The Loyal American Regiment
This corps was raised almost entirely by the efforts of Colonel Beverley Robinson, a wealthy citizen of Duchess County on the Hudson river. Its officers and men were nearly all natives of the Province of New York. A few months after its orgnization the regiment took part in the expedition of Sir Henry Clinton against Forts Clinton and Montgomery. The loyal Americans, though little more than raw recruits, formed a part of the column that stormed and captured Fort Montgomery. After their return to New York they formed part of the garrison there.
They took part in the campaign in Pennsylvania and assisted in the capture of Stoney Point on the Hudson River May 30th, 1779. Afterwards they were engaged in the campaign in the south under Lord Cornwallis. They suffered very heavily at the disastrous battle of King's Mountain where a band of the loyalist troops, out numbered by their enemies and surrounded on all sides, were obliged to surrender.
Col. Robinson had, as his Lieutenant Colonel, his son Beverly Robinson and others of his sons were officers in the kings service in one or other of the provincial corps. Thomas Barclay was major and Rev. John Beardsley rector of Poughkeepsie on the Hudson was chaplain. At the close of the war part of the Loyal American Regiment went to Nova Scotia and the remainder settled on the St. John river.
Col. Beverley Robinson died in England. His son, Lieut Col. Robinson at the peace went with other loyalists to Shelburne but afterwards removed to New Brunswick and settled at Nashwaaksis in the parish of Douglas where his descendants still reside. Many of the officers and men of this corps who settled in the province made their influence felt in their respective communities. Rev. John Beardsley was rector of Maugerville. He was the ancestor of the Beardsleys of Woodstock. Dr. Peter Huggeford, a surgeon of the corps, was in early days a leading physician at St. John. Captain Christopher Hatch was a magistrate and colonel of militia at St. Andrews where he died in 1819 aged 75 years. Capt. Lemuel Wilmot, grandfather of the late Lieutenant Governor L. A. Wilmot, settled near Fredericton. Lieut. Anthony Allaire settled at Douglas, York County, where he died in 1839 aged 84 years; his diary which he kept during the southern campaign has been lately published by Dr. Lyman Draper in his book on "King's Mountain and its heroes."
Lieut. John Ward was a prominent St. John merchant an active and useful citizen; he was interested in steamboating, and one of the first boats that ran between Fredericton and Woodstock was named after him; he died in St. John in 1846 in his 93rd year, the oldest hal pay officer in New Brunswick. Captain William Baillie died near Fredericton in 1832 aged 97 years. The great age attained by many of these half pay officers is very remarkable.
The New Jersey Volunteers
This corps, sometimes termed "Skinner's Greens" was enrolled by Brigadier General Cortlandt Skinner, the last royal attorney general of New Jersey. The corps comprised three battalions which were afterwars increased to four. The officers and men were natives of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Numerically, the New Jersey volunteers was the strongest of all the loyalist regiments and it gave a good account of itself during the war.
On the 22nd August 1777 the corps was attacked on Staten Island by a large party of Americans. The 1st and 2nd battalions under Lieut Colonels Lawrence and Barton were surprised and roughly handled, but the gallant conduct of the third and fourth battalions under Lieut Col. Isaac Allen and Lieut Col. Van Buskirk retrieved the day; the Americans were beaten off with severe loss and a large number made prisoners. Lt. Col. Allen and the third battalion shared in the occupation of Philadelphia in the early part of the year 1778.
About this time, various excursions were made by the men of the New jersey volunteers into the surrounding country in the course of which they came to be cordially hated by their old neighbors. They were termed "Skinner's Cowboys" and their marauding proclivities did not win much admiration from those who had suffered at their hands. The story of the adventures of Lieut James Moody of this corps, lately reprinted in the St. John Telegraph, possesses all the fascination of a romance.
In November 1778 a part of the corps including Col. Isaac Allen's battalion was sent to the southern provinces and took part in the capture of Savannah in Georgia and also in the gallant and successful defence of that city against the combined French and American forces. They also took an active part in the great battle of Eutaw Springs. Their gallant conduct in the memorable defence of Fort "ninety six" will be more fully detailed when we come to speak of de Lancey's battalions.
At the close of the war the New Jersey volunteers came to New Brunswick and were assigned lands in what is now the parish of Kingsclear. Many of the members of the corps were well known public characters in the early days of the province. Rev. Dr. Charles Inglis, chaplain of the 1st battalion was the first bishop of Nova Scotia. Lieut Col. Isaac Allen setled at Kingsclear and became a judge of the supreme court of which his grandson Sir John C. Allen is now chief justice. Lieut John Jenkins, who also settled at Kingsclear, was the father of Capt. John Jenkins who so greatly distinguished himself at the battle of Ogdensburgh in the war of 1812; three daughters of Lientenant John Jenkins married respectively Crannell Beardsley, Frederick B. Dibblee and Richard Smith, of Woodstock, and are buried within a short distance of each other in the old parish churchyard. Lieut Col. Dibblee of the Woodstock field battery is a great grandson of Lieut John Jenkins.
Others of the New Jersey volunteers were Captain Joseph Lee who settled at Kingsclear and died at Fredericton in 1812 at the age of 74 years; Lieut Isaac Hedden who was clerk of the House of Assembly and clerk of the peace for the County of York; Dr. Charles Earle surgeon of the 2nd battalion who settled at Fredericton where he was for years a leading physician, and Ensign Xenopon Jouett who lived near Fredericton, was for twenty years sheriff of York County, and for nearly fifty years usher of the black rod in the House of Assembly.
Three other officers of this corps should be mentioned viz Lieut William Turner who had command of the military post at Presquisle established during the war with Bonaparte (1793 to 1802) and garrisoned by a detachment of the Kings New Brunswick Regiment in which he held a commission. He became a leading man of that section of the country and was an active parish magistrate. We shall have more to say of him hereafter. Lieut John Simonson of the 4th battalion was a native of Richmond County New York; he settled at Maugerville where he was for a time S.P.G. school master; he served afterwards in the Kings New Brunswick Regiment; his descendants are highly respected residents of Jacksonville, Carleton County. Capt. Joseph Cunliffe lived at first near the mouth of the Nackawick where he had a grant of 700 acres but later on removed to Woodstock where he and his sons at one time owned the property on which the upper part of the town of Woodstock is built.
The Prince of Wales American Regiment
This corps was enlisted in January 1777 and under its gallant commander Col Montford Browne rendered good service in the southern campaign, particularly at the battle of Hanging Rock, South Carolina, where they materially assisted in the defeat of Col. Sumpter. At the close of the revolution the corps received a grant of land on the east side of the St. John river below the mouth of the Keswick including some of the islands.
Among those of the corps well known in our provincial history may be mentioned Lieut Col. Gabriel DeVeber of New york who was sheriff of Sunbury County and an active and useful member of society; Lieut Monson Hoyt who was actively employed in the laying out and settlement of Fredericton and afterwards engaged in business with general Benedict Arnold at St. John; Capt. Daniel Lyman who was one of the first members for York County in the House of Assembly; Lieutenants James and Eccles and John Ness who served in the Kings New Brunswick Regiment and were respected and useful citizens in private life.
This corps was organized by Colonel William Allen, son of Chief Justice Allen of Philadelphia, early in the year 1778. Its most important service was rendered in the southern campaigns. It took part in the gallant defence of Pensacola against the Spaniards in May, 1781. Those of the regiment who came to New Brunswick settled at various places. The most prominent members of the corps as regards the place taken by them in our local history were Lieutenant and Adjutant Ross Currie, who settled at Fredericton and was a leading barrister there, and the Rev. Jonathan Odell, chaplain of the corps. The latter retired from the active duties of the ministry and was appointed provincial secretary, holding the position till 1812, when he was succeeded by his son the Hon. Wm. F. Odell, the father and son together retaining the office for sixty years.
This corps was enrolled in 1777, chiefly through the exertions of its commander Lieut. Colonel James Chalmers of Maryland. It was sent to West Florida in November, 1778, and formed part of the garrison that defeated Pensacola against the Spaniards. During the siege the regiment behaved gallantly and lost a great many men.
In September, 1784, the corps came to New Brunswick in company with a detachment of the 3rd battalion of deLancey's brigade in the transport ship Martha. The vessel was unhappily wrecked near Sable Island, Nova Scotia, and more than half of those on board perished. Lieut. James Henley, Lieut. Walter Sterling and Dr. William Stafford got upon a piece of the wreck and floated at sea two days and nights nearly waist deep in water, during which time Sterling perished through cold and exhaustion. On the third day the survivors drifted on an island where they remained seven days poorly clad without fire or food. The others who escaped were taken from rafts by fishing vessels and landed near Yarmouth.
Those of the Maryland loyalists that survived the perils of the sea settled on the Nashwalk a few miles above its mouth and on the Penniac also along the main river from the mouth of the Nashwalk to the Sunbury county line. Lieut. James Henley, adjutant of the corps was an active and useful magistrate of York county. He served in the King's New Brunswick regiment during the war with France in 1793. He died at his home on the Nashwalk in the year 1809. Captain Jonathan Sterling lived on the Nashwalk for many years and died in 1826, aged 76 years, leaving many descendants many of whom reside at Maugerville. The Rev. Geo. H. Sterling, Rev. W. S. Covert and the late John S. Covert are among descendants.
The American Legion
This was a mounted corps of which the celebrated Benedict Arnold was commander. It was organized about the year 1780. Arnold, whatever may be said of him as a man, was a dashing and brilliant officer and perfectly fearless in action. The American Legion accompanied him in his raid on Virginia and did good service. It was also with him in his expedition into Connecticut, in September, 1781, in which two forts were stormed and dismantled and the town of New London plundered and burned.
After the close of the war General Arnold and his sons Henry and Richard who were lieutenants in the legion came to New Brunswick. Arnold lived one time at Rose Hall, Fredericton, and afterwards in St. John; he eventually retired to England. Among those of the American Legion who settled in New Brunswick were Captain Nathan Frink, a dashing officer, who was aide de camp to Arnold. He lived first at St. John, removing afterwards to St. Andrews. He died at St. Stephen in 1817, aged 60 years. Lieut. Andrew Phair, adjutant of the corps, settled at Fredericton where he was post master for many years. Lieut. George Bull, a sturdy loyalist of Ulster county, New York, settled at Woodstock where he died in 1838, at the age of 86 years. His descendants are numerous and we shall have something further to say of him by and by.
Royal Guides and Pioneers
This corps was apparently attached to the Loyal American Regiment, under its commander Col. Beverley Robinson, with Major John Aldington second in command. It was a very useful corps and saw considerable service in the war. At the peace the Guides and Pioneers received two grants of land on the river St. John, one above the Keswick and the other opposite the Coack islands.
The following translation, which is preserved in the old Sunbury county records, shows that many of the soldiers of the provincial corps did not set a very high value upon their real estate: "William Rusiers of Major John Aldington's corps of Pioneers, hereby sells for the sum of 10 pounds to Ensign Jonathan Brown of the same corps his claim to 100 acres in Block No. 3 east side of the river St. John, and acknowledges himself satisfied."
King's American Dragoons
This was a cavalry corps commanded by the celebrated Sir Benjamin Thompson, who is better known in later years as Count Rumford. The corps was organized in 1781 under the patronage of Prince William afterwards King William IV., and being the last loyalist regiment enrolled in the king's service had little opportunity to distinguish itself. It was present, however, in the Carolines during the closing scenes of the revolution. At the close of the war it was one of the earliest corps to arrive in New Brunswick, a circumstance which may perhaps be attributed to the forethought of Sir Benjamin Thompson, who possessed great influence with Lord Germaine and became his private secretary.
The grant to the King's American Dragoons extended from Long's Creek twenty miles above Fredericton to the "Barony" at the mouth of the Poquioc. The parish of Prince William derives its name from the royal patron of the corps. Among the members of the corps afterwards noted in local history were Major Joshua Upham, afterwards judge of the supreme court, who settled in Kings county; Major Daniel Murray, one of the first members for York county in the house of assembly; Dr. Adino Paddock, a very leading physician of St. John; Captain John Davidson of Dumfries, York county, a very active magistrate and useful member of society; Lieut. Simeon Jones whose descendants in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are influential and well to do, and others that might be named.
W. O. Raymond