The only copy ever seen on the market

Backhausen, Wendelin. Nützliche, gründliche und lustige Beschreibung deren bey der Infanterie jetziger Zeit gebräuchlichen militärischen Exercitien.

Marburg, Salomon Schadewitz, 1664.

4to. (8), 92 pp. With an engraving of a battle scene as frontispiece and 5 engraved folding plates. Near-contemporary speckled calf with gilt cover borders.


First edition, dedicated to the recently acceded William VII, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel.

Service directions for the Hessian infantry. Arranged in three parts, the first containing a the drill-book for the troops and musketeers, the second for the pikemen, the third teaching the use of defensive square formations protected by rows of boar spears, from within which the marksmen can drive away attacking cavalry. "Such a protective square is depicted in Backhausen's title engraving: in vain the rectangle is assaulted by Turkish mounted units" (Jähns).

Title repaired at right margin with slight loss to woodcut border ornaments. Some spotting throughout. Binding slightly worn and chipped at extremeties. Very rare; only two copies in libraries internationally (Staatsbibliothek Berlin and Hessisches Staatsarchiv Marburg); no copy in auction records since 1950.

Provenance: early 19th century ink stamp of a General Staff to verso of frontispiece. From the collection of Thomas Fremantle, 3rd Baron Cottesloe (1862-1956), commander of the Territorial Army and president of the Society for Army History Research (purchased from H. A. Feisenberger, March 1947, £4/10s).

VD 17, 5119:742371P. Jähns II, 1281ff. OCLC 913372028.

Stock Code: BN#51129 Tags: ,