King's Royal Regiment of New York

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King's Royal Regiment of New York

KING'S ROYAL REGIMENT OF NEW YORK. Sir John Johnson, the son of Sir William Johnson, inherited some of his father's position and responsibilities in the Mohawk Valley and with the Iroquois in 1774. Able to fend off the rebels for over a year after the start of hostilities, he was forced to flee his home with two hundred followers on 20 May 1776. On 19 June, Major General Guy Carleton, the governor of Quebec, gave Johnson authority to raise two Provincial battalions. He immediately began recruiting at Chambly, Quebec, principally from among his followers and other refugees for a unit that would be known officially as the King's Royal Regiment of New York, and unofficially as Sir John Johnson's Corps, the King's Royal Yorkers, and from the color of their uniforms, the Royal Greens. The Royal Yorkers sent 133 men with Colonel Barry St. Leger's expedition through the Mohawk Valley in 1777. (Another company was with John Burgoyne's invasion forces in the Lake Champlain Valley.) Fifty-five men of the Royal Yorkers' light company formed the blocking force at the ambush at Oriskany (6 August 1777), and a further seventy men marched from the siege lines around Fort Stanwix later that afternoon, reversing their green coats to confuse the Americans militiamen and gain a momentary advantage.

Over the next four years, the Royal Yorkers spent much of their time and effort in preparing to defend Canada against another rebel invasion. Although their leaders were hostile to each other, the Royal Yorkers also participated with Butler's Rangers in the raids launched from Fort Niagara against the New York frontier. But because few in Canada quickly recognized that Major General John Sullivan's expedition posed a major threat, the Royal Yorkers arrived too late to contest the ravaging of Iroquois lands in August and September 1779. They took part (with Butler's Rangers) in Sir John Johnson's first raid into the Mohawk Valley in the autumn of 1780, fighting at Klock's Field on 19 October. Four companies were with Walter Butler when he raided the Mohawk Valley in 1781, and they took part in the final action, at Jerseyfield on 30 October 1781, when Walter Butler was killed. Hostilities came to an end in the Mohawk Valley in the summer of 1782. The First Battalion was disbanded on 24 December 1783, the Second in June 1784; many veterans settled with their families in the western part of Quebec province.

SEE ALSO Border Warfare in New York; Butler's Rangers; Jerseyfield, New York; Johnson, Sir William; Klock's Field, New York; Oriskany, New York; St. Leger's Expedition; Wyoming Valley Massacre, Pennsylvania.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Cruikshank, Ernest A., and Gavin K. Watt. The King's Royal Regiment of New York. 1931. Reprint, Toronto: Gavin K. Watt, 1984.

Fryer, Mary B. The King's Men: The Soldier Founders of Ontario. Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1980.

Watt, Gavin K. The Burning of the Valleys: Daring Raids from Canada against the New York Frontier in the Fall of 1780. Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1997.

――――――. Rebellion in the Mohawk Valley: The St. Leger Expedition of 1777. Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2002.

                             revised by Harold E. Selesky