An elite regiment headed personally by the Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel, the Leib Regiment debarked from Germany in February, 1776, with the first division of Hessian forces bound for service in America. J.R., a soldier in the ranks of the regiment, arrived in Sandy Hook, N.J., on August 11, 1776, after an exhausting journey and found himself under the overall command of Gen. Leopold Philip von Heister. Although control of the region was still being contested by British and American forces, the Leib Regiment remained more or less idle for several weeks, until called in October to participate in the Battle of White Plains. Two months later they joined in an expedition, occupying an essentially defenseless Newport, R.I.
In May, 1777, the idyllic sojourn of the Leib regiment in Quaker Rhode Island was interrupted when the regiment was ordered to return to New York, where they were soon pressed into operations in New Jersey as part of William Howe's effort to counter Washington's harassing tactics. The Leib Regiment remained with Howe during his (in)famous foray into the Chesapeake, landing at Elkton on about August 24th, and moving slowly northward. At Brandywine, they won their first significant victory, narrowly missing the opportunity to destroy Washington's army completely. J. R. boasted that while his side had suffered over 500 casualties, "die Rebellen verliest aber 10 mahl Mehr" -- not to mention the ordnance captured and destroyed.
From 1779 until the end of the war, J.R. served in the vicinity of New York city, posted where needed. His regiment was among the last contingents of German troops to be evacuated in November, 1783, joining the regiments Lossberg (jung), Prinz Karl, the Landgrave, and von Donop as the "strongest and best regiments" entrusted with bringing up the rear. After a relatively rapid crossing of the Atlantic, J. R. and his comrades overwintered in Chatham, and did not arrive back in Hesse until May, 1784.