Scottish Soldiers in Colonial America, Part Three


Author: Dobson, David
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: x 76 pp.


Scottish soldiers played an important role in defending the American colonies and in settling them. Around the middle of the 18th century, the British government began sending regiments like Fraser’s Highlanders to America; thereafter, the French and Indian War of 1756 to 1763 led to significant recruitment in Scotland for service in the American colonies. The experience gained by these soldiers was to influence their own and other Scots’ decisions to settle or emigrate to America. After all, the allocation of land to former military personnel in the aftermath of that war was a major incentive. Scottish soldiers and former soldiers fought on both sides of the American Revolution, and following that conflict a number of Scottish Loyalists settled in what would become Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Quebec.

The book under consideration here marks the second in a series on Scottish colonial soldiers compiled by emigration authority David Dobson. (The first volume was published as two parts in one.) Working from manuscripts in the Acts of the Privy Council and the Calendar of British State Papers and published sources such as the Aberdeen Journal, the Edinburgh Advertiser, and the Georgia Gazette, the author has uncovered information on an additional 750 Scottish colonial solders not found in his earlier book. One such soldier was “John Wright, born in High Calton, Edinburgh, during 1728, an army sergeant who fought in the French and Indian War and in the American War of Independence, witnessed to death of Wolfe on the Plains of Abraham, died in Joppa, Edinburgh, in 1838, father of a Roman Catholic priest in Montreal.”

The list of soldiers is arranged alphabetically and, while the descriptions vary widely, the researcher will discover some or all of the following information in each one: soldier’s name, rank, military unit, date(s) and campaign(s) of service, place of birth, time of arrival in North America, civilian occupation, date and place of death, and the source of the information. We should emphasize again that the (mostly) Scottish Highland combatants referred to here represent potentially valuable links between the New and Old Worlds.

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