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Cowboys and Skinners


COWBOYS AND SKINNERS, bands of guerrillas and irregular cavalry who operated chiefly in the "Neutral Ground" of Westchester County, New York, during the American Revolution. The "Cowboys" were the Westchester Light Horse Battalion, a Loyalist provincial corps of the British army, commanded by Col. James de Lancey. The battalion was an irregular unit of the British army from 1777 until the end of the war, taking part in some of the principal battles.

The "Skinners," named after Gen. Cortland Skinner's Brigade of New Jersey Volunteers, had no regular organization and did not consistently serve either the Americans or the British. They Attacked and robbed local civilians from 1778 to 1783 and sold their plunder to both sides. They Were also sometimes employed By the British or Americans as scouts and spies.


Kim, Sung Bok. "The Limits of Politicization in the American Revolution: The Experience of Westchester County, New York," Journal of American History 80 (December 1993): 868–889.

E. IrvineHaines/t. d.

See alsoLoyalists ; Revolution, American: Military History .

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