Colonial American military history

Colonial American military history is the military record of the Thirteen Colonies from their founding to the American Revolution in 1775.

Washington 1772
George Washington in 1772 as colonel of the Virginia Regiment; painting by Charles Willson Peale

Rangers

First Muster 1637
First Muster, Spring 1637, Massachusetts Bay Colony

Rangers in North America served in the 17th and 18th-century wars between colonists and Native American tribes. The British regulars were not accustomed to frontier warfare and so Ranger companies were developed. Rangers were full-time soldiers employed by colonial governments to patrol between fixed frontier fortifications in reconnaissance, providing early warning of raids. In offensive operations, they were scouts and guides, locating villages and other targets for task forces drawn from the militia or other colonial troops.

The father of American ranging is Colonel Benjamin Church (c. 1639–1718).[1] He was the captain of the first Ranger force in America (1676).[2] Church was commissioned by Plymouth Colony Governor Josiah Winslow to form the first ranger company for King Philip's War. He later employed the company to raid Acadia during King William's War and Queen Anne's War.

Benjamin Church designed his force primarily to emulate Native American patterns of war. Toward this end, he endeavored to learn from Native Americans how to fight like Native Americans.[1] Americans became rangers exclusively under the tutelage of the Indian allies. (Until the end of the colonial period, rangers depended on Indians as both allies and teachers.)[3] Church developed a special full-time unit mixing white colonists, selected for frontier skills, with friendly Native Americans to carry out offensive strikes against hostile Native Americans in terrain where normal militia units were ineffective.

Under Church served the father and grandfather of two famous rangers of the eighteenth century: John Lovewell and John Gorham, respectively.[4] Rogers' Rangers was established in 1751[5] by Major Robert Rogers, who organized nine Ranger companies in the American colonies. These early American light infantry units organized during the French and Indian War were called "Rangers" and are often considered to be the spiritual birthplace of the modern Army Rangers.

Militia

The beginning of the United States military lies in local governments which created militias that enrolled nearly all free white men. The British Army and Royal Navy handled international wars. The militia was not employed as a fighting force in major operations outside the local jurisdiction. Instead, the colony asked for (and paid) volunteers (e.g., Rangers), many of whom were also militia members. The local Indian threat ended by 1725 in most places, after which the militia system was little used except for local ceremonial roles.

The militia system was revived at the end of the colonial era, as the American Revolution approached; weapons were accumulated and intensive training began. The militia played a major fighting role in the Revolution, especially in expelling the British from Boston in 1776 and capturing the invading British Army at Saratoga in 1777. However most of the fighting was handled by the Continental Army, comprising regular soldiers.[6]

Indian wars

Military actions in the colonies were the result of conflicts with Native Americans in the early years of the British colonization of North America, such as in the Anglo-Powhatan Wars between 1610 and 1646, the Pequot War of 1637, King Philip's War in 1675, the Susquehannock war in 1675–77,[7] and the Yamasee War in 1715. Father Rale's War (1722–1725) happened in Maine and Nova Scotia. There also occurred slave uprisings, such as the Stono Rebellion in 1739. Finally, there was Father Le Loutre's War, which also involved Acadians, in the lead-up to the French and Indian War.

Dutch wars

Kieft's War was a conflict between Dutch settlers and Indians in the colony of New Netherland from 1643 to 1645. The fighting involved raids and counter-raids. It was bloody in proportion to the population; more than 1,600 natives were killed at a time when the European population of New Amsterdam was only 250.

Spanish wars

The British fought the Spanish in the War of Jenkins' Ear, 1739–1748. After 1742, the war merged into the larger War of the Austrian Succession involving most of the powers of Europe. Georgia beat back a Spanish invasion of Georgia in 1742, and some sporadic border fighting continued. The war merged into King George's War, which ended with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748.

France and Britain at war

Beginning in 1689, the colonies also frequently became involved in a series of four major wars between Britain and France for control of North America, the most important of which were Queen Anne's War, in which the British won French Acadia (Nova Scotia), and the final French and Indian War (1754–1763), when France lost all of Canada. This final war gave thousands of colonists military experience, including George Washington, which they put to use during the American Revolution.

Britain and France fought a series of four French and Indian Wars, followed with another war in 1778 when France joined the Americans in the American Revolution. The French settlers in New France were outnumbered 15–1 by the 13 American colonies,[8] so the French relied heavily on Indian allies.

The wars were long and bloody, causing immense suffering for everyone involved. In the long run, the Indians were the biggest losers; many were on the losing side, as Spain and France were defeated. When the British finally won full control, the Indian power was sharply limited. Frontier settlers were exposed to sudden Indian raids; many were killed or captured, and even more were forced back from the frontier. One profitable form of wartime activity in which colonists engaged was privateering—legalized piracy against enemy merchant ships. Another was hunting enemy Indians for the purpose of scalping them and claiming the cash bounty offered by colonial governments.[9]

King William's War: 1689–1697

Frontenac receiving the envoy of Sir William Phipps demanding the surrender of Quebec, 1690
"I have no reply to make to your general other than from the mouth of my cannons and muskets." Frontenac famously rebuffs the English envoys at the Battle of Quebec (1690)

King William's War (1689–97) (also known as the "Nine Years' War" and the "War of the League of Augsburg") was a phase of the larger Anglo-French conflict for colonial domination throughout the world. New France and the Wabanaki Confederacy were able to thwart New England expansion into Acadia by raiding settlements south of present-day Maine, whose border New France defined as the Kennebec River in southern Maine.[10]

Sir William Phips moved with his New England militia in 1690 to take the French strongholds at Port Royal and at Quebec, the latter commanded by Comte de Frontenac, the governor of New France. Phips conquered the capital of Acadia and various other communities in the colony (e.g., Battle of Chedabucto). (Present-day Maine and New Brunswick remained contested territories between New England and New France.) Phips's written ultimatum demanding Fontenac's surrender at Quebec prompted Frontenac to say that his reply would come only "from the mouths of my cannon and muskets."

The New England militia had to reckon with Quebec's formidable natural defenses, its superior number of soldiers, and the coming of winter, and Phips finally sailed back to Boston with his hungry, smallpox-ridden, and demoralized force. His failure shows a growing recognition of the need to replicate European combat techniques and to move closer to England's war policy in order to achieve military success.[11]

Iroquois Six Nations c. 1720

Iroquois Six Nations c. 1720

The Iroquois suffered heavily in King William's War and were brought into the French trading network, along with other western Indians. The colonists' treatment of Indian tribes after King Philip's War led directly the Wabanaki tribe's involvement in the war. It retained significant power relative to the colonists, unlike tribes in southern New England, and rejected attempts to exert authority over them. Treaties made during 1678–84 included concessions to Indian sovereignty, but such concessions were largely ignored in practice. Expanding settlements fueled tensions and led to Indian threats of a repeat of the violence of King Philip's War and offered an opportunity to the French, who wanted to counter English influence in the region. The lack of stability and authority evidenced by the imprisonment of Governor Andros in 1689 combined with existing grievances and French encouragement led to Wabanaki attacks on settlements on the Northeast coast, a pattern that was repeated until the withdrawal of the French in 1763.[12]

Queen Anne's War

Queen Anne's War (1702–1713) was the second war for control of the continent and was the counterpart of the War of the Spanish Succession in Europe. The conflict also involved a number of American Indian tribes and Spain, which was allied with France.

Carolina governor James Moore led an unsuccessful attack in 1702 on St. Augustine, the capital of Spanish Florida, and led one of several raiding expeditions in 1704-6 that wiped out much of Florida's Indian population. Thomas Nairne, the Province of Carolina's Indian agent, planned an expedition of British soldiers and their Indian allies to destroy the French settlement at Mobile and the Spanish settlement at Pensacola. The expedition never materialized, but the British did supply their allies with firearms, which the Tallapoosas used in their siege of Pensacola. These warriors proved their effectiveness in combining native tactics and European arms, but the English failed to compensate them adequately and seriously underestimated their importance as the key to the balance of power in the southeastern interior. Consequently, the Tallapoosas and other tribes had shifted allegiance to the other side by 1716 and prepared to use what they had learned against South Carolina settlements.[13]

The French and Wabanaki Confederacy sought to thwart New England expansion into Acadia, whose border New France defined as the Kennebec River in southern Maine.[10] Toward this end, they executed raids against targets in Massachusetts (including present-day Maine), starting with Northeast Coast Campaign.

In 1704, French and Indian forces attacked a number of villages and Deerfield, Massachusetts was prepared for an attack. The attack came during the night of 28 February 1704; much of the village was burned, many were killed, and others were taken captive. Seventeen of the captives were killed along the way to Canada, as they were injured and could not keep up, and starvation took additional lives.

Major Benjamin Church retaliated by raiding Acadia (see Raid on Grand Pre) and captured prisoners for ransom, the most famous Acadian captive being Noel Doiron. Eventually, 53 New England captives returned home, including one of the targets of the invaders, the Reverend John Williams. His accounts of the experience made him famous throughout the colonies.[14] South Carolina was especially vulnerable, and Charleston repulsed an attempted raid by French and Spanish fleets in the summer of 1706.

French privateers inflicted serious losses on New England's fishing and shipping industries. The privateering was finally curbed in 1710 when Britain provided military support to its American colonists resulting in the British Conquest of Acadia (which became peninsular Nova Scotia), the main base used by the privateers.[15] The war ended with a British victory in 1713. By the Treaty of Utrecht, Britain gained Acadia, the island of Newfoundland, the Hudson Bay region, and the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. France was required to recognize British authority over the Iroquois.

Following Queen Anne's War, relations deteriorated between Carolina and the nearby Indian populations, resulting in the Yamasee War of 1715. Father Rale's War a few years later, shifted power in the northeast.

Father Rale's War

War continued in Acadia, however. Father Rale's War (1722–1725), also known as Dummer's War, was a series of battles between New England and the Wabanaki Confederacy, who were allied with New France. After the New England Conquest of Acadia in 1710, mainland Nova Scotia was under the control of New England, but both present-day New Brunswick and virtually all of present-day Maine remained contested territory between New England and New France. New France established Catholic missions among the three largest native villages in order to secure their claim to the region: one on the Kennebec River (Norridgewock), one further north on the Penobscot River (Penobscot), and one on the St. John River (Medoctec).[16][17]

The war began on two fronts when New England expanded through Maine and when New England established a settlement at Canso, Nova Scotia. Maine fell to the New Englanders with the defeat of Father Sébastien Rale at Norridgewock and the subsequent retreat of the Indians from the Kennebec and Penobscot rivers to St. Francis and Becancour, Quebec.[18]

King George's War

King George's War (1744–48) was the North American phase of the War of the Austrian Succession. In 1745, naval and ground forces from Massachusetts captured the strategic French base on Cape Breton Island in the Siege of Louisbourg. During the war, the French made four attempts to regain Acadia by capturing the capital Annapolis Royal, the most famous attempt being the failed Duc d'Anville expedition. They regained fortress Louisbourg at the peace treaty.

The French led Indian allies in numerous raids, such as the one on Nov. 28, 1745 which destroyed the village of Saratoga, New York, killing and capturing more than one hundred of its inhabitants. The war merged into War of Jenkins' Ear against Spain and ended with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748.

Father Le Loutre's War

Within Acadia and Nova Scotia, Father Le Loutre's War (1749–1755) began when the British founded Halifax. During Father Le Loutre's War, New France established three forts along the border of present-day New Brunswick to protect it from a New England attack from Nova Scotia. The war continued until British victory at Fort Beausejour, which dislodged Father Le Loutre from the region, thereby ending his alliance with the Maliseet, Acadians, and Mi'kmaq.[19]

French and Indian War: 1754–63

Provincial troops, as distinct from the militias, were raised by the 13 colonial governments in response to annual quotas established by the British commanders-in-chief. These troops saw service in most campaigns and employment throughout North America during the Seven Years' War.

Pennsylvania

The war began in 1754 as Virginia militia led by Colonel George Washington advanced into French-held territory near modern-day Pittsburgh. Washington was captured at Fort Necessity after ambushing a French company and released. He returned with the 2,100 British regulars and American colonials under British General Edward Braddock, which was decisively destroyed at the Battle of the Monongahela in July 1755.[20] [21]

Acadia / Nova Scotia

A View of the Plundering and Burning of the City of Grymross, by Thomas Davies, 1758
St. John River Campaign: A View of the Plundering and Burning of the City of Grimross (present day Gagetown, New Brunswick) by Thomas Davies in 1758. This is the only contemporaneous image of the Expulsion of the Acadians.

Despite the British Conquest of Acadia in 1710, Acadia/ Nova Scotia remained dominated by Catholic Acadians and Mi'kmaq. The British did not make a concerted military effort to control the region until 1749 when they founded Halifax, which sparked Father Le Loutre's War. The French and Indian War spread to the region with a British victory in the Battle of Fort Beauséjour (1755). Immediately after this battle the New England and British forces engaged in numerous military campaigns, which became known as the Expulsion of the Acadians.

New York

British defenders at Fort William Henry (at the southern end of Lake George) were surrounded by an overwhelming French force and their Indian allies from many tribes in August 1757. The British surrendered to the French after being offered terms that included protection from the Indians. Nonetheless, the Indian warriors' customs permitted the enslavement of some captured enemy soldiers and the scalping of others, and they ignored French efforts to prevent the massacre. They killed or captured hundreds of the surrendered British force, including women, children, servants, and slaves. Some of those scalped had smallpox, and the scalps were brought to numerous Indian villages as trophies, where they caused an epidemic that killed thousands of Indians.

In early July 1758, British General James Abercromby with a force of over 15,000 attacked General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm and his garrison of 3,500 French and Canadian troops at Fort Carillon, which overlooked Lake Champlain. The British had 44 cannons, the heaviest weighing more than 5,000 pounds. The fort was later called Ticonderoga by the British, and it controlled access to French Canada. Abercromby's force included 5,825 red-coated British regulars, including the Royal Highlanders. He had 9,000 colonials from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and New Jersey. Some 400 Mohawk warriors joined in. Abercromby's attack became disorganized and he suffered the worst British defeat of the war, with over 2,000 killed. He retreated and the campaign ended in failure.

Louisbourg

Meanwhile, Lord Jeffery Amherst captured the great French stronghold of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island (now part of Nova Scotia). Amherst's large British naval force of over 170 ships and 13,000 men came under furious attack by French defenders until British General James Wolfe found a safe landing spot out of sight of the French. The ultimately successful siege lasted seven weeks. With the fall of Louisbourg, the New England and British forces engaged in the second phase of the Expulsion of the Acadians from the region.

Canada

In London, Prime Minister William Pitt named Amherst as his new commander-in-chief of North America for 1759. The Louisbourg victory opened the St. Lawrence River to British incursions, and Amherst devised a three-pronged attack against French Canada: a push up the St. Lawrence to attack Quebec, another northward invasion from Albany by way of lakes George and Champlain, and pressure against the French in the west at Fort Niagara. The 1759 battle for Quebec City was fought on the Plains of Abraham and decided the future of Canada, as British forces under General James Wolfe defeated the French army of General Louis-Joseph Montcalm. Both generals were killed.

Legacy

Anderson (2006) suggests that the war played a pivotal precipitating role in the American Revolution. He believes that the United States has become an imperial nation through the influence of this war, and suggests that it should perhaps be known as "the War That Made America."

The Fort William Henry massacre has shaped American cultural attitudes toward Indians. It was only one of many episodes of indiscriminate bloodshed and captive-taking and deranged relations between Indians and Anglo-American colonists. Even in Pennsylvania, a colony that had never known an Indian war before 1755, resentment against Indians became something like a majority sentiment by 1764. Most Indian groups sided with the British in the Revolution, and the animosity only grew.[22]

American novelist James Fenimore Cooper wrote The Last of the Mohicans in 1826, a widely read novel that was adapted for several Hollywood films. Cooper refers to the dangerous "savages" and shows their willingness to kill. The book creates a lasting impression of the untrustworthiness and dangerousness of Indians in general, according to Michael Hilger. One long-standing theme in American popular culture has portrayed the Indians as revenge-seeking savages looking to scalp their enemies.[23]

The victory of Wolfe over Montcalm was a decisive moment in shaping the self-image of British Canada, while Francophone Canada has refused to allow commemorations.[24]

Pontiac's rebellion

Pontiac's war region
Zone of action in Pontiac's Rebellion

In 1760, British commander Lord Amherst abruptly ended the distribution of gifts of ironware, weapons, and ammunition to the Indians, a French practice that the Indians had become dependent upon. Chief Pontiac (1720–1769) was a chief of the Ottawa tribe who assumed leadership in the Detroit area; other chiefs in the loose confederation of tribes directed attacks on all British forts in the Great Lakes area in the spring of 1763. Eight outposts were overrun, and English supply lines were cut across Lake Erie; assaults failed on Fort Detroit and Fort Pitt. At this point, news arrived of the complete French capitulation and withdrawal from North America, and the uprising quickly collapsed. Few American military units were involved, as British regulars handled the action. London issued a proclamation in October 1763 forbidding whites to enter Indian territory west of the Appalachian Mountains, hoping to minimize future conflict and laying plans for an Indian satellite state in the Great Lakes region.[25]

By expelling the French Empire from North America, the British victory made it impossible for the Iroquois and other native groups to play rival powers against one another. The Indians who had been allied with France realized their weak position when the British began to treat them as conquered foes. They reacted with violence to Britain's abrupt changes in the terms of trade and suspension of diplomatic gift giving, launching an insurrection by driving British troops from western forts and sending raiding parties that caused panic as refugees fled east. The Indian coalition forced the British to rescind the offending policies and renew giving gifts. By 1764, the various tribes came to terms with Britain, and Indian leaders realized that their war-fighting ability was crippled. Without a competing empire to arm and supply them, they simply could not keep fighting once they ran out of gunpowder and lead.[26]

The Proclamation of 1763 angered American settlers eager to move west; they largely ignored it, and saw the imperial government as an ally of the Indians and an obstacle to their goals. As Dixon (2007) argues, "Frustrated by their government's inability to contend with the Indians, back country settlers concluded that the best way to insure security was to rely on their own devices." Such actions eventually pushed them into direct conflict with the British government and ultimately proved one of the main forces leading to backcountry support for the American Revolution.[27]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b John Grenier. The First Way of War: American War Making on the Frontier. Cambridge University Press. 2005. p. 35
  2. ^ John Grenier. The First Way of War: American War Making on the Frontier. Cambridge University Press. 2005. p. 33
  3. ^ John Grenier, p. 33-34
  4. ^ The first way of war: American war making on the frontier, 1607–1814 By John Grenier, p. 38
  5. ^ Churchill's Wizards: The British Genius for Deception, 1914–1945 (Rankin, Nicholas). p. 454 (2008 paperback)
  6. ^ John Shy, A People Numerous and Armed: Reflections on the Military Struggle for American Independence (2nd ed. 2008)
  7. ^ See nnock War 1675-77"
  8. ^ In 1690, New France had about 12,000 inhabitants, while the American colonists numbered over 200,000. By 1760, the numbers were about 60,000 and 1.6 million, respectively.
  9. ^ Anderson (1960)
  10. ^ a b Williamson, William D. (1832). The History of the State of Maine: From Its First Discovery, 1602, to the Separation, A. D. 1820, Inclusive. Vol. II. Glazier, Masters & Company. p. 27.
    • Griffiths, N.E.S. (2005). From Migrant to Acadian: A North American Border People, 1604-1755. McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-7735-2699-0.
    • Campbell, William Edgar (2005). The Road to Canada: The Grand Communications Route from Saint John to Quebec. Goose Lane Editions. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-86492-426-1.
  11. ^ K. A. J. McLay, "Wellsprings of a 'World War': an Early English Attempt to Conquer Canada During King William's War, 1688–97," Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 2006 34(2): 155–175,
  12. ^ Jenny Hale Pulsipher, "'Dark Cloud Rising from the East': Indian Sovereignty and the Coming of King William's War in New England," New England Quarterly 2007 80(4): 588–613
  13. ^ Steven Oatis, "'To Eat up a Village of White Men': Anglo-Indian Designs on Mobile and Pensacola, 1705–1715," Gulf South Historical Review 1998 14(1): 104–119,
  14. ^ John Demos, The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America (1995)
  15. ^ Verner W. Crane, "The Southern Frontier in Queen Anne's War," American Historical Review Vol. 24, No. 3 (Apr., 1919), pp. 379–395 JSTOR 1835775
  16. ^ "Meductic Indian Village / Fort Meductic National Historic Site of Canada". Parks Canada. Retrieved December 20, 2011.
  17. ^ John Grenier, The Far Reaches of Empire. University of Oklahoma Press, 2008, p. 51, p. 54.
  18. ^ New Englanders safely settled the land, but Massachusetts did not officially lay claim to the entire Penobscot watershed until the treaty of 1752, and the Pownall Expedition led by Governor Thomas Pownall in 1759 established Fort Pownall on Cape Jellison in what is now Stockton Springs.
  19. ^ John Grenier. The Edge of Empire: War In Nova Scotia. 2008.
  20. ^ "The Battle of the Monongahela". World Digital Library. 1755. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
  21. ^ All sites referenced lie within the geographical and historical boundaries of Pennsylvania
  22. ^ Anderson (2006)
  23. ^ Michael Hilger, From Savage to Nobleman: Images of Native Americans in Film (1995); Peter C. Rollins and John E. O'Connor, eds., Hollywood's Indian: The Portrayal of the Native American in Film (1998).
  24. ^ See Desmond Morton, "Who really won on the Plains of Abraham?" Financial Post Nov. 10, 2009
  25. ^ Howard H. Peckham, Pontiac and the Indian Uprising (1947); Richard Middleton, Pontiac's War: Its Causes, Course, and Consequences (2007)
  26. ^ Anderson (2006); David Dixon, Never Come to Peace Again: Pontiac's Uprising and the Fate of the British Empire in North America (2005).
  27. ^ David Dixon, Never Come to Peace Again: Pontiac's Uprising and the Fate of the British Empire in North America (2005), quoting p. xii

Further reading

  • Allison, William Thomas, Jeffrey Grey, and Janet G. Valentine. American Military History (Routledge, 2016), Ch 1.
  • Anderson, Fred. The War That Made America: A Short History of the French and Indian War (2006), excerpt and text search
  • Campbell, Alexander V. The Royal American Regiment: An Atlantic Microcosm, 1755–1772 (U of Oklahoma Press, 2014).
  • Drenth, Wienand and Jonathon Riley. The First Colonial Soldiers: A Survey of British overseas territories and their garrisons, 1650 - 1714. Volume 2: The Americas and the Caribbean (Eindhoven: Drenth Publishing, 2015)
  • Ferling, John E. Struggle for a Continent: The Wars of Early America (1993), to 1763
  • Gallay, Alan, ed. Colonial Wars of North America, 1512–1763: An Encyclopedia (1996) excerpt and text search
  • Grenier, John. The First Way of War: American War Making on the Frontier, 1607–1814 (Cambridge University Press, 2005)
  • Leach, Douglas Edward. Arms for Empire: A Military History of the British Colonies in North America, 1607–1763 (1973)
  • Lee, Wayne E. "Fortify, Fight, or Flee: Tuscarora and Cherokee Defensive Warfare and Military Culture Adaptation." Journal of Military History (2004) 68.3 pp: 713-770. in Project MUSE
  • Little, Ann. Abraham in Arms: War and Gender in Colonial New England (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007)
  • Martin, James Kirby, and Mark Edward Lender. A Respectable Army: The Military Origins of the Republic, 1763-1789 (John Wiley & Sons, 2015).
  • Martino-Trutor, Gina Michelle. "Her Extraordinary Sufferings and Services": Women and War in New England and New France, 1630-1763" PhD Dissertation, U of Minnesota, 2012. online
  • Peckham, Howard H. The Colonial Wars (1965), excerpt and text search
  • Rodger, N. A. M. The Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of Britain, 1649–1815 (2006)
  • Starkey, Armstrong. European and Native American Warfare 1675-1795 (Routledge, 2002)
  • Warren, Jason W. Connecticut Unscathed: Victory in the Great Narragansett War, 1675–1676 (U of Oklahoma Press, 2014).
  • Zelner, Kyle F. A Rabble in Arms: Massachusetts Towns and Militiamen during King Philip's War (New York: New York University Press, 2009) excerpt and text search

Historiography and memory

  • Blackburn, Marc K. Interpreting American Military History at Museums and Historic Sites (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016).
  • Carp, E. Wayne. "Early American Military History: A Review of Recent Work," Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 94 (1986) 259–84
  • Grenier, John. "Recent Trends in the Historiography on Warfare in the Colonial Period (1607–1765)." History Compass (2010) 8#4 pp: 358-367. DOI: 10.1111/j.1478-0542.2009.00657.x
Beaver Wars

The Beaver Wars, also known as the Iroquois Wars ' or the French and Iroquois Wars, encompass a series of conflicts fought intermittently during the 17th century in eastern North America.

During the 17th century, the Beaver Wars were battles for economic welfare throughout the St. Lawrence River valley in Canada and the lower Great Lakes region. The wars were between the Iroquois trying to take control of the fur trade from the Hurons, the northern Algonquians, and their French allies. From medieval times, Europeans had obtained furs from Russia and Scandinavia. American pelts began coming on the market during the 16th century—decades before the French, English, and Dutch established permanent settlements and trading posts on the continent—after Basque fishermen chasing cod off Newfoundland's Grand Banks bartered with local Indians for beaver robes to help fend off the numbing Atlantic chill. By virtue of their location, these tribes wielded considerable influence in European-Indian relations from the early seventeenth century onwards.

The Iroquois sought to expand their territory and monopolize the fur trade and the trade between European markets and the tribes of the lower Great Lakes region. They originally were a confederacy of five nations—Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca, inhabiting the lands in upstate New York along the shores of Lake Ontario east to Lake Champlain and Lake George on the Hudson river, and the lower-estuary of the St Lawrence river. The Iroquois Confederation, led by the dominant Mohawk, mobilized against the largely Algonquian-speaking tribes and Iroquoian speaking Huron and related tribes of the Great Lakes region. The Iroquois were armed by their Dutch and much later, English trading partners; the Algonquians and Hurons were backed by the French, their chief trading partner.

The wars were brutal and are considered one of the bloodiest series of conflicts in the history of North America. As the Iroquois destroyed several large tribal confederacies—including the Mahican, Huron, Neutral, Erie, Susquehannock and northern Algonquins. They became dominant in the region and enlarged their territory, realigning the tribal geography of North America. The Iroquois gained control of the New England frontier and Ohio River valley lands as hunting ground, from about 1670 onward.

Both Algonquian and Iroquoian societies were greatly disrupted by these wars. The conflict subsided with the loss by the Iroquois of their Dutch allies in the New Netherland (later lower New York State) colony after England took it over in 1664, with Fort Amsterdam and the town of New Amsterdam, renaming it New York, and with French objective of gaining the Iroquois as an ally against English encroachment. After the Iroquois became trading partners with the English, their alliance was a crucial component of the later English western and northern expansion leading to the French and Indian War (1754-1763). The English/British also used the Iroquois conquests as a claim to the later old Northwest Territory, of the United States, northwest of the Ohio River and around the Great Lakes.

Colonial history of the United States

The colonial history of the United States covers the history of European colonization of America from the early 16th century until the incorporation of the colonies into the United States of America. In the late 16th century, England, France, Spain, and the Netherlands launched major colonization programs in America. The death rate was very high among those who arrived first, and some early attempts disappeared altogether, such as the English Lost Colony of Roanoke. Nevertheless, successful colonies were established within several decades.

European settlers came from a variety of social and religious groups, including adventurers, farmers, indentured servants, tradesmen, and a few from the aristocracy. Settlers included the Dutch of New Netherland, the Swedes and Finns of New Sweden, the English Quakers of the Province of Pennsylvania, the English Puritans of New England, the English settlers of Jamestown, Virginia, the English Catholics and Protestant non-conformists of the Province of Maryland, the "worthy poor" of the Province of Georgia, the Germans who settled the mid-Atlantic colonies, and the Ulster Scots people of the Appalachian Mountains. These groups all became part of the United States when it gained its independence in 1776. Russian America and parts of New France and New Spain were also incorporated into the United States at various points. The diverse groups from these various regions built colonies of distinctive social, religious, political, and economic style.

Over time, non-British colonies East of the Mississippi River were taken over and most of the inhabitants were assimilated. In Nova Scotia, however, the British expelled the French Acadians, and many relocated to Louisiana. No civil wars occurred in the thirteen colonies. The two chief armed rebellions were short-lived failures in Virginia in 1676 and in New York in 1689–91. Some of the colonies developed legalized systems of slavery, centered largely around the Atlantic slave trade. Wars were recurrent between the French and the British during the French and Indian Wars. By 1760, France was defeated and its colonies were seized by Britain.

On the eastern seaboard, the four distinct English regions were New England, the Middle Colonies, the Chesapeake Bay Colonies (Upper South), and the Southern Colonies (Lower South). Some historians add a fifth region of the Frontier, which was never separately organized. A significant percentage of the Indians living in the eastern region had been ravaged by disease before 1620, possibly introduced to them decades before by explorers and sailors (although no conclusive cause has ever been established).

Dummer's War

The Dummer's War (1722–1725, also known as Father Rale's War, Lovewell's War, Greylock's War, the Three Years War, the 4th Anglo-Abenaki War, or the Wabanaki-New England War of 1722–1725), was a series of battles between New England and the Wabanaki Confederacy (specifically the Miꞌkmaq, Maliseet, and Abenaki) who were allied with New France. The eastern theater of the war was fought primarily along the border between New England and Acadia in Maine, as well as in Nova Scotia; the western theater was fought in northern Massachusetts and Vermont at the border between Canada (New France) and New England. (During this time, Massachusetts included Maine and Vermont.)

The root cause of the conflict on the Maine frontier concerned the border between Acadia and New England, which New France defined as the Kennebec River in southern Maine. Mainland Nova Scotia came under British control after the Siege of Port Royal in 1710 and the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 (not including Cape Breton Island), but present-day New Brunswick and Maine remained contested between New England and New France. New France established Catholic missions among the four largest Indian villages in the region: one on the Kennebec River (Norridgewock), one farther north on the Penobscot River (Penobscot Indian Island Reservation), one on the Saint John River (Meductic Indian Village / Fort Meductic), and one at Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia (Saint Anne's Mission). Similarly, New France established three forts along the border of New Brunswick during Father Le Loutre's War to protect it from a British attack from Nova Scotia.

The Treaty of Utrecht ended Queen Anne's War, but it had been signed in Europe and had not involved any member of the Wabanaki Confederacy. The Abenaki signed the 1713 Treaty of Portsmouth, but none had been consulted about British ownership of Nova Scotia, and the Mi'kmaq began to make raids against New England fishermen and settlements. The war began on two fronts as a result of the expansion of New England settlements along the coast of Maine and at Canso, Nova Scotia. The New Englanders were led primarily by Massachusetts Lt. Governor William Dummer, Nova Scotia Lt. Governor John Doucett, and Captain John Lovewell. The Wabanaki Confederacy and other Indian tribes were led primarily by Father Sébastien Rale, Chief Gray Lock, and Chief Paugus.

During the war, Father Rale was killed by the British at Norridgewock. The Indian population retreated from the Kennebec and Penobscot rivers to St. Francis and Becancour, Quebec, and New England took over much of the Maine territory. In New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the treaty that ended Father Rale's war marked a significant shift in European relations with the Mi'kmaq and Maliseet tribes.

Father Le Loutre's War

Father Le Loutre's War (1749–1755), also known as the Indian War, the Micmac War and the Anglo-Micmac War, took place between King George's War and the French and Indian War in Acadia and Nova Scotia. On one side of the conflict, the British and New England colonists were led by British Officer Charles Lawrence and New England Ranger John Gorham. On the other side, Father Jean-Louis Le Loutre led the Mi'kmaq and the Acadia militia in guerrilla warfare against settlers and British forces. (At the outbreak of the war there were an estimated 2500 Mi'kmaq and 12,000 Acadians in the region.)While the British captured Port Royal in 1710, the Mi'kmaq and Acadians continued to contain the British in settlements at Port Royal and Canso. The rest of the colony was in the control of the Catholic Mi'kmaq and Acadians. About forty years later, the British made a concerted effort to settle Protestants in the region and to establish military control over all of Nova Scotia and present-day New Brunswick, igniting armed response from Acadians in Father Le Loutre's War. The British settled 3,229 people in Halifax during the first years. This exceeded the number of Mi'kmaq in the entire region and was seen as a threat to the traditional occupiers of the land. The Mi'kmaq and some Acadians resisted the arrival of these Protestant settlers.

The war caused unprecedented upheaval in the area. Atlantic Canada witnessed more population movements, more fortification construction, and more troop allocations than ever before. Twenty-four conflicts were recorded during the war (battles, raids, skirmishes), 13 of which were Mi'kmaq and Acadian raids on the capital region Halifax/Dartmouth. As typical of frontier warfare, many additional conflicts were unrecorded.

During Father Le Loutre's War, the British attempted to establish firm control of the major Acadian settlements in peninsular Nova Scotia and to extend their control to the disputed territory of present-day New Brunswick. The British also wanted to establish Protestant communities in Nova Scotia. During the war, the Acadians and Mi'kmaq left Nova Scotia for the French colonies of Ile St. Jean (Prince Edward Island) and Ile Royale (Cape Breton Island). The French also tried to maintain control of the disputed territory of present-day New Brunswick. (Father Le Loutre tried to prevent the New Englanders from moving into present-day New Brunswick just as a generation earlier, during Father Rale's War, Rale had tried to prevent New Englanders from taking over present-day Maine.) Throughout the war, the Mi’kmaq and Acadians attacked the British forts in Nova Scotia and the newly established Protestant settlements. They wanted to retard British settlement and buy time for France to implement its Acadian resettlement scheme.The war began with the British unilaterally establishing Halifax, which the Mi'kmaq believed was a violation of an earlier treaty (1726), signed after Father Rale's War. In response, the Acadians and Mi'kmaq orchestrated attacks at Chignecto, Grand Pré, Dartmouth, Canso, Halifax and Country Harbour. The French erected forts at present-day Fort Menagoueche, Fort Beauséjour and Fort Gaspareaux. The British responded by attacking the Mi'kmaq and Acadians at Mirligueche (later known as Lunenburg), Chignecto and St. Croix. The British unilaterally established communities in Lunenburg and Lawrencetown. Finally, the British erected forts in Acadian communities located at Windsor, Grand Pre and Chignecto. The war ended after six years with the defeat of the Mi'kmaq, Acadians and French in the Battle of Fort Beausejour.

Fort Dobbs (North Carolina)

Fort Dobbs was an 18th-century fort in the Yadkin–Pee Dee River Basin region of the Province of North Carolina, near what is now Statesville in Iredell County. Used for frontier defense during and after the French and Indian War, the fort was built to protect the British settlers of the western portion of what was then Rowan County, and served as a vital outpost for soldiers, traders, and colonial officials. Fort Dobbs' primary structure was a blockhouse with log walls, surrounded by a palisade and moat. It was intended to provide protection against Cherokee, Catawba, Shawnee, Delaware and French raids into North Carolina.

The fort's name honored Arthur Dobbs, the colonial Governor of North Carolina from 1754 to 1765, who played a role in designing the fort and authorized its construction. When in use, it was the only fort on the frontier between South Carolina and Virginia. Between 1756 and 1760, the blockhouse was garrisoned by a variable number of soldiers, many of whom were sent to fight in Pennsylvania and the Ohio River Valley during the French and Indian War. On February 27, 1760, the fort was the site of an engagement between Cherokee warriors and provincial soldiers that ended in a victory for the provincials. After this battle and other attacks by Cherokee warriors on British forts and settlements in the Anglo-Cherokee War, the southern British colonies launched a devastating counterattack against the Cherokee in 1760.

Fort Dobbs was abandoned after 1766, and disappeared from the landscape. Archaeological work in the 20th century and historical research in 2005 and 2006 led to the discovery of the fort's exact location and probable appearance. The site on which the fort sat is now operated by North Carolina's Division of State Historic Sites and Properties as Fort Dobbs State Historic Site, and supporters of the site have developed plans for the fort's reconstruction.

French and Indian War

The French and Indian War (1754–1763) pitted the colonies of British America against those of New France, each side supported by military units from the parent country and by American Indian allies. At the start of the war, the French colonies had a population of roughly 60,000 settlers, compared with 2 million in the British colonies. The outnumbered French particularly depended on the Indians.

The European nations declared a wider war upon one another overseas in 1756, two years into the French and Indian war, and some view the French and Indian War as being merely the American theater of the worldwide Seven Years' War of 1756–63; however, the French and Indian War is viewed in the United States as a singular conflict which was not associated with any European war. The name French and Indian War is used mainly in the United States, referring to the two enemies of the British colonists, while European historians use the term Seven Years' War, as do English-speaking Canadians. French Canadians call it Guerre de la Conquête ("War of the Conquest") or (rarely) the Fourth Intercolonial War.

The British colonists were supported at various times by the Iroquois, Catawba, and Cherokee tribes, and the French colonists were supported by Wabanaki Confederacy member tribes Abenaki and Mi'kmaq, and the Algonquin, Lenape, Ojibwa, Ottawa, Shawnee, and Wyandot tribes. Fighting took place primarily along the frontiers between New France and the British colonies, from the Province of Virginia in the south to Newfoundland in the north. It began with a dispute over control of the confluence of the Allegheny River and Monongahela River called the Forks of the Ohio, and the site of the French Fort Duquesne in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The dispute erupted into violence in the Battle of Jumonville Glen in May 1754, during which Virginia militiamen under the command of 22-year-old George Washington ambushed a French patrol.

In 1755, six colonial governors met with General Edward Braddock, the newly arrived British Army commander, and planned a four-way attack on the French. None succeeded, and the main effort by Braddock proved a disaster; he lost the Battle of the Monongahela on July 9, 1755 and died a few days later. British operations failed in the frontier areas of the Province of Pennsylvania and the Province of New York during 1755–57 due to a combination of poor management, internal divisions, effective Canadian scouts, French regular forces, and Indian warrior allies. In 1755, the British captured Fort Beauséjour on the border separating Nova Scotia from Acadia, and they ordered the expulsion of the Acadians (1755–64) soon afterwards. Orders for the deportation were given by Commander-in-Chief William Shirley without direction from Great Britain. The Acadians were expelled, both those captured in arms and those who had sworn the loyalty oath to the King. Indians likewise were driven off the land to make way for settlers from New England.The British colonial government fell in the region of Nova Scotia after several disastrous campaigns in 1757, including a failed expedition against Louisbourg and the Siege of Fort William Henry; this last was followed by Indians torturing and massacring their colonial victims. William Pitt came to power and significantly increased British military resources in the colonies at a time when France was unwilling to risk large convoys to aid the limited forces that they had in New France, preferring to concentrate their forces against Prussia and its allies who were now engaged in the Seven Years' War in Europe. Between 1758 and 1760, the British military launched a campaign to capture French Canada. They succeeded in capturing territory in surrounding colonies and ultimately the city of Quebec (1759). The British later lost the Battle of Sainte-Foy west of Quebec (1760), but the French ceded Canada in accordance with the Treaty of Paris (1763).

France also ceded its territory east of the Mississippi to Great Britain, as well as French Louisiana west of the Mississippi River to its ally Spain in compensation for Spain's loss to Britain of Spanish Florida. (Spain had ceded Florida to Britain in exchange for the return of Havana, Cuba.) France's colonial presence north of the Caribbean was reduced to the islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, confirming Great Britain's position as the dominant colonial power in America.

French and Indian Wars

The French and Indian Wars is a name used in the United States for a series of conflicts that occurred in America between 1688 and 1763, some of which indirectly were related to the European dynastic wars. The title French and Indian War in the singular is used in the United States specifically for the warfare of 1754–63. The French and Indian Wars were preceded by the Beaver Wars.

In Quebec, the various wars are generally referred to as the War of the Conquest. Some conflicts involved Spanish and Dutch forces, but all pitted the Kingdom of Great Britain, its colonies, and their Indian allies on one side against France, its colonies, and its Indian allies on the other. A major cause of the wars was the desire of each country to take control of the interior territories of America, as well as the region around Hudson Bay; both were deemed essential to domination of the fur trade.

King George's War

King George's War (1744–1748) is the name given to the military operations in North America that formed part of the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–1748). It was the third of the four French and Indian Wars. It took place primarily in the British provinces of New York, Massachusetts Bay (which included Maine as well as Massachusetts at the time), New Hampshire (which included Vermont at the time), and Nova Scotia. Its most significant action was an expedition organized by Massachusetts Governor William Shirley that besieged and ultimately captured the French fortress of Louisbourg, on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, in 1745. In French, it is known as the Troisième Guerre Intercoloniale or Third Intercolonial War.The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle ended the war in 1748 and restored Louisbourg to France, but failed to resolve any outstanding territorial issues.

King Philip's War

King Philip's War (sometimes called the First Indian War, Metacom's War, Metacomet's War, Pometacomet's Rebellion, or Metacom's Rebellion) was an armed conflict in 1675–78 between Indian inhabitants of New England and New England colonists and their Indian allies. The war is named for Metacomet, the Wampanoag chief who adopted the name Philip because of the friendly relations between his father Massasoit and the Mayflower Pilgrims. The war continued in the most northern reaches of New England until the signing of the Treaty of Casco Bay in April 1678.Massasoit had maintained a long-standing alliance with the colonists. Metacom (c. 1638–1676) was his younger son, and he became tribal chief in 1662 after Massasoit's death. Metacom, however, did not maintain his father's alliance between the Wampanoags and the colonists. The colonists insisted that the peace agreement in 1671 should include the surrender of Indian guns; then three Wampanoags were hanged for murder in Plymouth Colony in 1675 which increased the tensions. Colonial militia and Indian raiding parties spread over Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Maine over the next six months. The Narragansetts remained neutral, but several individual Narragansetts participated in raids of colonial strongholds and militia, so colonial leaders deemed the Narragansetts to be in violation of peace treaties. They assembled the largest colonial army that New England had yet mustered, consisting of 1,000 militia and 150 Indian allies, and Governor Josiah Winslow marshaled them to attack the Narragansetts in November 1675. They attacked and burned Indian villages throughout Rhode Island territory, culminating with the attack on the Narragansetts' main fort called the Great Swamp Fight. An estimated 150 Narragansetts were killed, many of them women and children, and the Indian coalition was then taken over by Narragansett sachem Canonchet. They pushed back the colonial frontier in Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, and Rhode Island colonies, burning towns as they went, including Providence in March 1676. However, the colonial militia overwhelmed the Indian coalition and, by the end of the war, the Wampanoags and their Narragansett allies were almost completely destroyed. Metacom fled to Mount Hope where he was finally killed by the militia.

The war was the greatest calamity to occur in seventeenth-century New England and is considered by many to be the deadliest war in the history of American colonization. In the space of little more than a year, 12 of the region's towns were destroyed and many more were damaged, the economy of Plymouth and Rhode Island Colonies was all but ruined and their population was decimated, losing one-tenth of all men available for military service. More than half of New England's towns were attacked by Indians.King Philip's War began the development of an independent American identity. The New England colonists faced their enemies without support from any outside government or military, and this gave them a group identity separate and distinct from Britain.

King William's War

King William's War (1688–1697, also known as the Second Indian War, Father Baudoin's War, Castin's War, or the First Intercolonial War in French) was the North American theater of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), also known as the War of the Grand Alliance or the War of the League of Augsburg. It was the first of six colonial wars (see the four French and Indian Wars, Father Rale's War and Father Le Loutre's War) fought between New France and New England along with their respective Native allies before France ceded its remaining mainland territories in North America east of the Mississippi River in 1763.

For King William's War, neither England nor France thought of weakening their position in Europe to support the war effort in North America. New France and the Wabanaki Confederacy were able to thwart New England expansion into Acadia, whose border New France defined as the Kennebec River in southern Maine. According to the terms of the 1697 Treaty of Ryswick that ended the Nine Years' War, the boundaries and outposts of New France, New England, and New York remained substantially unchanged.

The war was largely caused by the fact that the treaties and agreements that were reached at the end of King Philip's War (1675–1678) were not adhered to. In addition, the English were alarmed that the Indians were receiving French or maybe Dutch aid. The Indians preyed on the English and their fears, by making it look as though they were with the French. The French were played as well, as they thought the Indians were working with the English. These occurrences, in addition to the fact that the English perceived the Indians as their subjects, despite the Indians' unwillingness to submit, eventually led to two conflicts, one of which was King William's War.

Lawrence Washington (1718–1752)

Lawrence Washington (1718–1752) was an American soldier, planter, politician, and prominent landowner in colonial Virginia. As a founding member of the Ohio Company of Virginia, and a member of the colonial legislature representing Fairfax County, he also founded the town of Alexandria, Virginia on the banks of the Potomac River in 1749.

Washington was the older and beloved half-brother of George Washington, the future President of the United States. He was the first of the family to live in the Mount Vernon estate, which he named after his commanding officer in the War of Jenkins' Ear, Admiral Edward Vernon. Washington became ill with tuberculosis. He and George travelled to Barbados, hoping that the warm climate would alleviate his ill health. This failed, and Lawrence died at Mount Vernon the following year.

Militia (United States)

The militia of the United States, as defined by the U.S. Congress, has changed over time.During colonial America, all able-bodied men of certain ages were members of the militia, depending on the respective states rule. Individual towns formed local independent militias for their own defense. The year before the US Constitution was ratified, The Federalist Papers detailed the founders' paramount vision of the militia in 1787. The new Constitution empowered Congress to "organize, arm, and discipline" this national military force, leaving significant control in the hands of each state government.Today, as defined by the Militia Act of 1903, the term "militia" is used to describe two classes within the United States:

Organized militia – consisting of State militia forces; notably, the National Guard and Naval Militia. (Note: the National Guard is not to be confused with the National Guard of the United States.)

Unorganized militia – composing the Reserve Militia: every able-bodied man of at least 17 and under 45 years of age, not a member of the National Guard or Naval Militia.A third militia is a state defense force. It is authorized by state and federal laws.

Pontiac's War

Pontiac's War (also known as Pontiac's Conspiracy or Pontiac's Rebellion) was launched in 1763 by a loose confederation of elements of Native American tribes, primarily from the Great Lakes region, the Illinois Country, and Ohio Country who were dissatisfied with British postwar policies in the Great Lakes region after the British victory in the French and Indian War (1754–1763). Warriors from numerous tribes joined the uprising in an effort to drive British soldiers and settlers out of the region. The war is named after the Odawa leader Pontiac, the most prominent of many native leaders in the conflict.

The war began in May 1763 when Native Americans, offended by the policies of British General Jeffrey Amherst, attacked a number of British forts and settlements. Eight forts were destroyed, and hundreds of colonists were killed or captured, with many more fleeing the region. Hostilities came to an end after British Army expeditions in 1764 led to peace negotiations over the next two years. Native Americans were unable to drive away the British, but the uprising prompted the British government to modify the policies that had provoked the conflict.

Warfare on the North American frontier was brutal, and the killing of prisoners, the targeting of civilians, and other atrocities were widespread. The ruthlessness and treachery of the conflict was a reflection of a growing divide between the separate populations of the British colonists and Native Americans. Contrary to popular belief, the British government did not issue the Royal Proclamation of 1763 in reaction to Pontiac's War, though the conflict did provide an impetus for the application of the Proclamation's Indian clauses. This proved unpopular with British colonists, and may have been one of the early contributing factors to the American Revolution.

Raid on Chester, Nova Scotia

The Raid on Chester occurred during the American Revolution when the US privateer, Captain Noah Stoddard of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, and four other privateer vessels attacked the British settlement at Chester, Nova Scotia on 30 June 1782. The town was defended by Captain Jonathan Prescott and Captain Jacob Millett.

Raid on Lunenburg, Nova Scotia (1782)

The Raid on Lunenburg (also known as the Sack of Lunenburg) occurred during the American Revolution when the US privateer, Captain Noah Stoddard of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, and four other privateer vessels attacked the British settlement at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia on 1 July 1782. The raid was the last major privateer attack on a Nova Scotia community during the war.

Lunenburg was defended by militia leaders Colonel John Creighton and Major Dettlieb Christopher Jessen. In Nova Scotia, the assault on Lunenburg was the most spectacular raid of the war. On the morning of 1 July Stoddard led approximately 170 US privateers in four heavily armed vessels and overpowered Lunenburg’s defence, capturing the blockhouses and burning Creighton's home and filling Jessen's house with bullets holes. The privateers then looted the settlement and kept the militia at bay with the threat of destroying the entire town. The American privateers plundered the town and took three prisoners, including Creighton, who were later released from Boston without a ransom having been paid.

Thirteen Colonies

The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America founded in the 17th and 18th centuries. They declared independence in 1776 and formed the United States of America. The Thirteen Colonies had very similar political, constitutional, and legal systems and were dominated by Protestant English-speakers. They were part of Britain's possessions in the New World, which also included colonies in Canada, the Caribbean, and the Floridas.

Between 1625 and 1775, the colonial population grew from roughly 2,000 to 2.4 million, displacing American Indians. This population included people subject to a system of slavery, which was legal in all of the colonies prior to the American Revolutionary War. In the 18th century, the British government operated its colonies under a policy of mercantilism, in which the central government administered its possessions for the economic benefit of the mother country.

The Thirteen Colonies had a high degree of self-governance and active local elections, and they resisted London's demands for more control. The French and Indian War (1754–63) against France and its Indian allies led to growing tensions between Britain and the Thirteen Colonies. In the 1750s, the colonies began collaborating with one another instead of dealing directly with Britain. These inter-colonial activities cultivated a sense of shared American identity and led to calls for protection of the colonists' "Rights as Englishmen", especially the principle of "no taxation without representation". Grievances with the British government led to the American Revolution, in which the colonies collaborated in forming the Continental Congress. The colonists fought the American Revolutionary War (1775–83) with the aid of France and, to a significantly smaller degree, the Dutch Republic and Spain.

United States Army Rangers

The United States Army Rangers are designated U.S. Army Ranger units, past or present, or are graduates of the U.S. Army Ranger School. The term ranger has been in use unofficially in a military context since the early 17th century. The first military company officially commissioned as rangers were English soldiers fighting in King Philip's War (1676) and from there the term came into common official use in the French and Indian Wars. There have been American military companies officially called Rangers since the American Revolution.

The 75th Ranger Regiment is an elite airborne light infantry combat formation within the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC). The six battalions of the modern Rangers have been deployed in wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and saw action in several conflicts, such as those in Panama and Grenada. The Ranger Regiment traces its lineage to three of six battalions raised in World War II, and to the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional)—known as "Merrill's Marauders", and then reflagged as the 475th Infantry, then later as the 75th Infantry.

The Ranger Training Brigade (RTB)—headquartered at Fort Benning—is an organization under the U.S. Army's Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) and is separate from the 75th Ranger Regiment. It has been in service in various forms since World War II. The Ranger Training Brigade administrates Ranger School, the satisfactory completion of which is required to become Ranger qualified and to wear the Ranger Tab.

Washington–Rochambeau Revolutionary Route

The Washington–Rochambeau Revolutionary Route (W3R) is a 680-mile-long (1,090 km) series of roads used by the Continental Army under the command of George Washington and the Expédition Particulière under the command of Jean-Baptiste de Rochambeau during their 1781 march from Newport, Rhode Island to Yorktown, Virginia. The route is a designated National Historic Trail (2009) with interpretive literature, signs, and exhibits that describe the key role of French diplomatic, military, and economic aid to the United States during the American Revolutionary War.

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