Cowboys and Skinners

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Cowboys and Skinners

COWBOYS AND SKINNERS. The names "cowboys" and "skinners" were applied to marauders operating in the Neutral Ground around New York City from 1776 until the end of the war. Although the names were loosely applied to all lawless bands and individuals, including those of no political affiliation, the cowboys were generally considered to be Loyalists and the skinners rebels. The cowboys' main occupation was stealing cattle and selling them to the British garrison in New York City. The skinners tried to stop the cowboys. Both groups also provided intelligence information about the activities of the other side.

SEE ALSO Neutral Ground of New York.


Crary, Catherine S. "Guerrilla Activities of James De Lancey's Cowboys in Westchester County: Conventional Warfare or Self-Interested Freebooting?" In The Loyalist Americans: A Focus on Greater New York. Edited by Robert A. East and Jacob Judd. Tarrytown, N.Y.: Sleepy Hollow Restorations, 1975.

Lossing, Benson J. The Pictorial Field Book of the Revolution. 2 vols. 1851. Reprint, Rutland, Vt.: C. E. Tuttle Co., 1972.

Ward, Harry M. Between the Lines: Banditti of the American Revolution. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2002.

                        revised by Harold E. Selesky