Selected Papers From The 1983 And 1984 George Rogers Clark Trans-Appalachian Frontier History Conferences
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Redcoats on the Frontier: The King's Regiment in the Revolutionary War
William L. Potter
President, Kings Regiment,
North West Territory Alliance

Lurking in the shadows behind some of the bloodiest conflicts — and atrocities — of the western frontier during the American Revolution, one could often find members of the King's/or 8th/Regiment of Foot. Although primarily on garrison duty in Canada, detachments of the 8th frequently served with Indians and Loyalists on raids against various rebel positions in the hinterlands. For anyone familiar with the traditional, stereotyped, image of the polished 18th century British soldier crisply marching shoulder to shoulder with his resplendent comrades as they lined up in European battle fashion to face their foes, the question arises: what were those men of the 8th Regiment — members of one of the oldest regiments in the British army [1] — doing running around the wilderness in the company of "Savages" and "Tories" engaged in the often distasteful business of frontier warfare?

The fact is the stereotyped Redcoat of the Revolutionary War was just that, a stereotype. Although there were units of the British army that fit the image, the true nature of a regiment depended largely on the circumstances its men, women, and officers found themselves under. Operating under circumstances perhaps more alien to this stereotype than any other unit of British regulars was the King's/or 8th/Regiment of Foot.

Generally, in the 18th century, British army units stationed at home or on the continent could anticipate rotation every year or two, while units stationed overseas could look forward to being neglected or forgotten at their distant posts (one regiment, the 38th, ended up rotting in the West Indies for 50 years before relief!). [2] Such was to be the case of the 8th. In 1767, the King's Regiment was gathered at Dover Castle, where they were probably employed in anti-smuggling duty while awaiting transport to Canada as replacement for the 15th of Foot (which had been withering in North America for ten years). In 1768, the awaited rotation occurred; the 32 officers, 27 sergeants, 407 rank and file (not including 15 sick who may not have left at that point), and an unknown number of wives (probably the relatively standard 6 per company, or 60 total) [3] sailed for Canada, 19 men short of their Establishment figure of 500. [4] The Regiment would not set foot on homeground again for 17 years.

For six years, the soldiers of the King's Regiment settled in to garrisoning various posts in and around Quebec and Montreal. Then, in 1774, the 8th was reassigned, but not to the hoped-for homeland; the Regiment was moved deep into the wilderness to garrison the forts of the "Upper Country" of Canada, occupying posts along the upper St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes (largely in rotation of the 10th Regiment).

Each regiment of the British army consisted of somewhere around 500 men and officers (though the number varied considerably according to circumstances) who were divided into ten companies: eight Center (or "Battalion") companies, a Light company (usually consisting of the smaller, more agile men), and a Grenadier company (often composed of the larger men in a unit; in previous times, they had been issued hand grenades, although the practice had been largely abandoned by the Revolution). When the King's Regiment took its posts along the Canadian frontier, the companies were dispersed according to the traditional order of battle: Light Company on the left, Grenadiers on the right, and Battalion companies between.

On the left of the "line," the 8th's Light Company manned the eastern-most of the Upper Canada (or Lakes) posts: Oswegatchie on the southern bank of the St. Lawrence River (near the present town of Massena, N.Y.). Capt. George Forster commanded. [5] At the western end of Lake Ontario (at the mouth of the Niagara River) lay exceedingly large Fort Niagara, the key to all trade in the western Great Lakes. This post became home for four Battalion companies of the 8th — less than 200 men — under the command of Lt. Col. John Caldwell. [6] Further west, the fort at the French settlement of Detroit was manned by three Battalion companies of the King's Regiment, Capt. Richard B. Lernoult commanding. [7] While Niagara may have been the key to western trade, Detroit was the weak link. Controlling access to the lakes beyond, Detroit formed the neck through which all trade goods and supplies — the lifeblood of commerce — flowed. Stopping British trade in the west (thus undermining British influence in the area) by cutting this neck was on the minds of many Americans, including the famous George Rogers Clark. Detroit — a spot seemingly far removed from the War and all its dangers — was in the hot seat. The westernmost British garrison — the far right of the line — was Fort Michilimackinac, the dropping off place for British civilization in the west. One Battalion company and the Grenadier company of the 8th occupied this post where lakes Michigan and Huron met. The Michilimackinac garrison found itself at the very end of a tenuous supply line stretching (thinly) eastward all the way back to England. Watching over this post — and several ungarrisoned centers of trade beyond his back door — was Capt. Arent Schuyler DePeyster of the King's Regiment. [8]

For years, the English had maintained the Upper posts to keep the fur trade running smoothly, while at the same time keeping the territory's Indian and French populations within the British sphere of influence. With the start of the American Revolution in 1775 came the additional function for these posts to serve as hubs of warfare amidst thousands of square miles of wilderness. In effect, fewer than 500 regulars — the King's Regiment — were to defend the entire area north of the Ohio from the Mississippi River eastward to the Adirondack Mountains. Fortunately for the men of the King's Regiment, they were not the entire fighting force available to conduct the war on the frontier.

With the Revolution coming to what is now upstate New York, hundreds of displaced Loyalists and Indians fled before the storm to Ft. Niagara. Many of these white and red refugees were more than willing to fight to preserve their way of life. At the western post of Detroit, the British were able to call on the local French militias (which were a legacy from the days of French rule) for support. In addition, a great many Indians within the Detroit post's scope could be called on to fight, for they were more than a little disturbed by the floodgate of American expansion that the War had opened some distance to the south in Kentucky. Until the outbreak of rebellion, the Proclamation Line of 1763 had placated the Indians by prohibiting further white settlement west of the Appalachian mountains. But for many land-hungry Americans from the east, the advent of war erased the Proclamation Line, thereby making the Indian lands of Kentucky fair game for them, much to the anger of the Indians. At westernmost Michilimackinac, a growing number of Indians, who had become increasingly dependent on British subsidies of food and supplies, could be called on to help the English Father, as could a number of civilian whites whose interests lay in the continuation of British trade.

It is of note that the further west from the stronghold of Niagara a British post was, the less the reliance that could be placed on the support of the non-British inhabitants. The French-speaking frontier population still held resentment for English rule, and their support of the British cause was lackadaisical at best, an attitude that grew increasingly worse the further they were from the English centers of authority. Although the French of the Lakes area remained at least nominally pro-British, the French of the lower Illinois Territory (the "River" French) — some 600 miles from the British posts supposedly tending their needs — could be (and were) easily swayed when some more attractive alternative came along. Similarly, the Indians of the Illinois Territory lacked the enthusiasm of their eastern brothers. Although they could — and did — fight for the British, their support wasn't always there when it was most needed, just when most convenient.

As may be readily apparent, the key to British survival in the west was the cooperation of the non-British inhabitants, or at very least their neutrality. This cooperation was insured only through favorable trade and bountiful handouts at the western posts, which required an adequate yearly stockpile of goods and supplies be on hand at each post. Since local sources accounted for only some of the needed supplies, large quantities of provisions had to be shipped in. Not just food for the garrisons and the locals was necessary, but supplies for the Loyalist volunteers, their dependents, the refugees, and the Indians — thousands of Indians — that now flocked to the posts, enough to last through the harsh winters. [9], [10], [11], [12] The situation required the continued free flow of trade goods from England to the remotest locations and back, despite the war, and that an adequate supply of presents be available to influence the Indians. Considering the shipping season of the Upper Posts was only six months long (followed by months of devastating winter), it was a formidable task in good conditions. In wartime conditions, it was nearly impossible.

With the Revolution, shipping on the Lakes came under martial law. The men of the 8th Regiment found themselves heavily involved in the shipping industry, not just accounting for and guarding goods, but actually loading, unloading, packaging, and portaging all supplies many times before the goods arrived at their destinations. At times, even barracks space had to be pressed into service to store goods when the warehouses were filled. [13] Most of the soldiers became adept at handling small craft and rowing bateaus, and many had the opportunity to learn sailing first-hand aboard the various sloops now serving His Majesty on the Lakes. Fortunately, their years in Canada had given them some exposure to such activities, and all was well as long as nothing upset the applecart.

The applecart was upset in the fall of 1775 when, in a bold move, General Richard Montgomery and a rebel army captured Montreal and, in doing so, severed the Upper Posts from the rest of Canada. This action, as well as Benedict Arnold's move on Quebec, sent shockwaves through the posts. [14], [15], [16] The King's Regiment saw its first action of the Revolutionary War when Capt. Forster led the Light company of the 8th, many Loyalist volunteers, and 200 Indians towards an enemy position at The Cedars (just west of Montreal) in May 1776. The 400 Americans surrendered after token resistance, and a rebel relief column of 140 was destroyed the next day. With the spring came the arrival of new British forces into eastern Canada; the death of Montgomery and the wounding of Arnold at Quebec, coupled with a large English force sweeping up the St. Lawrence, prompted the American forces to return home. Although commerce with the Upper Posts was restored in July 1776, some of the shipping season was lost, and the residual effects resulting from the closure of the route had long-lasting effects, not the least of which was the erosion of confidence in the British ability to serve and protect commerce — and subjects — on the frontier. [17]

One effect was of particular importance. Until the Cedars expedition, the Canadian military government refused to employ Indians in anything other than defensive operations and attempted to keep them peaceful. Even after this offensive, many leaders, including Loyalist John Butler, hoped to avoid unnecessary violence on the frontier by keeping the savages in check. However, orders received in Canada in May 1777 — the "Bloody Sevens" — served to cry "Havoc," and let slip the dogs of war; Indians were to be employed offensively. [18] Although it was expected that the Indians be led by persons who would restrain them from performing acts of barbarity, that was a near impossibility once the warriors worked themselves into battle frenzy! The reality of the situation was that the whites were along more to influence the Indians than to control them, since — once the fighting was at hand — the Indians did more or less as they pleased, and that was often very bloody business indeed. [19]

Throughout the remainder of the War, composition of major British raiding parties and expeditions against the frontier remained alike (with a few exceptions): a couple companies of Loyalists (usually the infamous Butler's Rangers or Johnson's Greens), a large contingent of Indian warriors, and a party from the 8th Regiment. In spite of being stuck at posts seemingly far removed from the conflict, detachments of the 8th somehow found themselves present in significant numbers at several large frontier actions, including:

The Cedars campaign, May 1776, as discussed earlier.

St. Leger's expedition of August 1777. Intended to link up with Burgoyne's ill-fated expedition down the Hudson, St. Leger's sizable army laid siege (unsuccessfully) to American-held Ft. Stanwix (at modern Rome, N.Y.) to clear his way down the Mohawk Valley. Along with one hundred soldiers of the 34th Regiment, one hundred men of the 8th from Niagara took part, a portion of which formed an advanced party under Lt. Bird. There is circumstantial evidence to indicate the latter was present in some capacity at the related Battle of Oriskany, either from the start or as relief later in the battle. Oriskany was perhaps the bloodiest American loss of the War, with some 400 rebels killed out of a force of 1000. After Oriskany, the Indian forces became disenchanted and went home. The siege of Ft. Stanwix had to be lifted as a result, and the troops returned to post. [20], [21]

The Cherry Valley Massacre of November 1778. Fifty of Niagara's 8th Regiment, 150 Loyalists of Butler's Rangers, and over 300 Indians attacked a post garrisoned by Americans at Cherry Valley, New York. When the rebels in the small fort refused to surrender, the surrounding settlement was laid to waste in attempts to force their hand. Despite attempts of the white leaders to intervene, the Indians got out of hand, slaughtering and taking prisoner many women and children. [22]

The Hamilton Expedition, Fall 1778, and the Battle of Vincennes, February 1779. In the fall of 1778, Lt. Governor Henry Hamilton, accompanied by a Detroit King's Regiment detachment of 35 rank and file and 2 sergeants, 2 Royal Artillery men, a force of Detroit French militia and volunteers, and a large body of Indians, moved on the French town of Vincennes (Vincennes, Indiana) to retake Ft. Sackville (the ungarrisoned post seized earlier that year by the American troops of George Rogers Clark) from what turned out to be two or three rebels holding it at the moment. In a bold move later that winter, Clark and some 170 rebels and French habitants crossed the flooded Illinois Territory from their positions on the Mississippi and invested the fort. With the French townsfolk outside taking up arms against the fort, with the loyalties of the French "allies" inside becoming dangerously questionable, with ammo running low, and with a sizable number of the 8th Regiment wounded, Hamilton reluctantly had to surrender the post and its garrison, effectively ending this episode. [23]

Raids on Fort Laurens, January-February 1779. Capt. Bird and 10 of the Detroit King's Regiment took up temporary residence among the Indians at Sandusky (Ohio) to organize raids against Fort Laurens (a rebel intrusion on the Tuscarawas River near the present town of Bolivar, Ohio). Although no record exists, it is possible at least some of the white force took part on the actual raid. The fort was surrounded by Indians for some time, and at least one party of some 19 rebels was caught and scalped in full view of the fort's garrison. The siege was lifted following Hamilton's capture at Vincennes. [24], [25], [26]

Battle of Newtown, August 1779. Joining a force of some 600 Rangers and Indians marching towards the Susquehanna (near modern Elmira, N.Y.) were 14 enlisted men of the Niagara 8th. The force was seeking out — and found — a possible American column there that could (and did) pose a threat to allied Indian lands and even Niagara. After some successful but minor engagements, the British force found the main rebel force of General Sullivan which, unfortunately, numbered nearly 6000. After some spirited engagement, the British force was able to slip away in the face of total annihilation. [27]

Attacks on Kentucky, June 1780. Capt. Bird and some 50 of the Detroit 8th garrison, a body of Detroit French militia, and some 600 Indians captured two of the principal rebel settlements in Kentucky: Martin's Station and Ruddle's Station. Some 470 people were captured, many of whom were taken as prisoner to Detroit. [28], [29]

Mohawk, and Schoharie Valley expedition, October 1780. Several hundred Indians, 150 Johnson's Greens, 200 Butler's Rangers, 80 of the 34th Regiment, and 150 troops of the 8th set out to destroy all rebel grain supplies and mills along the Mohawk and Schoharie Rivers of New York, and destroyed most of the rebel settlements in the area while they were at it. A hot pursuit of these raiders developed, and several engagements took place, with those at Stone Arabia (where the 8th lost what may well have been its only man killed in action during the war) and at Kick's Field (near Johnsville, N.Y.) being particularly intense. Losses were most severe on the American side, allowing the British forces to escape the region. [30]

Mohawk and Schoharie Valleys, October 1781. A near repeat of the previous year, this expedition intended to hit rebel mills and sources of provisions missed in 1780. The force consisted of 36 men of the 8th from Ft. Niagara, 207 men of four regiments — most certainly including more 8th troops — from Carleton Island (a post in the St. Lawrence River at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, the King's Regiment garrison formerly at Oswagatchie having been moved to this post earlier), 169 Butler's Rangers, and 109 Indians. American forces in the area had been increased and were ready for the raiders. Although the raid deep into rebel territory succeeded, the retreat was precarious. Again, American losses exceeded British, but the raiders suffered heavier losses than usual, including Capt. Walter Butler (son of the Rangers founder and formerly an 8th Regiment officer). [31]

As may be noted, the expeditions listed above were launched out of the eastern Lakes posts, particularly Detroit and Niagara. At Michilimackinac, the war years passed somewhat differently. Early in the war there were no direct threats to the post other than the weather (which in itself could be life threatening) and the interruptions in commerce caused by rebel activities on the St. Lawrence and on the ocean. When lulls in the hectic shipping season allowed, the King's Regiment garrison was kept busy repairing the Fort, tending the gardens, and moving sand dunes that built up outside. [32] Orders from Canada in 1778 sent a work party consisting of Lt. Thomas Bennett and five others of the 8th, as well as seven French canoemen, to the Grand Portage on the northwest shore of Lake Superior, where they built a small fort, which was to be used by the Northwest Company for trade purposes. While there, the small force was also to conduct public relations work with the Indians. This party has the honor of having held the western-most outpost of the British army during the American Revolution. [33], [34]

The sudden appearance of George Rogers Clark and his little army in the Illinois Country, their rapid power gains among the once British-aligned "River" French, and the capture of Lt. Gov. Hamilton were major traumas to both Ft. Michilimackinac and Ft. Lernoult (as the Detroit post had come to be known). At Michilimackinac, it was realized their post could fall without any shots being fired if Detroit — Clark's obvious goal — should fall.

Keeping track of an enemy that could pop up anywhere within a 700-mile radius posed a major problem. With Clark deliberately spreading false information amongst the French and the Indians (who were dubious reporters of the truth to begin with), separating fact from fiction was difficult, indeed, for the British commandants. In an intelligence gathering move, as well as an attempt to find a possible rebel advance, Lt. Bennett and twenty of the Michilimackinac 8th, with a force of 60 French traders and some 200 Indians, took up position near the tiny community of French traders at St. Joseph (Niles, Michigan) in July 1779, where they threw up a defensive earthwork. No enemy ever showed. The Indians of the party (many of whom had been sent on reconnaissance to several distant villages) returned with no useful information, and they cooled considerably to the British cause when their rum supply had to be cut because of drunkenness. Completing the party's run of luck, an additional detachment from Michilimackinac, carrying needed supplies on their ship, failed to link up with them. The only goal really accomplished was the arrest of Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, the black trader now considered to have been the first citizen of Chicago. At the time, he was living at the south tip of Lake Michigan and was suspected of having rebel sympathies. He was taken as prisoner to Michilimackinac. [35], [36]

Mounting any sort of offensive against Clark from Michilimackinac was difficult because of the massive distances involved. Situations could change drastically by the time a force arrived at its destination. This fact was pointed out by attempts to gather Indians from around Lake Michigan to aid Hamilton in autumn 1778 and spring 1779. In both instances, the parties gelled too late to have been of assistance, the last group having traveled several hundred miles before learning of Hamilton's capture.

However, one grand offensive was mounted from Michilimackinac, although the 8th played a very minor role. In loose conjunction with Bird's 1780 Kentucky attack (from Detroit), a very large two-pronged assault was launched that spring from Michilimackinac against the Illinois Country French settlement of Cahokia and the Spanish town of Pain Court (St. Louis, Missouri) across the Mississippi (by this point, Spanish neutrality was defunct). The British forces were composed almost entirely of British and French traders (and other pro-British civilian inhabitants), and large parties of Indians. The recently appointed Lt. Governor of Michilimackinac, Patrick Sinclair (a man strongly disliked by the rank and file of the 8th, and vice-versa) reluctantly sent two men of the 8th along. One, a sergeant, was involved in the government's Indian Department and probably pulled strings in order to go along; the other was a private who spoke Gaelic and was included so he could send out open messages — in Scottish. Both were to have served with some authority. The force was divided into two large parties. One (led by Emmanuel Hesse, a Loyalist) proceeded down the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers; the other party (led by Frenchman Charles Langlade, a British agent) traveled down Lake Michigan to Chicago and then to the Illinois River. All were to gather Indian strength en route, somewhere between 600 and 1000 total. However, there is considerable doubt as to whether the force coming by way of Chicago ever arrived at the battle, or if it was even supposed to.

The attack was no surprise; the residents of both the Pain Court and Cahokia settlements were well prepared. Militias from nearby towns added to the defense and, at the last minute, George Rogers Clark himself showed up at Cahokia with a large force. The pro-British forces attacked but, upon finding stiff resistance, the Indians fled, and the attackers soon broke off and retreated. A force of some 200 to 300 mounted Americans formed to give chase to the attackers, most of whom were headed for Chicago in two large groups, perhaps hoping to meet the unarrived Langlade party. The pursuers were apparently in no hurry, for they arrived in Chicago several days after the British forces boarded ships for Michilimackinac. Another group of pursuers seems to have followed a third retreating party up the Mississippi to the Rock River where, abandoning the chase, the Americans burned a deserted Indian village (that, ironically, may have belonged to friendly Indians). The results of the ambitious British raid are still disputed, but 43 scalps were taken by the Indians, most of the losses appear to have been people caught in the fields between the armies at Pain Court. [37], [38], [39]

The King's Regiment Michilimackinac garrison, heavily involved in building a new fort on Mackinac Island, was not involved in any more fighting, except for some bitter internal disputes with Lt. Governor Sinclair. [40]

The exact role played by King's Regiment personnel on the above expeditions is uncertain. Compared to the Loyalist and Indian contingents, the 8th's detachments on most of these raids were always smaller, sometimes well under company strength — hardly enough to have been an effective force by themselves. It is these smaller detachments that pose the biggest questions. If the 8th Regiment personnel weren't there solely in a combat role, why were they present? One reason may have been to show a token Redcoat presence to please the Indians and Loyalists, who undoubtedly would have wondered why they should fight George III's battles for him if he wouldn't risk his own troops. Perhaps the regulars were along to help keep the "Savages" under control, a real concern, but one that may have been served best by the various Tory leaders skilled in Indian ways. [41] Another possibility is that obliging officers let certain volunteers go along to escape the boredom of garrison life. [42], [43] One image that seems to emerge is of a role similar to that of the American "advisors" or "observers" of the early Viet-Nam war: shadowy, low-profile figures there to influence the outcome without a major commitment of their own troops. This is a debatable view, but does offer an explanation for the somewhat less-than-obvious presence of small detachments of regulars on some frontier raids. The fact remains that at least one member of the 8th Regiment was, with few exceptions, present on almost every major raid — and many minor ones — launched against the western frontier. Whatever the reasoning, it must have been important to someone, somewhere, that an 8th Regiment contingent accompany these raids, or the men of the King's Regiment would have stayed back at the garrisons with their comrades.


The character of a regiment was shaped largely by its circumstances. The nature of the actions in which members of the King's Regiment, 8th of Foot, were engaged was not in keeping with the stereotyped image of a British regiment.

Although the King's Regiment spent the bulk of the Revolutionary War on garrison duty, it was a far cry from the garrison duties served by the regiments stationed amidst population centers such as New York City, Philadelphia, London, et al. Whereas garrison life in the cities was shaped by parades, drill, and inspections, other factors created a different sort of life for troops serving beyond civilization's back door. The King's Regiment operated in an environment where the weather could kill, where distances stretched supply lines to the limits, where friendly inhabitants could become foes overnight, and where — in case of trouble — there was little hope of receiving help in time. The farther into the wilderness the post, the more time devoted to survival, and the less time available for military primping and drill.

For many of the men of the 8th, garrison life was occasionally punctuated by forays into the vast wilderness surrounding them. Whether it be the excitement of accompanying a raiding party, the mundane duties of escorting prisoners, running errands to Canada, hauling cargo, building forts, or serving detached duty with other units, if it was on the frontier, there was a good chance someone from the King's Regiment was there. Some became adept to life in the wilderness; a handful excelled.

When the Regiment returned to England in 1785, the American wilderness was more of a home for most of them than was Britain. Many had started families here, or had holdings and business interests. The majority chose to stay. Only 150 "very old Men" returned to the place of their birth. [44]


1The Regiment was formed in 1685 under the name "The Princess Anne of Denmark's Regiment" in honor of the future Queen of England. It became known as "The King's Regiment of Foot" ("of Foot" meaning an infantry unit) in 1716, and the numerical designation "8th" was added in the mid-18th century. Refer to: The Historical Record of the King's Liverpool Regiment of Foot, Harrison and Sons, London, 1883.

2An excellent overview of conditions in the British Army can be found in Fit for Service: The Training of the British Army, 1715-1795, by J. A. Houlding, Claredon Press, Oxford, 1981. Although a secondary source, it is exhaustively researched.

3Blumenthal, Walter H., Camp Followers of the American Revolution, Arno Press, NY, 1974, pp. 37, 49.

4Historical Record . .. , op cit., p. 60, footnote. The source for these figures is listed there as "MS Records, Royal United Services Institute."

5In the course of the War, the King's Regiment garrison at Oswegatchie was eventually switched westward to Carleton Island, a post established at the eastern end of Lake Ontario at the St. Lawrence.

6Niagara post was hard on commanding officers. Lt. Col. Caldwell apparently died there on October 31, 1776. (Quebec Gazette, May 1, 1777; some discrepancies exist in other sources). A successor, Lt. Col. Bolton, sailed off on Lake Ontario (remarkably) on October 31, 1780; he, his ship, and 130 other souls on board never returned (Durham, J. H., Carleton Island in the Revolution, Syracuse, C. W. Bardeen, 1889, p. 87-88 (an extract of a letter from Francis Goring to his uncle, August 1, 1781).

7The fort at Detroit was soon renamed Ft. Lernoult in honor of the Captain.

8Lt. Gov. Patrick Sinclair taking his post as governor at Michilimackinac, DePeyster replaced Lernoult as Commandant at Detroit late in 1779.

9Michigan Pioneer Historical Collections (MPHC), Vol. IX, p. 423. Many of Canadian Governor General Frederick Haldimand's wartime papers are transcribed in this series.

10M M. Quaife, Ed., John Askin Papers, Volume I, Detroit, Detroit Public Library Commission, 1928, p. 104.

11"Papers and Accounts of the Receiver General's Department, Quebec" (microfilm in the Public Archives of Canada), reel 2 (1779-1783), letters #39 and #41.

12"William Edgar Papers," Canadian Archives MG 19 A1, Volume II, pages 615-616. (Copies: original letters in New York Public Library).

13"Receiver General ...," op cit., reel 1777-1778, letter #16.

14"Edgar Papers ...," op cit., Vol. II, pages 478-496.

15"Caldwell Family Papers," Bagshawe Muniments collection, Rylands University Library of Manchester, England. Letter B 3/29/110 (Ensign Caldwell to mother, August 12, 1776).

16Cruiskshank, E., Butler's Rangers, Niagara Falls, Ontario, 1982 (originally published in 1893), p. 25-26. Please note that, although a secondary source, the work is highly regarded by historians, and was undoubtedly based on original sources, some of which are now believed to be lost.

17"Edgar Papers ...," op cit., pages 687, 779.

18Cruikshank, op cit., pp. 27, 33, 34.

19Graphic descriptions of the brutality of Indian warfare are not as common as one might expect, with period writers often stating that the violence done to the victims was too foul to put in words. Fortunately, at least one writer was not that considerate of his reader's sensibilities, and left this description of savagery encountered on the Sullivan Expedition of 1779: ". . . we found the body of Lt. Boyd and another rifle man in a most terrible mangled condition. They was both stripped naked and their heads cut off, and the flesh of Lt. Boyd's head was intirely taken of(f) and his eyes punched out. The other mans head was not there. They was stabbed, I suppose, in 40 different places in the body . . . Lt. Boyds privates was nearly cut of(f) and hanging down, his finger and toe nails was bruised of(f), and the dogs had eat part of their shoulders away." Journal entry, Lt. Erkuries Beatty. Reprinted in: Commager, H. S., and R. B. Morris, Editors; Spirit of Seventy-Six, New York, Harper & Row, 1975. Page 1020. It should be noted that the Indians who did this act were part of a large Loyalist and Indian force out of Ft. Niagara and were accompanied by 14 men of the King's Regiment.

20Commager, H. S., and R. B. Morris, Editors; Spirit of Seventy-Six New York, Harper & Row, 1975. Pages 464-465 (letter, St. Leger to Burgoyne, Aug. 27, 1777).

21Stone, Wm. L., The Campaign of Lt. Gen. John Burgoyne, and the Expedition of Lt. Col. Barry St. Leger, Albany, J. Munsell, 1877, p. 154.

22Cruikshank, op cit., pp. 54-58.

23Barnhart, J. D., Ed.; Henry Hamilton and George Rogers Clark in the American Revolution, Crawfordsville (IN), R. E. Banta, 1951, pages 102-192. (Includes Hamilton's diary of the Vincennes Expedition). Please note: troop numbers listed in various contemporary sources differ slightly for this and other expeditions. In this paper, I have used figures I believe are correct when such situations occur.

24MPHC, op cit., Vol. IX, pp. 413-414.

25Commager, op cit., p. 1022 (Gen. McIntosh to Gen. Washington, March 12, 1779).

26Van Every, D; A Company of Heroes, New York, Arno Press, 1977, p. 200.

27Cruikshank, op cit., pp. 68-75.

28Commager, op cit., p. 1054.

29Van Every, D.; A Company of Heroes, New York, Arno Press, 1977, pp. 241-242, 247-250.

30Cruikshank, op cit., pp. 82-87.

31Ibid., pp. 97-103.

32MPHC, op cit., Vol. IX, p. 387.

33Ibid., pp. 370-71.

34Askin Papers, op cit., Vol. I, p. 98.

35Wisconsin Historical Collections, Vol. XVIII, pp. 398-401.

36MPHC, op cit., Vol. IX, pp. 392-393.

37Ibid., pp. 546-559.

38Commager, op cit., pp. 1053-1054. (Spanish account of battle, August 18, 1780).

39McDermott, John F., "The Battle of St. Louis," Missouri Historical Society Bulletin, April, 1980, pp. 131-151, 1778).

40MPHC, op cit., pp. 587-610.

41Cruikshank, op cit., p. 33.

42"Receiver General ...," op cit., #17 (dateline Niagara, Sept. 22, 1778).

43"Caldwell Papers," op cit., B 3/29/110.

44Houlding, Fit For Service, op. cit., p. 17.

I would like to thank Dr. Paul Stevens, who provided me with numerous research leads. Dr. Stevens' doctoral thesis was entitled His Majesty's "Savage" Allies: British Policies and the Northern Indians During the Revolutionary War — The Carieton Years, 1774-1778. The thesis was accepted by S.U.N.Y., Buffalo, in February 1984.

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Last Updated: 23-Mar-2011