Militia of the French Enemy
In mid-seventeenth century the entire white population of Canada probably did not exceed 3000 adults. Although the French king had about 100,000 men in arms, he was loathe to send more than 2000 to Canada. Louis regarded Canada as a fur farm and warehouse and had little interest in colonization or exploration. He only reluctantly allowed Samuel de Champlain to establish colonies at Port Royal, Acadia , Quebec  and Montreal . To his favorites the king granted seigniories, medieval land grants from which the seignores earned fortunes by charging the rentiers for everything from rent to milling fees. The seigniories formed the base on which militia units were recruited. In 1665 he sent 24 companies consisting of 1500 men under Colonel de Saliéres to build several forts wherewith to guard the trade routes. The forts were strategically located to block the Iroquois war routes. In 1666 the governor of Canada, de Tracy, sent a handful of these French troops and nearly all his militia against the Mohawks in New York. The Mohawks sued for peace and the majority of the French troops returned to France.ccxliv
The French countered the New England militia with Canadian militia of their own. In 1756 Louis Antoine de Bougainville noted in his diaries that "everyone quit work at four o'clock so that the workers may drill."ccxlv By mid-summer 1756 there were 2500 Canadian militia and 1800 Amerindian warriors available to the French army. The Montreal militia alone numbered 300.ccxlvi The home government provided the militia with 1800 muskets and 400,000 shot, an appropriate number of cartridge boxes, flints and gunpowder, hospital supplies and artillery. They also gave the militia 150 special grenadier muskets.ccxlvii On 8 August 1756 they marched 800 militia to Frontenac as an advanced guard.ccxlviii On 29 July 1757 Bougainville provided a list of militia in the king's service in Canada. There were 3170 militia and 300 volunteers under Villiers.ccxlix
The regular winter equipment issued to French-Canadian militiamen and regulars included: an overcoat, a blanket, a wool cap, two cotton shorts, pair of loose leggings, a breech-cloth [regular army had breeches and drawers instead], two hanks of thread and six needles, an awl, a tinderbox, a butcher's knife, a comb, a worm [for musket], a tomahawk, two pairs of stockings, two pocket-knives, a pair of mittens, a waist-coat, two pairs of deer-hide moccasins, a dressed deer-hide, two breast straps used in hauling boats over portage, a drag rope, a pair of snow-shoes, a bear-skin, and one tarpaulin per four men or one per officer. Each item was valued and a militiaman might accept cash payment in lieu of the item. Each man also received twelve days' rations of bread, salt pork and peas. At appropriate times, men might be given sleds and a few were issued horses.ccl
The French under siege in the spring of 1758 suffered as the English had, from malnutrition and hunger. Bougainville noted that the soldiers could not function fully on a ration of two ounces of bread, a half-pound of beef or horse-meat, a half-pound of salt pork, and a quarter-pound of salt cod.ccli Poor food and irregular pay and a dearth of able-bodied men made recruitment of additional volunteers and militia almost impossible. Most recruits were of the lowest sort and did more to weaken the army than to strengthen it.cclii By 1 January 1758 the French had activated all reserve and active militia and were able to report only 2108 men in arms under Marquis de Vaudreuil.ccliii
On the Other Side
When the American War for Independence began, the patriot (or Whig) cause was not supported by everyone in the thirteen colonies. Two classes stand out: the loyalists, also called Tories or United Empire Loyalists; and the pacifists, primarily Dunkards, Moravians and Quakers, or members of the Society of Friends. Most of the pacifists were wholly apolitical and avoided assisting or supporting either side in any way. The Friends not infrequently expelled members of the sect for joining the army on either side.ccliv The loyalists were opposed to independence and withdrawal from the empire. They generally argued that the American Revolution was a civil war and they were free to choose sides without penalty. Tories existed everywhere, but were most numerous in the mid-Atlanticcclv and southern states. Incidence of loyalism was highest among the Anglican clergy,cclvi crown officials, southern planters, socio-economic elites and cultural minorities, although they came from all religious, ethnic, socio-economic, class and occupational groupings. Many merchants and upper class tradesmen, such as goldsmiths, espoused the loyalist line.cclvii
Many colonists remained loyal to the British Empire and were willing to fight for it. Some men, seeing that they would be forced by patriotic militias to choose sides, chose to join the royalist militia, the side which they sincerely believed to be right. The patriots called them Tories and the English knew, and later honored and compensated, them as United Empire Loyalists. They represented a broad cross-section of colonial American society and came from all levels of the socio-economic classification. There is no question that, because of pressures from the patriots, and their great zeal in ferreting out loyalists, many loyalists left rather than submit to a cause in which they did not believe.cclviii
America lost some of its outstanding conservative political leaders and men of property and commerce. The patriot response to the real and presumed Tory activities was brutal and direct. Their property was confiscated and sold at public vendue, with a value of no less than £10,000,000. They were forbidden to practice their trades and professions and denied basic judicial protections. They were often convicted by rumor in non-judicial bills of attainder. Some suffered severe physical abuse as well, including the traditional "tarring and feathering." Others kept their views secret and collaborated with British occupation forces on appropriate occasions. When the king's troops withdrew the loyalists usually had to retreat with them, for they enjoyed little, if any, protection from the patriots. Lacking organization and good leadership, their impact was not commensurate with their numbers. Three factors motivated the tories: fear of loss of their property; general patriotic loyalty to the king; and pride in the Empire.cclix
Patriots loathed the tories. They confiscated their land, homes, estates and even their working tools and condemned them by bill of attainder.cclx Patriots considered them traitors and subjected them to all forms of discrimination and persecution. Radical patriots were generally more successful than Tories in recruiting among the undecided faction. As the flames of revolution grew many neutrals chose to follow the new course.
Estimates of the numbers of American Loyalists differ enormously and there seems to be little way of reconciling the estimated figures with the truth. One good estimate is that the nation was divided into roughly equal thirds. One-third were active patriots; one third were staunch Tories; and one-third wavered in their loyalties. Another scholar estimated that during the Revolution there were perhaps 500,000 active tories among the colonists, or about twenty percent of the white free population. Perhaps another twenty percent of the population were passive tories. By the end of the war probably 200,000 loyalists had died in British service, been run out of the country by patriots, or had become voluntary exiles somewhere within the British Empire.cclxi The number of exiles was above 100,000, out of a total caucasian population for the thirteen colonies of 2,100,000. These 100,000 tories represented about two and one-half percent of the free white population, that is, 24 exiles per 1000 people. In contrast, the French Revolution drove less than one-half of one percent of the population into exile, or five people per 1000. About half of the refugee tories fled to Canada, most settling in New Brunswick which was created in 1784 expressly to accommodate them. Others moved to Florida, the West Indies and back to England.cclxii After the war only 4118 tory requests for compensation were approved by the Royal Claims Commission, although these people were paid approximately £3 million.cclxiii
As with the patriots, it was often most difficult to distinguish between militia and enlisted regiments of the regular army. Many Tory militiamen enlisted in British units, so the British authorities used their militia as did the patriots, as a reservoir for the filling of regimental vacancies. It served British purposes to keep the distinction between regular army and militia units vague, in large part because the militia sounded somewhat more populist and suggested voluntary popular support for the royal cause.cclxiv As British policy developed following the defeat at Saratoga, the loyal militia was to be divided into two classes. The one would act offensively in concert with, and generally under the leadership of, the British army. The second class, consisting of the invalid corps, men over age 40, and those with large families, was to maintain domestic order, quell local insurrections and invasions and act as occupation troops.cclxv
By the end of 1775, when the British authorities were giving little attention to the loyalist faction, only about 1000 loyalists had enlisted in militias. Perhaps as many as 60,000 Tories served as militiamen and enlisted soldiers in the English cause. Rosters exist for the years 1779 and 1780 which show an average of 9000 to 10,000 men in His Majesty's Provincial Forces in North America. Some have claimed that in 1780 some 8000 tories were serving in the British army, although other estimates are considerably lower. Many, if not most, of these tories had been drafted or recruited from tory militia units. By contrast, Washington's army at the time numbered only 9000.cclxvi While an exact count is impossible, there were 19,000 men who served in forty known tory units. Loyalist historian Lorenzo Sabine listed twenty five Loyalist military organizations, mostly militia, each with sufficient strength to be commanded by a full colonel. Other authors have listed thirteen major tory organizations.cclxvii Another list showed 312 militia companies and at least 50 distinct provincial corps.cclxviii By far the most complete list is found the publications of the Royal Institution of Great Britain where there are forty such organizations noted.cclxix These numbers do not count tory marauders and irregulars.
Initially, the British had thought that they could win a quick victory. No one in either military high command or the Home Office thought that the colonists could possibly win, and none were prepared for a prolonged and expensive campaign. All that was necessary for the quick victory was one great, all-out battle, and that would come when the British forces trapped Washington and forced him to do battle. Therefore, the British authorities and strategists paid little attention to the Tory militia companies that spontaneously formed in the early months of the revolution. They had assumed that quelling insurrection was the work for the regular army, just as it had been in numerous rebellions in the home country. Recent experience with Jacobites had proven that their initial successes were quickly forgotten once the army forced a real battle with all the modern implements of war, such as the bayonet, cannon and massed troops. The British leaders thought tory militia would be of little value except in information gathering and in occupation of urban areas. There was no reason to believe that the tory militias would be any better trained, or form any better fighting force, than their patriot brethren for whom the English had so little regard.cclxx
The tories played a more significant role in the War for Independence than has been reported in many sources. They supplied badly needed manpower for the British army. Volunteers came from the tory militias to swell the ranks of the army as they had in earlier wars. They also supplied the occupation authorities and police for cities, operating under the shield of the British troops. The English found it expeditious to have tories stand watch and perform other duties that running municipal government required. Other loyalists, theoretically assigned temporarily to militia duty, but wishing to serve more meaningful tasks, were assigned to foraging, reconnaissance and fire watch and like boring and monotonous duties. The aristocratic class, offered prestigious upper level commissions, were frozen in place because the regular army, in which promotions to ranks of colonel and general were given only after long service, or sold for huge prices, would not be made available to militia. We may recall that, under orders from Lord Loudoun, all militia officers were considered inferior in rank to even a second lieutenant in the regular army. Actual enlistments of tory soldiers, although not officers, fell short of official estimates and expectations. This was disappointing because the British had assumed that the rebels constituted only a tiny portion of the colonial population and therefore expected that a vast number of loyal volunteers would materialize, motivated only by thoughts of patriotism.
The first, and perhaps greatest failure, of British policy in America was the assumption was that most Americans wanted to retain their loyalty to British rule. Overall, British policy remained recalcitrant in the belief that most Americans wanted to live under the king's rule. As late as 1779 General James Robertson, testifying before the House of Commons, insisted that "more than two-thirds" of Americans were loyal to the crown. Once freed from patriot rule, the vast majority of Americans would run to the safety of benevolent British rule.cclxxi
A second major British failure was based in the maintenance in force in North America of the British Mutiny Act. Americans, especially those in cities, had witnessed the horrors of the imposition of corporal punishment of unimagined intensity among the occupying troops. This brutal discipline may have meant little to the upper crust of society, those who would occupy the officer corps, but it was utterly frightening to those who might serve as enlisted men and thus be subject to the law. Other loyalists doubtless saw other inconsistencies, irregularities and abuses among the occupying troops.
A third failure of British recruitment policy, clearly related to the second, was the reduction in authority of militia commissions as compared to regular commissions. When Loudoun first imposed the Mutiny Act during the Seven Years War, it had the effect of placing all provincial officers under the command of all regular officers beginning with second lieutenant. Thus, any militia general, in actual command, was under the authority of any regular officer. Even after 1779, militia officers, irrespective of experience or service, were inferior to regular officers of the same grade. Provincial militia officers were ineligible to receive permanent rank or half pay upon reduction.
A fourth failure, related to the third, was the failure of the English authorities to develop a uniform policy in regard to enlistment bounties. Initially, officers received commissions based on their ability to recruit men to serve in regiments they were raising. Each provincial unit had to negotiate its own terms of support, and since most aristocratic loyalist officers cared little for their enlisted men, adequate provision of the men was rarely a great concern. Other loyalist officers, seeking to fill the ranks to secure their own commissions and ranks, made vague promises and commitments, or made promises they were essentially powerless to carry out. A few wealthy officers made good on their promises from their own resources. By late 1778 the home government began to clarify the arrangements and conditions of provincial enlistments, but by then it was too late for word had spread of the many unfilled bounties and unkept promises. Only after 1781 did the home government agree to offer a number of inducements, bounties and promises to loyal men who might be recruited.cclxxii In 1776 the British home government had prepared supplies for 10,000 men, while enlistments were probably about 7000.cclxxiii
The system of by offering commissions to those recruiting men had been well established in British colonial practices even before the Seven Years War. During the American Revolution the British army operated even more closely than in the past with the provincial militias. Any prominent loyalist who could raise a tory militia troop of almost any size could receive a commission from the king. Those who were most active in recruitment of provincial militia regiments and companies were men who held rank and wealth before the revolution. Provided they recruited a sufficient number of tories, these officers could nominated the commissioned officers of inferior rank. Some tory officers believed, correctly or not, that they had been authorized to offer grants of land of 50 acres to enlisted men and 200 acres to non-commissioned officers. Provincial militia recruits commonly agreed to serve for two years or the duration of the war, if less.cclxxiv Many British army officers objected to this custom, claiming that this practice promoted the staffing of regiments with wholly unqualified officers. The Inspector-General of Provincial forces rationalized the army's official position.
I have found . . . several persons to whom warrants had been granted to raise Corps had greatly abused the confidence that had been placed in them, by issuing warrants to very improper persons as inferior officers, the consequence of which was that numberless abuses had taken place, and among many others, Negroes, Mulattoes, Indians, Sailors and Rebel Prisoners, were inlisted, to the disgrace and ruin of the provincial service.cclxxv
After 1780, because of the irregularities in enlistment procedures, each militiaman recruited in the southern campaign was issued a certificate expressly limiting his service and guaranteeing him exemption from service beyond a pre-arranged territorial limit. The men were granted the right to elect their own officers rather than having officers commissioned by fulfillment of enlistment quotas. The authorities established an inspector to superintend militia enlistments, training and discipline. The inspector was charged with preventing any acts of frauds in enlistments and to prevent the patriots from drawing out suspected tories by falsely representing themselves as loyalist recruiters.cclxxvi
A fifth failure may be seen in the treatment accorded recruits by both the British regulars and the provincial militia officers. W. O. Raymond studied the papers of Muster Master General Edward Winslow. Edward Winslow, Jr., had served as a guide for Lord Percy when he went to relief of Pitcairn at Lexington on 19 April 1775. Winslow fled with the British army when it evacuated Boston and went to New York city where many of his friends and business associates joined him in forming a tory militia. In July 1776 he was appointed muster-master of all "Provincial troops taken into his Majesty's service within the Colonies lying on the Atlantic Ocean from Nova Scotia to Florida inclusive." Winslow chose as his assistant Ward Chipman, a fellow graduate of Harvard. Their duty was to enlist additional militiamen into the king's service. Raymond wrote of Winslow's efforts, "There can be not the slightest doubt that the haughty demeanor of the British regulars toward the provincials, combined with the ill treatment of Loyalists by the Army, lost to the royal cause thousands upon thousands of friends and well wishers in all the colonies."cclxxvii
It is not especially surprising that, while enlistments of privates remained relatively low, nearly all loyalist militias had a full complement of officers. One recent researcher commented that the most striking feature of loyalist militias was "the very high proportion of officers to men."cclxxviii It took the English a long time to realize that most loyalists were of a rank in life superior to the class from which enlisted men were usually drawn. Treating enlisted men with great discourtesy did nothing to improve on the number or quality of enlistments of common militiamen.
British and Hessian troops often treated the Americans with brutality. Alleged looting and rapine was reportedly especially widespread in New Jersey, but was reported throughout the former colonies. British raiders also reportedly looted and burned the property of tories and patriots alike.
Adding to the other British problems there developed rivalries between former officers, former colonial officers and current colonial officers still in office, especially in Canada. For example, Governor Francis Legge of Nova Scotia resented the recruitment of loyalist refugees on his turf by Joseph Gorham and Francis Maclean.cclxxix Legge wanted to create a regiment in order to secure his own commission, but the others had the military reputations that he lacked and so recruits avoided Legge and signed in with Gorham and Maclean. Legge pulled political rank, appealed to Lord Dartmouth and received support from the home government for his won regiment along with a commission as colonel.
Another reason for the failure of British efforts to recruit tories was the development of British policy to encourage Amerindian raids of the patriots, especially those families living on the vast western frontier. Even the home government and its opposition in the House of Commons had some grave reservations about this barbarous practice. Americans who were closer to the frontier and who had seen or heard reports of Amerindian atrocities were usually much disturbed and resentful. Awareness of the practice of buying scalps was widespread and received almost universal rejection.
The regular army wanted to share virtually nothing with their provincial brethren. Home office policy before 1778 was never made it clear if the provincials were to draw supplies from army stores, so the army's commissary was rarely cooperative. The provincials were rarely accorded the privilege of the regimental orderly rooms, hospitals, ambulances or nursing care. Those wounded who were unable to return to duties received no allowances, nor were there provisions for widows or orphans of those provincials killed in action. Initially, the army had opposed both the enlistment of loyalists into their units and the incorporation of loyal militia into the overall British military force.cclxxx
In the first two years of the conflict, nearly 1500 tories enlisted in a dozen loyalist provincial militia units. Later, some loyalists joined these and other provincial militias because there was no real alternative. Militia service offered the displaced loyalists one of the few opportunities for employment. Others were alienated by patriot brutality toward their own families and confiscation of their property and that of their fellow tories. Still others thought the British effort was going well and that the patriots were retreating, so they chose to support the winning side, perhaps in hope of receiving rewards after the crown restored its colonial rule. For these men, the patriot victory at Saratoga in October 1777 proved to be a major shock, diminishing their belief in British victory. When news of Burgoyne's surrender arrived in London on 2 December 1777, followed shortly by news of the entry of France in the war on 13 March 1778, the home government realized that it was faced with a real crisis. The government surmised that it would become necessary to increase enlistments in the provincial militias.cclxxxi In the beginning, the British had done very little recruiting among the loyalists; loyalists themselves had initiated the formation of all loyal militias. One recent author expressed the judgement that "Before British policy was reformulated in 1779 . . . three years of confusion and sharp practices had destroyed much of the respect which Loyalists had for Great Britain."cclxxxii
After the unfortunate turn of events, the British needed provincials more than ever. Troops at home were in short supply. Because France posed a true threat to Britain's colonial outposts it was not among the reasonable policy choices to consider withdrawing troops from the other colonies. In the wake of the obvious failure of the government's colonial policy Lord Howe's resignation was accepted on 4 February 1778.cclxxxiii Lord George Germain urged the new commander General Henry Clinton to attempt to recruit more colonials. Germain offered his resignation soon after.cclxxxiv To expedite recruitment Germain suggested instituting a new policy. By December the Board of General Officers had addressed most of the earlier deficiencies. It recommended offering three guineas as bounty for each new recruit, a guinea reward for apprehension of loyalist deserters, and an annual allowance of £40 for hospital expenses for each loyalist regiment. The home government sweetened the pot by offering permanent commissions to officers along with half-pay retirement or permanent disability.cclxxxv Clinton opened recruitment to runaway criminals excepting only those who had been under penalty of death; to indentured servants and apprentices; and to escaped slaves.cclxxxvi
The results of Germain's and Clinton's new policies were disappointing. In 1779 there was only a small increase in enlistments, perhaps twenty percent; while in 1780 and 1781 new recruits barely replaced desertions and those whose enlistments were expiring. A discouraged Clinton wrote Germain in December 1779, "So many attempts to raise men have totally failed of success and some corps which at first promised to be of importance have remained . . . in so very weak a state that there is little encouragement to undertake anything moire in this line."cclxxxvii
As time passed, the loyalists became ever more an excuse for British presence in the colonies. The costs of the war were taking a huge toll on British finances and opinion in and out of Parliament was turning decidedly against continuing the war. Landed gentry were reeling under increased taxation and the government was borrowing heavily again. To respond to its critics, as the government's parliamentary majority decreased, North looked for evidence of tory suffering and readiness to contribute to the war effort. The opposition accused the government of inventing stories of persecution against the tories just to shore up their efforts when the war was going poorly.cclxxxviii Without loyalist support both the government and the king feared that they would have to abandon the colonies, at least until the war with France was over.cclxxxix
By late 1778 the British colonial policy came under attack in what is known as the Howe Inquiry. The opposition in the House of Commons, wishing to embarrass the government, spent most of the parliamentary session between November 1778 and July 1779 challenging the policy of continuing the war. On 6 May 1779 General William Howe was called as a witness and immediately the government was placed on the defensive. But the better witness for the opposition was Howe's second in command, Major-general Charles Grey, who declared that "I think that with the present force in America, there can be no expectation of ending the war by force of arms." No cost effective way to end the war was available. Only protection of the loyalists and their property and interests could provide a reason for continuing the war.ccxc
Several of the first provincial militia units created differed substantially from other provincial regiments. They were led by qualified officers who had accumulated considerable experience in earlier wars. Recruitment was done far from patriot strongholds and especially among expatriates and loyalist refugees. They included many experienced former soldiers and militiamen, especially Scotch Highlanders.ccxci Recruits were allowed to assist in selecting their own officers. Bounties for land served as inducements for enlisting. The British expected these early militia units to perform the same duties and functions as regular army units. They were special units specifically chosen to perform certain duties in clearly defined areas. The home government did not intend to replace any army units with provincial militia as a matter of general policy. Among the early provincial militia units were Maclean's Royal Highland Emigrant Regiment and Gorham's Royal Fensible Americans. Joseph Gorham was a former frontier ranger and Deputy Superintendent of Indian Affairs. In December 1775 Gorham bragged that he had enlisted 300 former patriot riflemen into the tory militia. General Francis Maclean was himself a Highlander who had been an officer in the Seven Years War who had remained in America.ccxcii
When British troops occupied a town, township, county or city they ordinarily sought out the loyalist leaders and urged them to form a militia. Like their patriot brethren they mustered on a regular schedule, set by the muster-master. Commonly they practiced six times a year and had mini-musters once a month. Even though most loyalists were members of the Church of England they usually had no association with the church, as especially their calvinist-puritan brethren had in New England.ccxciii
Most Tory militia were urban, although Indian Affairs Superintendent John Stuartccxciv and Sir John Johnson (1742-1830), son of Sir William Johnson, and Colonel Guy Johnson ( -1788),ccxcv nephew of Sir William, were somewhat successful in raising several loyalist militia companies on the frontier. Sir William Johnson, known widely as the Lord of the Mohawks, had died in 1774 and neither his son John nor his nephew Guy had quite the influence over the Six Nations that William had enjoyed. Sir John assumed the position of Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Both of the second generation Johnsons had left New York with an appropriate number of Iroquois retainers and migrated to Canada. They constantly pressured Canadian Governor Guy Carleton to assist them in raising a large of warriors from the Six Nations and united empire loyalists and to equip them for a punitive expedition against the rebellious colonies. They were quite confident that a mixed Tory and Amerindian force of considerable size might be recruited. Carleton, knowing something of Amerindian outrages against caucasians, refused and Guy Johnson left for England. Lieutenant-colonel John Butler assumed Guy Johnson's position as Deputy Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Butler sided strongly with John Johnson (1742-1830) and worked very hard to increase the respect and friendship of the Iroquois nations. In May 1777, with the war entering its third year, and dreams of swift victory long vanished, the home government decided to accept the Johnsons' proposal. It ordered Carleton to give his fullest cooperation to their plan.ccxcvi The Johnsons and Butler were joined by John Boxstader who led a combined Tory and Amerindian force near Currietown and Ourlagh, New York, massacring and scalping frontiersmen.ccxcvii
Atrocities occurred on both sides, especially when undisciplined militia captured militiamen of the opposite side.ccxcviii Some loyalists considered the patriots to be traitors and, when in command of loyalist volunteers or militia, treated them accordingly. In New York City, during the British occupation, many tories and their families gathered. In 1780 many American loyalists, huddled together under British protection in New York City, organized into an association independent of British military control called The Honorable Board of Associated Loyalists. This unit was commanded by William Franklin, once royalist Governor of New Jersey. William Cunningham of New York city was Provost Marshal and a dedicated Tory. When given care of captured patriot militia or regulars, he provided as little care as was humanly possible to give. He privately hung 250 patriots and was responsible for the deaths of another 2000 who died of exposure or starvation while under his care.ccxcix
Some patriots reacted to this violence with violence of their own. When tory militia and regulars were active in Virginiaccc the legislature assigned local militia units to the task of minimizing the damage. The leader of one of these patriot militias was Colonel Charles Lynch (1736-1796) of Bedford County. His reputation grew as the most successful Tory hunters and the legend grew that he regularly hanged ("lynched") Tory incendiaries and looters, although it is probable that he had most of them flogged rather than hanged. The term lynching applied ever after to an extra-legal execution. Georgia militiamen took a Lieutenant Kemp, an officer in the King's Rangers. They stripped and then killed him along with nine of his men for refusing to renounce the king. Eleven of the patriots who took Kemp were later taken by prisoner by tory militiamen and hanged. Militia captured a Captain Jones, member of Ganey's Tory Militia, initially treating him as a prisoner of war. Having determined to their satisfaction that he was a bandit, they killed him in front of his family and burned his house. Colonel Grierson of the Georgia Loyal Militia, was initially made prisoner of war, but later executed at Fort Cornwallis, allegedly in retaliation for the murder of some patriot prisoners of war.ccci Private citizens often acted like lynching mobs, literally applying tar and feathers, as in the following.
The 6th of December at Quibble Town, Middlesex County, Pisquata Township, North Jersey, Thomas Randolph, Cooper, who had publickly proved himself an Enemy to his Country, by reviling and using his utmost Endeavours to oppose the Proceedings of the Continental and Provincial Conventions and Committees, in Defence of their Rights and Liberties; and he being adjudged a Person of not Consequence enough for a severer Punishment, was ordered to be stripped naked, well coated with Tar and Feathers, and carried in a Waggon publickly round the Town -- which Punishment was accordingly inflicted; and as he soon became duly sensible of his Offence, for which he earnestly begged Pardon, and promised to atone as far as he was able, by a contrary Behavior for the future, he was released and suffered to return to his House in less than Half an Hour. The Whole was conducted with that Regularity and Decorum, that ought to be observed in all publick Punishments.cccii
Tories carried on a ceaseless system of irregular warfare, accompanied by relentless devastation, following the methods of the savage Amerindians with whom they were frequently allied. Most military authorities have concluded that the war was decided by the regularly organized forces, and these irregular operations served primarily to embitter and prolong the struggle. At times, however, the activities of irregulars assumed special importance. In the South, Tarleton's men were victorious until the Battle of Cowpens,ccciii and the presence of some many loyalists shaped to a large degree British military policy and planning there.ccciv In southern New York, Royalist Governor Tyron carried fire and sword through the Hudson Valley and into Connecticut and New Jersey.cccv In northern New York, Sir John Johnson and Colonel Butler made incursions into the Mohawk, Schoharie and Wyoming valleys, retiring into Canada when necessary. At its height of power Butler's Rangers was 700 men strong.cccvi
The war produced a significant number of notorious tory marauders. Claudius Smith of Orange County, New York, was a leader of a merciless band of marauders who sided with the loyalists. His one son was killed while raiding settlers' homes on Long Island. Smith was captured on Long Island and hanged. His surviving son Richard swore revenge, vowing to kill six patriots for every tory hanged.cccvii Another maurading band was led by John and Robert Smith of Pennsylvania. Their tory irregulars murdered the tax collector of Chester County. So vicious were their raids that continental authorities offered a $20,000 reward for their capture. In May 1780 they were arrested in Monmouth County, New Jersey, and there executed.cccviii A reward for the capture of David Sproat, also of Pennsylvania, was posted because of his torture and ill treatment of Whigs taken prisoner.cccix Thomas Terry, a local leader of tory resistance in the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania, reportedly killed his own mother, father-in-law and children in a raid. One of the nastiest marauders was a Colonel Scophol, described as "illiterate, stupid, noisy block-head" who led a band of 300 to 400 irregulars, named after him, called the Scopholies.cccx
Evan Thomas recruited and commanded a company of loyal militia in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He worked in close cooperation with the Queen's Rangers.cccxi Valentine Shockley, a native of Maryland, a bandit and counterfeiter, led an irregular force in the area of York County, Pennsylvania, until captured and executed in 1779. Mordecai Daugherty was a notorious horse thief turned tory plunderer in Bucks County.cccxii Tory militia Lieutenant-colonel Jeromus Lott of Long Island, New York, was infamous for his cruelty toward Whig captives and prisoners of war.cccxiii Weart Barta was a noted tory marauder, formerly a common thief, who escaped to Shelburne, Nova Scotia, as patriots closed in on him.cccxiv One of the most notorious tory raiders was a murderer known variously as Burke and Emmons who operated out of deep pine woods in New Jersey.cccxv William Hovendon was a captain in both the Queen's Rangers and Tarleton's Legion. His irregular militia's raids in and near Philadelphia deprived the colonists of badly needed clothing and supplies.cccxvi Jacob James, a captain in the British Legion, was a raider and horse thief near Philadelphia. His real specialty was kidnapping patriots for ransom. After the local patriot militia began to track him, he moved south and joined Tarleton. He was captured and executed in North Carolina.cccxvii
One of the major functions of the loyalists was to mobilize opposition to the war for independence among the patriots. This policy makes a great deal of sense when we recall that one of the crown's erroneous presumptions was that most Americans were truly loyal to the king and mother country and had been induced to rebel only because of pressures brought upon them by radicals like John Hancock and Samuel Adams. On occasion the British were successful in recruiting militia from among the American prisoners of war. Brigadier Hammell, once aide to General James Clinton, was converted to the loyalist cause by Sir Henry Clinton. The British charged Hammell with raising a regiment of American militia deserters.cccxviii John McNee was hanged in 1778 for recruiting tories for loyalist militia service in New Jersey.cccxix His principal crime was attempting to induce patriots to desert Washington's army during the winter of 1777-1778.cccxx Beginning in early 1779 Sir Henry Clinton offered £0/22/6 to each European who deserted from Washington's army.cccxxi
Still, the two principal functions of the loyalist militias remained unchanged throughout the war. First, they were to fill the ever increasing need for manpower. As their numbers dwindled, many loyalists were incorporated within regular army units. The Caledonian Volunteers were raised in Philadelphia, and, in 1778, had as their commander Sir William Cathcart. Later this body was composed of both cavalry and infantry and was known as the British Legion. Attached to it was a troop of the 17th Regular Dragoons, who continued to wear their old uniform while the legion cavalry had a special uniform with green facings; and for that reason were known as Tarleton's Green Horse after their last and best known commander. The legion sailed for Charleston with Clinton and surrendered at Yorktown with 24 officers and 209 men.cccxxii Lord Rawdon raised in Philadelphia in 1777 the Volunteers of Ireland, composed chiefly of Irish-American deserters and Loyalists. This body was present at Hobkirk Hill and Camden. De Lacey's Brigade was raised around New York early in the war and consisted of three battalions of 500 men each. Two of these battalions in November 1778, joined Colonel Archibald Campbell in Georgia.
Second, the loyal militia were to work on the frontier with those Amerindians who were loyal to the crown, functioning as terrorists. One of the Tories' principal contributions, especially in New York and Pennsylvania, was the recruiting of Amerindians to raid the patriots.cccxxiii Donald McDonald, a loyalist of New York, was killed leading his mixed band of tory raiders and Amerindians on an assault on Herkimer, New York. McDonald carried "a silver mounted tomahawk on which 30 notches for scalps taken were engraved."cccxxiv