The Queen's Rangers was a military unit that fought on the Loyalist side during the American War of Independence. After the war they moved to Nova Scotia and disbanded, but were reformed again in Upper Canada before lay in the French and Indian War (1756–1763), during which France and Great Britain fought for territories in the New World. At first, French-Canadian habitants and their Indian allies were quite effective by employing guerrilla tactics against the British regulars. To counter the French tactics, Robert Rogers raised companies of New England frontiersmen for the British and trained them in woodcraft, scouting, and irregular warfare, sending them on raids along the frontiers of French Canada as Rogers' Rangers. The Rangers soon gained a considerable reputation, particularly in the campaigning in upstate New York around Fort Ticonderoga and Lake Champlain. They also launched a long-range raid to destroy Indian allies in the St. Lawrence valley; gained the first lodgement in the amphibious landings on Cape Breton to capture Louisbourg, and took the surrender of the French outposts in the Upper Great Lakes at the conclusion of the war.
American Revolutionary War[edit | edit source]
When the American War of Independence broke out in 1775, about fifty Loyalist regiments were raised, including the Butler's Rangers, the King's Royal Regiment, and the Maryland and Pennsylvania Loyalists. Robert Rogers again raised a unit, this time in New York (mostly from Loyalists living in Westchester and Long Island), from western Connecticut, and with men from the Queen's Loyal Virginia Regiment. The new unit was named in honour of Queen Charlotte the wife of King George the Third. It first assembled on Staten Island in August 1776 and grew to 937 officers and men organized into eleven companies of about thirty men each and an additional five troops of cavalry. The unit immediately set about building fortresses and redoubts, including the one that stood at Lookout Place. Rogers did not prove successful in this command and he left the unit on 1/29/1777. The regiment had suffered serious losses in a surprise attack on their outpost position at Mamaroneck, New York, on 10/22/1776. Eleven months later, on 9/11/1777, they distinguished themselves at the Battle of Brandwine suffering many casualties while attacking entenched American positions. They were then commanded by Major James Wemyss. On October 15, 1777, John Graves Simcoe was given command. and I oop sksksksksksk
John Graves Simcoe turned the Queen's Rangers into one of the most successful British regiments in the war. They provided escort and patrol duty around Philadelphia (1777-8); fought in the Pennsylvania campaign; served as rearguard during the British retreat to New York (1778); fought the Stockbridge Militia in The Bronx (1778); fought at Perth Amboy, New Jersey, where Simcoe was captured but freed in a prisoner exchange three months later (1779–80); at Charlestown, South Carolina (1780); in the raid on Richmond, Virginia with Benedict Arnold and in other raids in Virginia (1780-1). The unit surrendered at Yorktown and its rank and file were imprisoned at Winchester, Virginia. Earlier on May 2, 1779 the regiment was taken into the American establishment as the 1st American Regiment and was later, on December 25, 1782, taken into the British establishment. In 1783, when the war was ended by the Treaty of Paris, the Queen's Rangers left New York for Nova Scotia, where it was disbanded. Many of the men from the unit formed Queensbury, New Brunswick on land grants.
After war years[edit | edit source]
After 1791, when Simcoe was named Lieutenant Governor of the newly created Upper Canada, the Queen's Rangers was revived to form the core of the defence forces. The leaders were mostly veterans of the American War of Independence. Although there was little military action during this period, the Rangers were instrumental in building Upper Canada through Simcoe's road building campaign. In 1795-6 they blazed the trail for Yonge Street, and then turned to Dundas Street and Kingston Road. They also built the original Fort York, where they were stationed. The Queen's Rangers were again disbanded in 1802. During the Rebellion of 1837 Samuel Peters Jarvis raised a new Queen's Rangers to fight the rebels, which again disbanded soon after being raised.
Legacy[edit | edit source]
Today there is a Canadian Army Reserve Regiment called The Queen's York Rangers (1st American Regiment) (RCAC), which unofficially traces its roots to the original Roger's Rangers. Officially the regiment is founded in 1866. An Ontario Historical Plaque was erected in Yorktown, Virginia by the province to commemorate the Queen's Rangers' role in Ontario's heritage.
Notable officers[edit | edit source]
- Lieutenant Colonel Robert Rogers- Commanded 8/26/1776 to 1/29/1777. Former commander of Roger's Rangers during the French and Indian War.
Major Christopher French - Temporary Commander 1/30/1777 to 5/4/1777. Came from and returned to the 22nd Regiment of Foot.
Major James Wemyss - Commanded 5/5/1777 to 10/14/1777. Came from the 40th Regiment of Foot. Later served as field commander of the 63rd Regiment during the Southern Campaign. Lieutenant Colonel John Graves Simcoe - Commanded 10/15/1777 to 10/13/1783. Came from the 40th Regiment of Foot.
Footnotes[edit | edit source]
- Katcher, p.98
- The Queen's York Rangers (1st American Regiment): History Retrieved 11/02/12.
- The Queen's York Rangers (1st American Regiment) (RCAC) Retrieved 11/02/12.
- Ontario Plaque
References[edit | edit source]
- Katcher, Philip, Encyclopaedia of British, Provincial, and German Army Units 1775-1783, 1973, ISBN 0-8117-0542-0
Biographical Sketches of the Infantry and Cavalry Officers of the Queen's Rangers. http://home.golden.net~marg/bansite/btfoxhounds.html.
[edit | edit source]
- History of the Queen's York Rangers
- John Graves Simcoe and the Queen's Rangers
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