The decision of some German Princes to put their troops at the disposal of Great Brittain was influenced by their family ties to the Royal House of England. Not all were in favour, for example Frederick the Great of Prussia did not want his troops fighting on foreign soil.
They came from Braunschweig or Brunswick, the name which a Province in Canada now carries. They came from Hesse-Hanau, Hesse-Kassel, Ansbach-Bayreuth, Waldeck and Anhalt-Zerpst.
The Commander-in-chief of the German troops was Major-General Baron Friederich Adolphus von Riedesel. The first contingent arrived June 1, 1776 in Quebec City. Eventually 30,000 troops will have been stationed for periods of various lengths, but never over 12,000 at a time. Their very presence helped deter further attacks upon Canada and preserved the colony for the mother country after 1783.
The soldier you see here is from the Brunswick Light Infantry Battallion "Von Barner". This unit was made up of picked men and considered an elite corps. They were armed with the german "Jaeger Rifle", which counteracted the Pennsylvania long rifle made by their fellow countrymen on the american side. They were also armed with the straight hunting sword. Both of these arms were of fine workmanship obtained by private purchase or bestowed as gifts by friends or relatives.
From the of their arrival in 1776, the German soldiers helped rid Canada of her invaders. Their perfomance was of the highest level expected from them. While a large number of their compatriots found themselves in the thick of the fray on battlefields further south, many other german soldiers were watching over the defence of Canada.
When the war ended, many Germns chose to remain in Canada. Despite their large numbers, they were assimilated very quickly. Their names underwent amazing transformations, until they so resembled Canadian surnames that today very few of their descendants suspect that they have German blood. Many Brunswickers, benefiting from their military experience, lived lives of active Canadians and greatly contributed to the growth of our country. Others left us traditions which are so much a part of us now that we consider them purely Canadian. But their real contribution above all else, lies in their sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters, who became, simply, Canadians-perhaps even including you.
This last paragraph is from one these descendants "Jean-Pierre Wilhelmy" from his book "German Mercenaries in Canada".