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The Royal American Regiment: Glengarry County’s Other Military Founder

Sandy (Alexander) Campbell

Sandy (Alexander) Campbell

Alexander (Sandy) Campbell captivated the GHS membership with his enthusiastic dissertation.  He discussed the significant role played by the Royal American Regiment in North American history and the history of Glengarry. The Swiss founder of the Regiment, James Prevost, in 1755 persuaded the British powers of the need to defend the settlers of the regions of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland, many of whom were German speaking, with a force of 1800 that would involve fifty German speaking officers. In a bureaucratic compromise the target actually became 4000 and within three years 3,858 men were serving in the Regiment.

Prevost brought 778 veterans into the group and was further aided by his brother Augustine who raised men from throughout the colonies. Of interest is the fact that in 1757 36% of the Regiment were foreign Protestants, while the remainder were English (24%), Irish (24%), American (10%), and Scot (6%). Officers, however, were predominantly Scot (38%)

Alexander Campbell and David Anderson

Alexander Campbell and David Anderson

The soldiers did more than just fighting. They built Fort Edward, Ontario, Ligonier, Pitt, Presque Ilse, and Erie. They cared for livestock, gardens and orchards. And so learned all the crucial survival skills which became very useful when they eventually settled on land grants as benefactors of “ the King’s Bounty”. These Regiment veterans often settled in bands together for mutual assistance, many in the areas such as Albany and Charlotte in New York which became “hotbeds” for loyalists. Michael Grass, for example, led many refugees from New York to Kingston in 1784. Frederick Haldimand, the Governor of Quebec (1778 – 1786) purposely placed Highland Scots closest to Montreal because of their political reliability. The Royal American Regiment with officers such as George Prevost and Charles de Salaberry defended Canada during the 1812 war. Sandy makes the point that the Regiment did much to both settle and protect the eastern part of Upper Canada.

                Adapted from the notes of R. Bleile

Regimental Colours of the 60th (Royal American) Regiment of Foot - Right, Kings Colour, Left, Regimental Colour

Regimental Colours of the 60th (Royal American) Regiment of Foot – Right, Kings Colour, Left, Regimental Colour 

Available at David Anderson Books, Williamstown, Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, etc.

Available at David Anderson Books, Williamstown, Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, etc.