Donop, Carl Emil Kurt von

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Donop, Carl Emil Kurt von

DONOP, CARL EMIL KURT VON. (1740–1777). Hessian officer. At Long Island he commanded the body of Hessian grenadiers and jäegers (light infantrymen, from the German word meaning "hunter") engaged in the center of the line. After the pursuit of General George Washington's army to the Delaware, Colonel von Donop was relieved by Colonel Johann GottliebRall as commander of the Trenton garrison on 14 December 1776 and was given overall responsibility for the chain of outposts along the Delaware. He was overruled by General William Howe when he advocated a concentration of his forces at Trenton. Howe directed him to occupy Bordentown and Burlington, both in New Jersey, to protect Loyalists of the region, but Donop withdrew from the latter place when its mayor informed him it would be shelled by American naval vessels from the river if the Hessians remained. He stationed the Forty-second Foot ("Black Watch") and one of his grenadier battalions at Black Horse (now Columbus), and moved the rest of his command to the vicinity of Bordentown.

After the annihilation of Rall's force at Trenton on 26 December, Donop wisely withdrew to Princeton, where he ordered the construction of two small redoubts to cover the approach from Stony Brook. He was mortally wounded in the attack on Fort Mercer (Red Bank), New Jersey, on 22 October 1777, and died three days later.

SEE ALSO Fort Mercer, New Jersey; Trenton, New Jersey.


Huth, Hans. "Letters from a Hessian Mercenary." Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 63 (1938): 188-501.

                            revised by Michael Bellesiles