Monday, December 10, 2012

Madame Riedesel

"And the LORD God said, It is not good that man should be alone: I will make him an help meet for him"--Genesis 2:13

Madame Frederike Charlotte Louise von Riedesel was born on July 11, 1746.  On December 21, 1762, she married Baron von Riedesel.  1776 saw Baron Riedesel and troops from Brunswick posted to Canada, to defend that colony against rebels.  Madame Riedesel and her children sailed to Canada in 1777, as Baron Riedesel led the German contingent of Burgoyne's expedition.  Madame Riedesel accompanied her husband, and observed the battles of the Saratoga Campaign.  Her husband was taken prisoner when Burgoyne surrendered, but was exchanged in 1780.

Madame Riedesel was loved by many, as this story from her Memoirs shows:
"One day I saw out of a window of my room, a fleet of thirty-five ships approaching under full sail, and shortly afterward, from another window, I perceived them all lying at anchor between us and the city.  My husband had many English under his command, and among others the light dragoons.  Although the English troops are proud, and, as it is said, difficult to manage, yet they loved my husband, and were perfectly contented under his command.  On one occasion, when the English officers were dining with us, my husband said to them that he would accompany them back to their camp; whereupon they very politely begged me also to go with the party.  I, therefore, seated myself in a carriage, and reached the camp in advance of them.  But I believe that they had sent word of my arrival ahead of me, for an officer came up, and, to my great perplexity, requested me to get out of the carriage and walk with him down the line.  Upon my complying with his request, I was greeted with all military honors, even to the beating of drums, which still more increased my confusion.  I remarked to the officer that this was not suitable to me, and that we German women were not accustomed to such distinctions.  But he at once very politely answered that their whole corps could not sufficiently honor the wife of a general who, as their commanding officer, treated them with so much kindness; and more than all this, they would never forget what I had done for their comrades at Saratoga.  Although no unmindful of all this, which was very flattering and agreeable, I welcomed the first favorable moment to get away."--pgs. 184-185, Letters and Journals relating to the War of the American Revolution, and the Capture of the German Troops at Saratoga by Madame Riedesel, translated by William L. Stone

She died on March 28, 1808.

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