Gavin K. Watt is the author of eleven books about loyalist military history, including Burning of the Valleys and Rebellion in the Mohawk Valley. He lives in King City, Ontario.
A Dirty, Trifling Piece of Business
By 1781, the sixth year of the American rebellion, British strategic focus had shifted from the northern states to concentrate in the south. Canadaâ€™s governor, Frederick Haldimand, was responsible for the defence of the Crownâ€™s largest colony against the threat of Franco-American invasion, while assisting overall British strategy. He cleverly employed his sparse resources to vigorously raid the rebelsâ€™ frontiers and create anxiety, disruption, and deprivation, as his Secret Service undermined their morale with invasion rumours and threatened their Union by negotiating with the independent republic of Vermont to return to the British fold.
Haldimand flooded New Yorkâ€™s Mohawk and Schoharie valleys with Indian and Loyalist raiders and, once the danger of invasion passed, he dispatched two coordinated expeditions south. One was launched onto Lake Champlain to alarm Albany and further the secret talks with Vermont. The second struck deep into enemy territory, fought a battle at Johnstown, and retreated precipitately. The rebels effectively countered both expeditions.
"It is so full of information that it's rather like having several books in one."
This piece of work is a must for any serious student of the Revolutionary War. Gavin Watt is one of the foremost writers and experts on the important contributions of the Loyalists who supported the Crown in the war. No Rev War library will be complete without this and volume two which is due to be published shortly. Three cheers for Mr. Watt: Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!