New York Volunteers

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New York Volunteers

NEW YORK VOLUNTEERS. Major General Thomas Gage, the British commander in North America, began the process of raising this unit when he sent two lieutenants from Boston to New York City on 18 July 1775 with orders:

"to receive on board your [transport] ship such men as may be inclined to serve His Majesty, and you are particularly to attend to the arrival of ships from Scotland, and to procure as many men out of them as you possibly can, and … not to suffer any of those emigrants to join the rebels on shore."

The Volunteers were formally established at Halifax, Nova Scotia, in January and February 1776, and two companies joined William Howe's expedition against New York City in July. They fought at Long Island, White Plains, and Fort Washington and then became part of the garrison of New York City, joining other British and Provincial light forces in skirmishing against the Americans. With other elements of the New York garrison, they took part in Sir Henry Clinton's capture of Fort Montgomery, New York, on 6 October 1777. Sent south in late November 1778 under Lieutenant Colonel George Turnbull as part of Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell's expedition against Savannah, Georgia, the Volunteers stayed to help defend the city from the Franco-American counterattack in September-October 1779. On the American Establishment as the Third American Regiment from 2 May 1779, the Volunteers joined Clinton's expedition against Charleston, South Carolina, in May 1780. They remained in the South and fought at Hobkirk's Hill, outside Camden, on 25 April 1781, and again at Eutaw Springs on 8 September. Back in New York by August 1782, they were evacuated to Canada the next year and disbanded.

SEE ALSO Turnbull, George.


Cole, Nan, and Todd Braisted. "The On-Line Institute for Advanced Loyalist Studies." Available online at

Katcher, Philip R. N. Encyclopedia of British, Provincial, and German Army Units, 1775–1783. Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 1973.

Mills, T. F. "Land Forces of Britain, the Empire, and Commonwealth: The New York Volunteers (3rd American Regiment)." Available online at

Smith, Paul H. "The American Loyalists: Notes on Their Organization and Numerical Strength." William and Mary Quarterly, third series, 25 (1968): 259-277.

                             revised by Harold E. Selesky

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New York Volunteers

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New York Volunteers