Son of a German Hessian, that fought on both sides

Discussion in 'Share Your Persona' started by Bullmoose, Oct 31, 2005.

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  1. Oct 31, 2005 #1

    Bullmoose

    Bullmoose

    Bullmoose

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    Sir Velton Ortner Jr.. 2nd, was born in 1762 in Bayern (called Bavaria in English). His father was a wealthy and influential landowner. JV (in short for Jr. Velton) was well educated in both German and English. He had two half sisters. One of the half sisters married a Prince of Wurtenburg and the other married a noble family of Walsh decent. The Ortner family had friends and relatives in far away London. At age 15 he traveled across the French country side with his father to the Channel. Where he said good by to his father and embarked in a sailing vessel for the short voyage to England and so to London to visit his relatives and friends. When he arrived there, the English King was involved in a tremendous effort to quell a rebellious uprising among the Crown colonies far across the wide Atlantic. To help defeat the Colonial armies and put down the rebellion. King George had contracted with the Prince of Hess, a neighboring state of Bavaria, for thousands of soldiers to help fight the war for England. JV was recognized as a person with a Germanic background and since the authorities were not sure that they had received all of the Hessians that they had contracted for, he was pressed into service. He soon found himself aboard a transport bound for Canada. He was in the army commanded by Gentleman Johnny BURGOYNE that was being assembled in Canada preparatory to a grand push down the Champlain and Hudson Valley to New York. The grand plan was to cut the colonies in half and thus bring about a speedy end to the hostilities and the rebellion. Burgoyne's command was comprised of divisions of English as well as a large contingent of Hessians.
    Sir Velton Ortner was soon recognized as being a cut above the general run of Hessians and so was assigned to General Burgoyne as his personal servant. It must have been an arduous task as the army pressed southward from Ticonderoga. Burgoyne, it was said, traveled with several wagons of personal belongings for his comfort. He was a fastidious man. The Colonials were not cooperative at all. They fell trees and placed all kinds of obstacles in the way. Finally they arrived at the Saratoga heights above the little town of Stillwater, to find themselves confronted with a formidable army commanded by General GATES. For days a stalemate existed, the Colonials would not budge from their positions. Burgoyne's supply lines from Canada were growing longer and less secure. His German mercenaries, mostly Brunswickers (the Americans tended to call all such mercenaries "Hessians") had no cavalry horses and his army was short of beef, wagons, and draft animals. With little regard for the rebels' military skills, he proposed that Lieutenant Colonel Friedrich Baum lead an expedition into Vermont and New Hampshire to forage for supplies. Hearing that the American storehouses at Bennington, Vermont were poorly defended, Burgoyne ordered instead that Baum capture them. Half of Baum's troops were Brunswickers; the remainder were Canadians, British sharpshooters, Tories and Indians. Because The officer corps was being depleted daily by colonial riflemen positioned in tree tops. Sir Velton Ortner was well educated, read maps, understood directions, an excellent horseman and had a clear head for leadership. He was promoted to a staff Lieutenant position, which was little more than a glorified messenger boy. Running errands and messages from the troop's officers, to the staff headquarters. He went with Baum's troops as an interpreter of German and as a staff messenger runner.

    The intelligence Burgoyne had received was inaccurate. General John Stark had arrived from New Hampshire with 1,500 men and had a smaller force of Vermont Rangers (militiamen) known as the Green Mountain Boys under Seth Garner. They were near Bennington as Baum's forces approached. The battle was fierce and hard and the Americans soundly defeated the Hessian troops, killing Baum, whose Indian and Canadian troops had fled when the battle started. As Brum was dying JV was receiving his last orders to retreat back to Burgoyne's forces.
    JV mounted his horse as a musket ball pierced his leg, and it killed a comrade next to him. JV made it back to the British main force but his leg was in great pain but it wasn't a serious wound. He had pulled himself over to an officer's tent and leaned up against one of the main tent poles. Burgoyne and a group of officers were sitting around a table in the tent with JV in attendance, when a cannonball from an American gun came crashing through the tent, crossed the table and out the other side. Splitting the tent pole in half. The pole toppled down on JV's head, and just about tore his scalp off. JV with all the blood, looked like he was dead and scalped by Indians. That was all JV remember of that scene.
    The British left him for dead as colonials approached. Fortunately a Vermont officer saw what had happened and went to his ad. Officers treated enemy officers with great respect and honor. Due to the fact many were upper class gentlemen, royal blood, or respect to a fellow comrade of the same high degree or rank. This was very true towards Hessians, a common soldier, was most likely of low social order in society. But Officers were always professional soldiers and from noble high standing. Which was true towards Sir Velton. Most likely because JV was recognized as an officer, this saved his life. Any private would have died or been shot again as enemy rebel troops passed by. This Christian soldier gave the gravely wounded Sir Velton a drink of water and called for other men to help carry him to their quarters where there was a surgeon. They sewed his scalp back on and tended his leg wound as he laid there unconscious.
    JV was unconscious for 2 weeks when he woke up to see a doctor dressing his wounds. According to the Dr. the cannon ball shot missed JV's head but caught his ear and burned a piece of it as it passed by. Then the tent pole in splinters ripped his scalp off one side, invariably fatal in the words of the Doctor. Sir Velton lived, but had no idea of being saved or whom the man was that saved him.
    The Americans at that time didn't build stockades to hold prisoners of war. Instead they assigned them to local families to work for their keep and the family would see to their wounds, house and feed them and guard against escape. JV was assigned to such a family and eventually married the woman who was his nursemaid. Her name was VIVIAN GILSTRAP and she was a bound servant of Dutch decent and JV could talk to her easily, since their dialects are so close. Vivian was 14 and had 2 more years of bound servitude and married JV at age 16.
    Sir Velton Ortner realized that he was in the wrong army and joined the American rebel forces. He had seen enough cannon balls for a lifetime. It is estimated that nearly 30,000 Germans served with the British in America. The attraction of free land for deserters and the vigorous German population already in America led thousands of these mercenaries to switch allegiance and stay in America. Also, American rebels used propaganda against Hessians. They enticed Hessians to desert to join the German-American population. In April 1778, one letter promised 50 acres of land to every deserter.
    After the war ended in 1783, of the 30,000 Hessians. 12,526 did not go back to Germany. Sir Velton Ortner Jr.. 2nd was one of those who stayed in America and fought in the Revolution on both sides. He joined the 1st Continental Light Dragoons, under the Command of Light Harry Horse Lee. He was mustered out in 1883 when the war ended.
    Born 1800, I am the 3rd Son and last child of JV Ortner, "SIR GEOFFREY DAN ORTNER. I followed my father's footsteps and continued to pursue the life in the military. I attended a local military school until the age of 16. My father remained in America and moved west into Missouri. But before he moved, he contacted his family in Germany and they were so glad that they came over to visit with us a whole year. Many presents and gifts were given to our family from the 15 relatives that came to see us in America. That same spring as we started to traveled west. My Grand parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins boarded a ship and we never saw them again.
    But after knowing my family from Europe and the noble blood that I carry. I wanted to be more than just an average citizen of this young nation of "United States of America."
    This is the beginning of my persona
     
  2. Nov 1, 2005 #2

    Guest

    Great one Mooseman
    The only part that I would question is the treatment of officers... Lord Simcoe was treated very poorly by his REBEL captures. They were going to hang him...
    Before his capture he had heard reports of misconduct towards captured officers by the rebels. He didn't believe the reports. As for the treatment of the Germanic officers and (as you had said) more so the troops it was reported to be much worse. There were even bounties paid for their capture dead or a live.
    Before his capture Simcoe lived by the code of battle and honour until his capture and mistreatment at the rebel hands. It was after his escape he had a trained group of marksmen organised just to shoot officers on the battle field. He also encouraged his officers and men to take direct aim at them when ever possible during battles.
    This is very well written and done... cheers!!!
    My best regards Loyalist Dawg
     
  3. Nov 1, 2005 #3

    Story

    Story

    Story

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