Mounted troops. Generally a detachment of
Cavalry from the Continental Line would be assigned to the HQ, hence under those
circumstances, these cavalry units would be "Washington's Body Guard". The same
would apply to the Provost Company - certainly they preformed this duty from
time-to-time.

Declaring a member of the Provost Guard, or Cavalry detachment as being
Washington's Body Guard, is debatable. It was an "Also served as" situation,
whereas, the C-in-C Guards did so as their only reason for being.

Unfortunately for we descendants, no one at the time viewed this assignment as
anything other then another job. After the war, when Washington became an icon,
it became important, but the records to support these assignments were either
not saved, or never existed to begin with.

As a historian, I would say that there is nothing wrong with making the claim,
but it should be written that it was under the heading of "other duties
preformed", to avoid confusing that service, with that of the C-in-C guards. I
am sure their are those that would take the other tact, only the C-in-C Guards
can make the claim, but that is a rather narrow view and not entirely correct.

Don

=================

Re: Ancestor Jacob Barlet member von Heer DragoonsThanks for the well considered
& enlightening response Don;

Your explanation sounds like the correct explanation, but could I ask a couple
questions and make a couple points, understanding I'm new and also probably
somewhat partisan.

- Our 'lore' suggests the Dragoons (8 or possibly12) accompanied/ escorted Gen'l
Washington back to Mt Vernon after the War. Correct?

- Somewhere, I believe in the Washington Papers, there was a suggestion that
Congress, being concerned about security, wanted, and seemingly required, that a
federal protective force/ guard be formed, and it be constituted solely from
Germans/ Hessians/ Prussians, to minimize the possibility that an internal
'coup' be attempted. The rationale seemed to have something to do with loyalty,
a suggestion that the Germans/ Hessians/ Prussians would not be tempted to take
sides - therefore would perform their protective duty w/o getting politically
involved. Accurate? & see below.

- One of the Washington Papers, "Bartholomew Von Heer to George Washington,
1783", at:
http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/P?mgw:1:./temp/~ammem_kKpe::
George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 4.
General Correspondence. 1697-1799, Bartholomew Von Heer to George Washington,
1783, Image 56 of 1096, seemed to discuss some relevant issues but I could only
make out less than half what was written.

- Pres Clinton Proclaimed 6 Oct 1998 as German-American Day, and the
Proclamation specifically mentions:
"The dedication of the entirely German American Provost Corps which, under the
command of Major Bartholomew von Heer, served as General Washington's personal
guard unit during the Revolutionary War." [see entire Proc below]

- Our understanding of the role of Jacob ("... a bodyguard of General
Washington.") arose initially because of interviews with Jacob's son Daniel for
his 100th BD of 1888-1892, as published in the Bucyrus OH Telegraph Express
(copies of which I have and a scanned/OCRed copy from which I have attached a 2
par excerpt - the others are avail):
"Residing on the banks of the Sandusky, in Liberty township, three and one-half
miles past of Bucyrus (OH), lives Daniel Barlitt, who tomorrow, Sunday, June 24,
celebrates the one hundredth anniversary of his birth.
On June 24, 1788, on the banks of the Susquehanna, Daniel Barlitt was born, at
Harrisburg, in Dauphin county, Pa. He is of English and German descent, his
grandfather coming from England long before the Revolutionary, war, and during
that war, the grandfather ['father' bw 8/2000], Jacob Barlitt, was a bodyguard
of General Washington, and was wounded in one of the battles; he was six feet in
stature, well formed and robust in health, and died at the age of 90 years at
Harrisburg, Penn." (Reporter likely, almost certainly, switched the ancestry and
parentage of Jacob.)

- His Pension Order (and a beautiful one it is) seems to strongly confirm it
also (and is supported by other legal documents filed over the many years by his
wife Christina), see attached image, about 40KBs, showing he served as a:
"private in the detach commanded by ...Von Heer of the life guard of ...eneral
Washington for the term of 15 months."

- According to Pennsylvania in the War of the Revolution, Battalions and Line,
edited by John Blair Linn and William H. Egle and published by the State Printer
in Harrisburg in 1880, von Heer's Light Dragoons were organized under a
resolution of Congress May 27, 1778 and their duties were to apprehend
deserters, rioters, and stragglers. ... [BUT] An article in the Altoona Tribune
on Dec. 31, 1937, states that von Heer's "Independent Troop of Horse" served as
the bodyguard of Gen. Washington and had been recruited from "men of property"
of "German" areas such as Berks County.
Roll of Captain von Heer's Dragoons: State of a troop of light dragoons, having
been raised in the Pennsylvania State, and commanded by Capt. von Heer,
September 16, 1780, (at Tappan, New York.)"
Captain von Heer, Bartholomew---------------Reading, from captain in Procter's
artilery."

Don, I appreciate your taking your time to educate me. Is there a Washington
researcher who might have access to documents not yet reviewed for this issue,
who might wish to delve a bit deeper, or has that been pretty-much accomplished?
How was protection handled in the Whiskey Wars?

Best wishes,

Barry

[There is more but this presents the issue]
===================================

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 5, 1998

GERMAN-AMERICAN DAY, 1998

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

>From the time our republic was born, German Americans have enriched our national
life and culture. Many, seeking religious freedom, first settled in and around
Philadelphia more than 300 years ago; and to this day, one of the largest
neighborhoods in that city is called Germantown. Throughout the colonial period,
more Germans arrived on these shores and made their homes throughout the
Thirteen Colonies. Today, almost a quarter of the American people can trace
their roots back to Germany.

German Americans have had an important and lasting impact not only on the growth
of our Nation, but also on the formation of many of our deepest values. As
skilled and industrious farmers, German Americans have shared their love for the
land and a strong sense of family and community. With a deep respect for
education and the arts, they have broadened the cultural life of the communities
in which they live. And, from their earliest days in this country, Germans and
German Americans have revered freedom, as epitomized by the service of General
Friedrich von Steuben during America's struggle for independence and by the
dedication of the entirely German American Provost Corps which, under the
command of Major Bartholomew von Heer, served as General Washington's personal
guard unit during the Revolutionary War.

All of us can take pride in the accomplishments of German Americans -- as
soldiers and statesmen, scientists and musicians, artisans and educators. It is
fitting that we set aside this special day to remember and celebrate how much
German Americans have done to preserve our ideals, enrich our culture, and
strengthen our democracy.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of
America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the
laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Tuesday, October 6, 1998, as
German-American Day. I encourage all Americans to recognize and celebrate the
many gifts that millions of people of German descent have brought to this Nation
and that have enriched the lives of our citizens.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of October, in
the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-eight, and of the Independence
of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-third.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON


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